Helen has worked as a special education teacher as well as an autism consultant in the public schools. In her work as a teacher, she was particularly interested in the collaborative process and found that these important relationships with families and other educators were essential to achieving successful outcomes for students. In her role as a consultant, she found that teachers were invested in the success of their students, but often lacked the time and resources needed to create differentiated materials and supports. She believed that her role was to help teachers move from ideas and knowledge to practical application and implementation. This was the initial goal in creating Connections for Autism. Her interest in working with students with autism in her classroom led her to a position as a Program Consultant with UNC TEACCH Autism Program. For TEACCH, she has also served on numerous training teams both in Chapel Hill and abroad. She is a certified TEACCH Advanced Consultant and current member of the training team for TEACCH’s five-day classroom training in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Helen graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and holds a Masters Degree in Special Education from University of North Carolina – Greensboro.
Becky has spent her career working with UNC TEACCH Autism Program. In her position as Residential Coordinator with UNC TEACCH, she collaborated to develop and implement an Adult Fundamentals Training allowing the TEACCH Autism Program to offer a unique, advanced-level training to autism professionals. As a clinician, she has eagerly engaged in professional collaboration across a variety of disciplines to provide dynamic case management services and has forged intimate relationships with families to fully engage them as members of the treatment team. She is a Certified TEACCH Advanced Consultant and current member of the training team for TEACCH's five-day classroom training in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She was the inaugural recipient of the TEACCH Core Values Award for epitomizing the ideals of the TEACCH Autism Program. Becky is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Psychology.
Rena has worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist in a variety of settings throughout her career, including university clinical/research settings, private practice as well as the public schools. She has spent much of her career working specifically with students with autism. She has facilitated social skills groups, parent support groups, as well as peer-mediated instruction. She has also provided comprehensive assessment of both comprehension and pragmatic language skills. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Autism Society of Washington and has presented in-service trainings throughout her career on autism. She is currently a Speech-Language Pathologist with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in North Carolina.
Brenda has spent much of her professional career in sales and marketing in the technology industry. She is also the parent of a son with autism and in that role, has focused on enhancing the collaborative process between families and educators. She has researched current and needed supports (both online as well as within the communities in which she has lived), and has been able to provide the team with the crucial perspective of a parent working as part of an IEP team.
Amber has taught elementary and middle school students both in inclusive as well as self-contained settings. She was the 2012 recipient of the Teacher of Excellence Award for the North Carolina Council of Exceptional Children. She has received professional training through TEACCH Autism Program as well as Reading Foundations, Thinking Maps, behavior management and IEP development. She represented her district in providing training at the CEC conference on using Smartboard Technology with students with moderate to severe disabilities.
Courtney began her career as a 4th grade teacher before specializing in math education. She has worked as a math intervention specialist, coaching, collaborating, modeling, and problem solving with classroom teachers to meet the mathematical needs of students. Courtney most recently served as the Content Lead (Elementary Grades 3-5) for East Carolina University Department of Education, creating and implementing content for an educational grant project focusing on mathematical support for novice teachers in Eastern North Carolina. She helps facilitate and lead trainings focused on best practice math instruction.
Caren is a veteran elementary school teacher, having experience in a variety of grade levels over the last 15 years. She has served as a mentor and grade-level team leader for many of those years and has helped guide curriculum standards to align with both Common Core and IB standards. She was the 2012-13 recipient of her school’s Teacher of the Year award.
Jim has worked as an Occupational Therapist, with a focus on Assistive Technology in K-12 education for over 15 years. He regularly presents on how to best utilize assistive technology to support students accessing their curriculum. Jim is the author of www.tek-ninja.org, where he writes about the intersection of low and high technology, occupational therapy, and education. Jim is currently lead of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City school's Assistive Technology team in North Carolina.