This blog is the culmination of a year’s worth of contemplating, considering, weighing, researching, debating and ultimately creating a vision that we hope brings you, our readers, closer to an awareness of the challenges and triumphs of living with a disability or a loved one with a disability; with working to assist people reach out for their dreams; with educating ourselves about how to improve lives.
HMEA is an agency that supports over 2,500 people with autism and developmental disabilities. We have over 600 staff members dedicated to helping people gain independence, new skills, and fulfill their goals in life with dignity. We love what we do, and this blog is another way we can share the stories that inspire us.
The contributors to this blog are a group of parents, family members, professionals and executives from HMEA and the families we support. They are gifted writers who are giving our blog the gift of their time and talents, and we appreciate them more than words can describe.
Here’s little deeper glimpse into who we are:
Paul Brady is a technical writer, information design professional, and technology consultant. He is Dad to two children – Jillian and Finn. Finn is mildly autistic, adorable, and always full of energy! Both children keep Paul and Sally very busy and happy.
Alysia Krasnow Butler is a stay-at-home mom with three boys ages 8, 4 and 2. Her jobs also include being a wife, writer, blogger and her kids’ best advocate. Alysia’s middle son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in December 2009 at age 3 1/2, and she writes about that and other adventures at link=http://trydefyinggravity.wordpress.com/. Prior to staying home with her boys, Alysia was a state representative in the Vermont State Legislature from 1998-2000, and later worked as an SAT instructor and academic manager for a leading test preparation company in Massachusetts. You can follow her on twitter at @trydefyinggrav. Visit Alysia’s Facebook Page
Cheryl Chan is Community Manager for HMEA, Inc. and the Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts. Her biggest role is Mom to Nicky, her 17 year old son with autism. Cheryl’s interests include autism, advocacy, physical and emotional health of parents and caretakers of people with disabilities, social media and international travel. Cheryl’s hope is to bring support in particular to families who may be facing residential placement or hospitalization of their loved one. Cheryl can be reached by email at email@example.com, and you can follow her on Twitter as @seaurchan.
Dawn Miles Ertel is a writer and editor, though most importantly she is Mama to three amazing gifts in her life. Her oldest son has Asperger’s Syndrome and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Her daughter has Sensory Processing Disorder and her youngest son is currently working with Early Intervention for his sensory processing systems. She is dedicated to the advocacy of her children, helping them find joy and happiness in their days from the inside out. Through this, her interests are nutrition, community, occupational therapy, SPD and autism research, and all things “meant to be.”
Doug MacPherson “loves working as Vice President for Development and PR at HMEA where I have met so many interesting, dedicated, committed and professional people. I especially love to meet and talk with people supported at HMEA and their families. I feel I am getting in return so much more than I can ever give. ….. but I am trying and I hope my presence makes a difference in their lives. My wife and I have three grown children who I swear are NOT related.. Where did they come from? We love ‘em. The two Goldens’ are also a challenge… eat play & sleep – and they repeat that all day long!”
Michael Moloney is the President and CEO of HMEA, Inc. Mike is passionate about how the building of online communities can further the mission of HMEA by bringing families closer together. Mike’s other passions include outdoor sports, particularly biking, mountain biking, and yoga.
Graeme Noseworthy is a small business owner, marketer, Freemason, husband and Father to two boys on the Autistic spectrum. When he’s not busy working, researching or writing, Graeme can be found spending time with his wife and kids, sitting by the back yard fire pit with his neighbors, driving his beloved Piaggio scooter around town and watching documentaries about world history. Both Graeme and his boys share a passion for trains… steam trains in particular… and they never miss a show, ride or event that involves steel wheels on iron rails. Graeme’s goal right here, right now is to build connections with other Dad’s who have kids on the spectrum to reassure them that they are not alone and we’re all in this together.
Visit often, comment when you feel moved, let us know what you think and share your stories too – we always welcome guest bloggers; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to contribute. If you’ve ever thought about blogging about your experiences, this is a welcome forum for you.