Join Our Newsletter

Meeting Leaders

Learn about our dedicated & knowledgeable leaders who help make our meetings and events possible.

Angela Ajamie

cave creek caregiver support group

Angela Ajamie and her husband, Michael, have two boys, Carter and Joey.  Carter was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in 2008.  Back then, there were not as many resources for parents so Angela and her husband had to navigate their journey in a creative way.  At the time they were living in Colorado and with Michael traveling for work, Angela decided to start an Autism mom/parent group.  This group was their lifeline to friends who were going through the same challenges that they were while raising a child with Autism.  When they moved to Massachusetts in 2010, they had to start all over.  Massachusetts provided a few more resources than Colorado, but it was still a hard and lonely journey.   
 
Angela and her family moved to Arizona in 2015 and with the help of the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix, were guided to resources that helped their son start fresh in a new state.  Today, Carter is a young adult and attends NAU studying biology.  The support that they were given through the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix helped them find doctors, clinics, and health insurance for their son.  The monthly support groups held at Panera Bread connected them with parents in their same situation.  Angela and her husband wanted to give back by helping the community of Cave Creek with a monthly Autism support group sponsored by the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix.  The Cave Creek Support Group is held on the third Monday of each month.  They are excited to lead this group and look forward to meeting the wonderful parents and guardians of these amazing children!

Teri Beardsley

autistic adult meetup

Teri Beardsley is married with two children and is now retired after 31 years in Special Education. She holds multiple certifications and endorsements. Over her career, she specialized in Cross Categorical Resource, Developmental Preschool, and Kindergarten. Her passion for Autistic children was enriched, as for most involved with the Autism Society, by a wonderful son who is currently very involved in SEEDS for Autism. Volunteerism is a way of life for Teri, and retirement has not slowed her down. She served as coordinator for West Valley AZ ASSIST, in addition to teaching online courses and supervising student teachers for Grand Canyon University. Before Teri moved to Arizona in 1985, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Language Pathology from Illinois State University, and a Master’s in Special and Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University. Her many interests include her two well-loved dogs, reading, cooking, and knitting. Teri loves travel enough to enjoy setting up itineraries for other’s vacations, although she is a strong supporter of all things local, including shops and restaurants of downtown Phoenix.

Sarah Blank

Goodyear caregiver support group & Lego Club

Sarah Blank and her husband, Levi, have three sons. Two of their children are on the spectrum. Sarah‘s oldest son was diagnosed with Autism in 2009. Sarah has an M.Ed and taught English at Estrella Mountain and Phoenix Community Colleges. She now works for the Gentry Foundation as a Family Liaison. She is passionate about helping guide families with a recent Autism diagnosis. 

Sarah is excited to support, engage, and encourage parents and caregivers through the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix’s monthly Goodyear support group. 

Cynthia Cypher

north valley caregiver support group

Cynthia is the meeting leader for the Caregiver Support Group in the North Valley. She is the parent of a child with Autism.

Sue Golubock

autistic adult support group

Susan Golubock, an Autistic Occupational Therapist (OT), has worked almost exclusively for over 20 years with Autistic individuals since her diagnosis. Her 40+ years as an OT include certification in sensory processing, courses in executive functioning, yearly in-services on Autism, and a master’s degree in special education assistive technology. Susan had the opportunity to work with a team of therapists and school administrators to bring about a system change toward a more educationally relevant therapy service delivery model that is now considered best practice. Susan has both participated in and presented at a yearly retreat/conference planned for and run by Autistic adults for 10 years. She, and Jim Sinclair, a strong Autistic advocate, spent over 4 years providing lectures to schools, clinics, and conferences on working effectively with Autistic individuals as part of her business, Making Sense of Autism, LLC. She has, for the past 19 years, attended and then co-hosted an Autistic adult support group, now under the auspices of the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix. Susan is currently working on researching the effectiveness of training modules for a Neuro-Strengths-Based Approach to Autism in helping therapists, educators, and parents better understand the research being done on Dutism and how to use it to work more effectively with Autistic individuals, from an Autistic perspective.

Sonya Hernández

Virtual game night & Tempe Lego Club

Sonya L. Hernández is a third generation Arizona native.  She and her husband have two children, two dogs, one tortoise, and six chickens. Their son was diagnosed with Autism at age four and is currently in high school.  Her daughter is presently studying at ASU.  Sonya enjoys reading, yoga, eating out, volunteering, and traveling.

Sonya holds a BA from the University of Arizona (Bear Down!) in Mexican American Studies with a minor in Physiological Sciences.  She also holds a SLPA and realtor license in the state of Arizona.  She and her husband have been operating their own real estate business for the last 16 years. Sonya has slowly become more involved in the Autism community as her children reach adulthood.  She started volunteering with AZ Assist and is excited for her role with the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix. Sonya is bilingual and speaks Spanish. She is committed to expanding the services and opportunities for Autistic teens and adults.

Rachel Lack

tempe caregiver support group

Rachel Lack is a documentary filmmaker and owner at Purling Place Productions. She is the parent of a child with Autism.

Tara Marshall

autistic adult support group

Tara Marshall is an Autistic adult who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and Religious Studies, and an Associates Degree in Speech Language Pathology.  She is currently working as a Speech Language Pathology Assistant, trying to help other people with disabilities, especially other Autistic people, learn communication skills.  Her frequent interests include reading about science, especially the common co-occurring medical issues in Autism, general evolutionary biology, dinosaurs, sharks, and science fiction.  She is a controlled crazy cat lady, who currently has 3 cats, a dog, and a husband in her home.  When not working, she is found reading, writing, and listening to music from small bands that most people in the USA have never heard of.  Tara has Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, 2 Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders, a suspected Mast Cell Activation Disorder, Epilepsy, and Anxiety. Tara co-hosts an Autistic adult support group alongside Sue Golubock.

Dawn Oliver

young adult asperger's/ASD support group

Dawn Oliver is a retired Admissions and Development Director, Education Consultant, Teacher/ Trainer, and Freelance Writer passionate about helping students achieve their greatest potential by honoring them for who they are and embracing all their differences. Her career began as a high school English, speech, and theatre arts teacher, quickly advanced into private school administration, admissions, and development. She resides in Arizona with her husband, Mark, who leads the parent group, and her daughter, Holly, a self-advocate who is a co-host at meetings. Her other daughter, Hope, and her husband, Michael serve as technical support coordinators for the meetings. She has been volunteering with the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix for several years as a leader of a young adult group that meets monthly on a Saturday morning.

Dawn holds a degree in English/Education from Douglass College of Rutgers University with teaching certificates to teach English and Speech and Theatre Arts. She also completed a Specialized Summer School Institute for teachers in the Morningside model of generative instruction and served as one of the directors at Morningside Academy in Seattle, Washington. Morningside Academy is a nationally acclaimed and successful Foundations and Middle school Program for students with learning differences. It provides instruction tailored to meet each student’s needs, enabling them to catch up, build up, and get ahead. As Director of Education at Tutor Doctor, she met with families seeking 1:1 tutoring, conducted assessments, offered consultation services, and developed individual learning plans to promote student success. She also supervised and trained a large staff of fifty highly qualified tutors. She has also participated as a parent/professional in various programs offered by the UCLA PEERS program at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) is world-renowned for providing evidence-based social skills treatment to preschoolers, adolescents, and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, and other socio-emotional problems.

Mark Oliver

young adult asperger's/ASD support group - parent leader

Mark Oliver is currently the regional sales director for Canteen Vending, a division of Compass Group in Arizona. His career in food and beverage services began with the Coca-Cola Company, where he served as a national sales executive for many years. He has expanded from the East to the West Coast, with an emphasis on sales for 25 years.

He is also no stranger to the education field as he has spent countless hours volunteering to support non-profit schools and the work of his wife, educator/administrator. “Every student deserves a healthy meal to fuel his day and promote learning.”

Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in business, cum laude, from Catawba College, where he was awarded the Wall Street Business Award. He is passionate about education and advocating for special needs students and those who are vulnerable. He serves as a leader for a parent/guardian group of young adults on the Autism Spectrum of The Autism Society of Greater Phoenix; his wife leads the young adults.  He enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters in his spare time.

Dave Taylor

dads support group

Dave Taylor is married with 2 children and is a Supervising Producer with The EW Scripps Company. He has previously hosted several #DadChats for the non-profit Fathering Together, and has moderated a lot of Zoom and in-person networking events for other non-profits as well. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California. He and his wife’s motto for their kids, both of whom are on the Autism spectrum, is “whatever the f*** it takes.” He is always looking to learn from others, and is excited to help other Dads be the best they can be, while helping their kids be the best they can be. Dave also loves playing pickleball and tennis, and going out to try new bars and restaurants in the Phoenix area.