Providing Support
Promoting Awareness
Advocating for Change

Officers

President: Theresa Ballinger

Vice-President: Patrick Boxall

Treasurer: Eric Cha

Secretary: Jennifer May

Immediate Past President: Roger E. Thibaudeau Jr.

Directors:

Theresa Ballinger

theresa_ballingerTheresa is a longtime member of HCAS. She is a CPA and MBA and brings accounting and auditing expertise to the Board’s finance committee. Theresa also helps the public relations committee with autism awareness activities. Theresa and her husband reside in Ellicott City with two sons. Her oldest is on the spectrum and currently attends Wilde Lake High School.

I believe it “takes a village” to raise a child and prepare them for life. This is especially important for children on the autism spectrum. What better place to garner that support than at the Howard County Autism Society where you can benefit from its collective past experiences and expertise; and, help others that may also be traveling on this journey.

Patrick Boxall

patrick_boxallOriginally from the United Kingdom, Patrick has lived in the United States since 1985 and Howard County since 1997. Patrick’s two youngest sons are both on the spectrum and currently attend Glenelg High School. Patrick is VP & COO at KRA Corporation, a workforce development services firm based in Fulton. Patrick has been a board member since 2007. He currently serves as Chair of the Governance Committee.

I agreed to serve on the Board because I thought I could add value to theBoard’s activities, at the time in the area of overall organizational development and management. HCAS was and is important to me personally due to my two sons who have autism.

Eric Cha

Eric is the father of three boys, the oldest of whom is on the spectrum. Eric is a CFA charterholder and is employed as an equity analyst for Brown Advisory, a Baltimore-based financial services firm. He and his wife Kate have been Howard County residents since 2007 and HCAS members since 2011. Eric joined as a board member and treasurer in 2016. He is an avid pro football fan and enjoys playing basketball in his spare time.

There is a lack of awareness on two fronts. First, while autism awareness is growing, our experience suggests that the condition remains widely misunderstood. Second, many families with children who are on the spectrum are not fully aware of the support and resources available to them.  As a board member and treasurer, I hope to contribute to the Society’s continued financial management success and growth–critical to enabling the Society’s mission of serving individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, and raising overall awareness.

Alisa Kobrinetz Chernack

Alisa lives in Howard County and is a mother of two boys, one who has autism. She currently has a law firm located in Ellicott City, which concentrates in areas relating to the elderly and individuals with disabilities. She sought to serve on the HCAS Board to help families “navigate the maze” as Howard County children age out of the public school system. She has been a member of the HCAS for many years and looks forward to continuing her involvement as a board member.

I joined the HCAS board to help support the community members who share similar issues in raising children with autism. I am interested in providing more options for housing and awareness for community health providers as to how the meet the needs of our children with disabilities.

 Debbie Clutts

Debbie has been an active member of the Howard County Autism Society for the past 13 years, and was a prior Board member for 7 years before re-joining in 2016. Over those previous years, she served as Co-Vice President, and Co-President, and served on various committees.   Debbie has an MBA and works in corporate benefits administration. She and her husband, John, live in Columbia with their two children. Their youngest child, Matthew, is age 17, and is on the spectrum.

When my son was first diagnosed with autism, I turned to the Howard County Autism Society for help, and found a welcoming group of parents! Although much progress has been made over the years, the need for raising public awareness and acceptance, enhancing adult services, and advocating for the autism community continues. As HCAS moves forward, I am interested in assisting with the continuing development of the future direction of the chapter.

Nora Hart

nora_hartNora is the mother of a son named Danny who has autism. As a member of the Howard County Autism Society, Nora has become familiar with the organization’s mission and her family has enjoyed participating in HCAS events. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mother, her work experience was as a fundraising and development professional for non-profit organizations. During her career, she worked at a teaching hospital, a think tank, and a historic home. Nora grew up in Montclair, New Jersey.

From my first monthly support group meeting, HCAS has provided support, education and understanding for not only me but my entire family. As a parent of a child with Autism, HCAS has helped me to advocate more effectively for my son. Serving on the HCAS board has empowered me to help not only my son but also other people with Autism.

Victoria Martin

Victoria Martin will graduate from Towson University in May 2017 with a major in Family and Human Services. She works with individuals with autism through various companies; Howard Country Recreation and Parks, Trellis, Richcroft, and Kennedy Krieger. Victoria has background in American Sign Language as well as supporting the Deaf community. She hopes to bring a unique perspective to the board through her experiences thus far as a student and exposure to people of different cultures. In her spare time she loves to read and spend time at the beach during the summer.

Donna Pidel

Donna Pidel, a native of Great Britain, has called Maryland her home for the past 30 years. Her passion for philanthropy is a family affair and one that has a particular niche in her life. She began volunteering on the human relations committee for Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) and is a patron of the new pavilion at HCGH. Ms. Pidel was chosen to join the Local Children’s Board where she served for one year, before joining the board of directors of the Linwood Center, in Ellicott City. She and her husband were instrumental in the development of the new school for which the Linwood School Lobby is named. Ms. Pidel is a ballet choreographer with an impressive international resume. Currently, she is a freelance artist who also works for American Ballet Theatre in NYC on the board of examiner’s for ABT’s National Training Curriculum, traveling throughout the United States. She is a contributing writer for Dance Mogul Magazine. Ms. Pidel lives in Clarksville with her Family.

Jennifer May

jenn_mayJennifer was raised in Howard County and now lives in Highland with her husband and two sons. Her older son is on the spectrum. She is a CPA and healthcare consultant. Jennifer enjoys travel, running and hiking, cooking and photography. She likes to attend Orioles, Ravens and UMD basketball games with her family.

HCAS fills a need for me as a parent to find acceptance and support. Raising a child on the spectrum is a challenge and sometimes you need to share and learn from others who truly understand. As a member of the HCAS board, I want to ensure that all parents have a nurturing environment available when they need it.

Sabina Sambat

sabina_sambatSabina lives in West Friendship with her husband and 2 boys, the older of which is on the spectrum. Trained at Johns Hopkins where she received her masters degree as a nurse practitioner, Sabina has taken a break from practice to advocate for her son and volunteer at his elementary school on a regular basis. She looks forward to continuing to work with the gala planning committee and further promoting HCAS.

The society is important to me as it provides a connection between parents (and families) in the same boat as I. It’s not just an emotional support, but it’s the sharing of information and the interest in helping each other. I so appreciate other parents who tell me what helped and what didn’t, what to pursue and what to push aside. I know I am that person too, and love that we can be a resource to one another.

Heather Stanley

(Photo coming soon!) Heather received her Undergraduate  Degree at Salisbury University and Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland School of Social Work.  She is a Maryland Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-C) and Advanced Certified Autism Specialist (ACAS), working in her own private practice in Catonsville, Maryland.  Heather also lives in Catonsville with her husband and two sons.  Her 10 year old son was diagnosed with Epilepsy at 15 months and then Autism at the age of 3.  Her six year old son also has Epilepsy.  Heather has a particular interest in awareness and acceptance of Autism as well as how Autism affects family members.  In her spare time, Heather is an avid runner and Baltimore Ravens fan.

I hope to bring my personal and professional knowledge of Autism to the Howard County Autism Society.

Roger Thibaudeau

roger_thibedeau

Roger is an engineer originally from Dundalk, Maryland. Roger currently lives in Laurel with his wife and two sons, the youngest of whom is on the spectrum. When not shuttling the kids around to various activities, Roger enjoys running and playing softball as well as attending Ravens and WVU football games.

We were already living in Howard County when Ryan was diagnosed in 2005, and therefore were able to take advantage of the great resources available to us in large part through the work of HCAS and its advocacy in the school system. As a member of the board of directors, I want to help continue, and strengthen, the advocacy, education and support that HCAS brings to the community.

Lisa Wilson

Lisa Wilson, RDH, MS Clinical Dental Hygienist originally hails from just outside the Boston area. She and her husband Stephen live in Fulton, Maryland and have two children. Their youngest son who is on the spectrum. Lisa is an avid runner and enjoys her career as a clinical dental hygienist at the University of Maryland. Lisa looks forward to increasing the community presence for the organization and creating meaningful opportunities for the youngest of our members. ”

Autism is my marathon; long and challenging. It allows you to reach deep inside and find the spaces that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar. It provides the opportunity of overcome and achieve. As with any race…. you plan, prepare, and pray for the best. Knowing all the while that it’s all about the journey.