706-446-0003 Contact@autistichealth.org

Our Team

Teal Benevides
Project Lead

Teal is an occupational therapist and researcher in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia. Teal’s passion is working with others to understand and reduce disparities in care for individuals with autism, including racial and ethnic minorities and adults with autism. Teal seeks to change the way that research unfolds, including aligning research with community perspectives and priorities.

Stephen Shore
Project Co-Lead

Diagnosed with “Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies” and recommended for institutionalization, Dr. Shore is now an Adelphi University professor of Special Education and internationally renowned for education, publications, and consulting. A board member of Autism Speaks, president emeritus of the Asperger/Autism Network, and former board member of the Autism Society, Dr. Shore serves on the boards of numerous related organizations.

Anita Lesko
Project Co-Lead

Anita was diagnosed with autism at age 50. A graduate of Columbia University she earned her Master’s in Nurse Anesthesia and has been working full time for past 28 years. Her special interests have earned her a flight in an F-15 fighter jet and jumping horses over 6 foot fences. Now an internationally recognized autism advocate and member of Autism Society of Americal Panel of Autistic Advisors.

Alex Plank
Social Media Coordinator

Alex runs, owns, and develops WrongPlanet.net, a popular community for individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism which he started in his teen years after being diagnosed at the age of 9. He graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Film. Alex served as the consultant to the lead actress & creators of FX’s hit TV series The Bridge and has produced and directed award winning films.

Patricia Duncan
Meeting Planner

Patricia Duncan is a part of this dynamic team as the meeting planner. She brings with her 26 years of meeting planning experience for a national medical organization in both national and international settings.

Community Council

Reid Caplan
Autistic Self Advocacy Network

As Leadership Programs Coordinator, Reid facilitates the Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI)
leadership academy for autistic college students, as well as oversees the Autistic Scholars Fellowship program. Reid received his undergraduate degree in Health and Society from Beloit College, where he was awarded the Wirtz Public Service Prize for his disability-related advocacy on-campus and in the community.

Barb Cook
Spectrum Women Magazine

Barb was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome in 2009 and is Founder and Editor in Chief of Spectrum Women Magazine. She is a highly committed Autism/Aspergers advocate, keen motorcyclist and web/graphics guru. Barb has made numerous appearances on Australian television and radio.

Darya Blinova
Our Sunny World Representative

I am a neurotypical representative of the Russian autistic community. I work at the Center “OUR SUNNY WORLD” in Russia, Moscow, which helps children and adults with autism and their parents for many years. Our main goal is to make all the people with ASD happy, so that’s why we need to develop all necessary services for them.

Amy Gravino
Specialist, Coach, Speaker, & Writer

Amy Gravino, M.A., is a Certified Autism Specialist and the president of A.S.C.O.T. Coaching. Amy offers autism consulting, mentoring, and college coaching services for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Liane Holliday-Willey
Author, Consultant, Speaker

Liane Holliday Willey is a professor of psycholinguistics who works as an autism consultant, autism educator, and author, whose special interest and main employment is in equine assisted therapy.

Becca Lory

BECCA LORY, CAS, BCCS was diagnosed on the autism spectrum as an adult and has since
become an active advocate and life coach for individuals on the autism spectrum. Becca has
published multiple articles along with speaking publicly about life on the autism spectrum

Lisa Morgan

I am an autistic adult formally diagnosed later in life at the age of 46. I have a master’s degree in the art of teaching in special education, and have worked with children on the autism spectrum for over 20 years. I have a heart for helping others on the spectrum, adults and children, so they do not have to experience the same difficulties I have in my life.

Bill Peters

I am Bill Peters. I am 35 years old. I started Three Rivers Autism Outreach. I love helping people on the autism spectrum and being a self-advocate.

Jeanette Purkis
Author and International Speaker

Jeanette Purkis is an autistic author, public speaker and autism advocate who also has a diagnosis of atypical schizophrenia. She has worked full-time in the Australian Public Service since 2007 and has a Masters degree in Visual Arts. She is the author of three books on elements of autism and has a new book aimed at helping parents of autistic kids build their resilience due out in November 2017.

Cyndi Taylor

My name is Cyndi Taylor and I am the mother of a 32-year-old son with autism. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and Master Addictions Counselor. I am currently the Director of the Adult Outpatient Program—Satellite Clinics (Grovetown, McDuffie and Wilkes) at Serenity Behavioral Health Systems.

Elesia Ashkenazy

Elesia Ashkenazy lives in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about Disability Rights and self-advocacy, and seeks to promote widespread understanding of the needs and rights of autistic individuals, especially females. She is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and is also a cochlear implant recipient. Elesia also happens to be the parent of a son on the autism spectrum.