Meet The Team

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Amber Boykin

President

"I'm a school psychologist in North Louisiana, working with children with Autism and their families.  I am currently working towards my Doctorate in Educational Psychology at Texas Tech University with hopes to teach future generations of school psychologists.

I am also the mother of 3 boys, including my middle son, Garrison, who has Autism. Garrison was diagnosed at age 4 and navigating this journey with him has taught me more about Autism than a textbook ever could. 

My journey with Garrison and working with families in this area has often led to frustration over the lack of local resources and supports for these individuals and their families. Out of this frustration, in collaboration with fellow frustrated parents and educators, the Autism Society of North Louisiana was born! 

I am proud to serve on this council with the goal of creating a more Autism friendly, inclusive society in North Louisiana, because I firmly believe that everyone needs their tribe-that group of people that understand and relate through their shared experiences and passions. I am also very passionate about legislative advocacy and working with stakeholder groups and other decision makers to support individuals with special needs--whether it includes testifying in committee hearings in Baton Rouge or visiting legislators in Washington, D.C. When I am not working on Autism advocacy or in my schools, I enjoy traveling with my family and hiking in national parks across the country or camping with my sons and our local Boy Scout troop. "

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Kristen Mardis

President Elect, 
Media Relations Chair

"I am the mother of two amazing children; both of whom have Autism. I also work in  Special Education as a Speech-Language Pathologist.  Through my journey as a mother to children with Autism, and my work in Special Education---I'm driven to improve acceptance and support of individuals with ASD in the school system and community: through educational/training opportunities for teachers and parents, community advocacy, and legislative advocacy.  

 I am so  passionate about improving support and services for those with ASD and their families,  creating positive change within our community to benefit individuals impacted by Autism, and furthering all aspects of the ASNLA's mission.  I am incredibly excited and humbled to be a part of this organization, and to serve our community through the Autism Society of North Louisiana.

Kelly Fleming

Secretary

"While I was pursuing my Master's degree in education, my son, Ben, was diagnosed with Autism. He attended a self-contained Pre-K class when he was 4.  Observing him and his peers in that classroom made me realize I was meant to teach students with disabilities. This is my 9th year being a special education teacher.  Now that my son is older, I'm looking for ways to help him transition into adulthood.  Beyond a few checklists online, I'm finding resources and assistance is scarce. I hope we can change that!" 

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Casey Smalley

Treasurer

"My wife and I are parents to a wonderful boy who was diagnosed with Autism at about 2 years old. What we've learned since that time is that the community has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to resources for those affected. I am excited to do my part with this wonderful organization to bring the needed resources to the forefront."

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Carey Day

Executive Director

"I have been a school psychologist for 12 years and my passion is child advocacy.  I am absolutely ecstatic to be part of such an amazing group of caring individuals who want to support our community in such a way."

Committee Chairpersons

Mclin Hickman

Finance

"I have a precious son who was diagnosed with Autism when he was 2.  I am also a 2nd grade Special Education teacher at Lexington Elementary.  Over the years, I  have met some amazing individuals who have helped me through this journey as a mother and an educator. I am honored to be a part of this group and cant wait to see what we accomplish!"

Jan Hales Strickland

Government Relations

"I am excited to be involved in the Autism Society of North Louisiana. Last Spring, my oldest child (son), Jey was diagnosed with Autism. I found that  reaching out and advocating to the community was the absolute best thing for me as a mother and for my son's success. I look forward to reaching the local community and beyond through this society, helping those with Autism, and teaching others about Autism. "

Josh Strickland

Government Relations

"I am an attorney located in North Louisiana.  My son , Jey, has Autism.  Through being a part of his Autism journey and joining with the Autism Society of North Louisiana with my wife, Jan,--I am excited to advocate for those with Autism.."

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Vacant

Community Connections

TBA

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Robin Cohenour

Information & Resources

"I am honored to be a part of the Autism Society of North Louisiana.  I am touched by Autism both at home and in my career.  I have been working as a school psychologist in the area for 30 years, with emphasis on preschool and Autism.  It is my hope and dream that through this organization, all of our ASD children can get the supports and accommodations they need in order to be success in the school setting and in life." 

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Dorothy Parks

Information & Resources

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve through the newly founded Autism Society of North Louisiana! Autism touched my life over 25 years ago, beginning with my work at ARCO, first with adults in employment and then in early intervention as a case manager. I went on to become a special educator in Lincoln Parish, and from there to the LASARD (LA Autism Spectrum and Related Disabilities) project as a Facilitator of Evidence Based Practices. I have returned to Lincoln Parish Schools as Special Education Programs Services Coordinator and look forward to helping others learn about Autism!"

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Leslie Praetorious

Community Outreach

"I am from West Carroll Parish and have worked with individuals on the Autism Spectrum for the past 10+ years. I became interested in working with children with Autism when my niece was diagnosed at a very young age. At that time, over 25 years ago, there were not very many services available to children with Autism in Louisiana. It is because of the lack of resources that I decided to pursue a career where I could try to make a difference in the lives of individuals and families with Autism. 

I graduated from ULM in Psychology . I also received a Graduate Certificate in Autism Behavioral Intervention and a Master's in Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Autism Studies Option. I continued in the field of ABA and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

 I have been married to my husband, Shane, for 20 years and we have 1 son, Calvin. It is a great privilege to volunteer my time and energy in assistance and support of families in North Louisiana whose lives have been impacted by Autism."

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AJ Menard

Historian

"I am Licensed Behavior Analyst and have been working in the field of applied behavior analysis for almost four years.  My love for the Autism community was instant, as I saw just how special and unique each child is. I am excited to be helping with the Autism Society of North Louisiana as we all work together to advocate and bring awareness and acceptance to the Autism community in our area. "

Region Representatives

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Amanda Chisley

Region 1: Caddo Parish

Coming soon

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Vacant

Region 2: Bossier, DeSoto, & Red River Parishes

Coming Soon

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Vacant

Region 3: Webster, Claiborne, & Bienville Parishes

Coming Soon

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Ariel Evans

Region 4: Union & Morehouse Parishes

Coming Soon

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Nikelyia Lard

Region 5: Lincoln, Winn & Jackson Parishes

Coming Soon

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John Farmer

Region 6: Ouachita Parish

Coming Soon

Rebecca Huff

Region 7: Caldwell, Richland, and Franklin Parishes

Although I am not a native to North Louisiana, I have made my home here with my husband, Lance, of almost 14 years and our 10 year old daughter, Kayla. As a family we have a small hobby farm, and enjoy traveling- mainly camping and kayaking. During my occasional free time I enjoy running or having a good cup of coffee with a friend or a book.

 

I am a teacher in special education, currently serving students in grades 6th- 8th with a range of abilities, including students with Autism. Previously I have taught special education in grades Pre-K through 3rd grade as well as in the general education elementary classroom.

 

My passion for teaching and advocating for children with different abilities stems from personal family experiences, including my own child who has bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (with bilateral Cochlear Implants) and has been diagnosed with ADHD. 

 

As Region 7’s representative, my goal is to provide opportunities for families and children, teens, and young adults with autism to connect and promote acceptance in our community. Someone once asked me why I advocate so strongly for my students with autism. I’m not sure that this is my final answer, but for now I know that it’s because beyond the diagnosis and label there is a person who can be successful in any situation when given the appropriate tools to navigate the course before them.

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Vacant

Region 8: East Carroll, West Carroll, Madison, & Tensas Parishes

Coming Soon