Meet Our Staff
Mother of 3 boys, Joanne's youngest son Patrick was diagnosed with high-functioning Autism in 1999. She’s been involved with the Autism Project for seven years, starting as a volunteer for the APRI organizing their National Speaker Conference and A Starting Point training series. She was hired in January 2002 as Executive Director. Joanne has a BA in History from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. She’s completed both Level I and II of the TEACCH training on Structured Teaching and Consultation.
Joanne enjoys tennis, hanging in NH with family and friends and scrapbooking when she has the time!
"I truly enjoy working at The Autism Project of RI for many reasons. First, it is the most committed and creative group of professionals and parents I’ve ever worked with. Second, it is so important to be able to provide information to parents, educators and professionals so that they can make an informed choice for the child they are raising or working with."
Cheryl Cotter, M Ed., is the Training Coordinator for APRI. Cheryl brings extensive knowledge of Asperger Syndrome and autism to the team from personal experiences with her son and her professional work and education.
A certified educator with advanced TEACCH training, she consults to school districts, presents and trains for both families and professionals and supports social skills groups. Most recently Cheryl created a five week training series on Asperger Syndrome and authored a new training series for parents of newly diagnosed children both in English and Spanish.
Deana is a speech-language pathologist who joined the Autism Project in October 2012 as a consultant/ trainer. She earned her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Rhode Island and her Certificate in Autism Education from Rhode Island College. Since 1997, Deana has supported families, educators and children with children with complex communication needs, including autism, as a practitioner in home-based, clinical, public and private school settings. She lives in Bristol with her husband and two daughters.
Deb Langevin works to support our office operations and fund raising events. She heads the committee for the very popular Halloween Stroll at South County Commons each year.
While she is multi-talented, it is Deb we turn to when a huge mailing needs to be coordinated and sorted to the very specific regulations of the Bulk Mail Office.
A mother of three children, her oldest son Josh has a diagnosis of autism. Deb has been a member of the team since 2001. "I am glad to work at APRI. Anytime I have questions, there is always someone to look to for the answer. I, in turn also get to help people."
Mary oversees the event planning and volunteers for our organization. A graduate of URI, Mary has worked in non-profit fund raising for 7 years.
"APRI is a local charity where the children’s and families’ needs are always paramount. Our organization is unique in the sense that it is comprised of dedicated and caring professionals as well as moms, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles of children on the spectrum, all working diligently to improve the lives of children with autism and help them reach their highest potential."
Sue first worked witht the Autism Project as a volunteer co-chairperson for our Imagine Walk and Family Fun Day in 2002.
She then joined the Advisory Board in 2003 and provided support for the A Starting Point Training Series since 2003. Sue started part time as a parent support Liaison as of March 2005 and continues to offer support and assistance to the many families and community partners who reach out to the Autism Project for resources, services and information.
Sue has a B.A. in Business from Roger Williams University, but "nothing you learn in college can prepare you for the life experience of raising children on the spectrum."
Sue completed many advanced trainings includeing PECs advanced level training, Teacch Level 1, numerous seminars and workshops including SCERTs model and DAN Protocol.
"I love working at the Autism Project for several reasons. First and foremost I’m surrounded by people who I continue to learn new strategies from about raising my children. I also have a workplace that understands and is flexible with schedules so I do not have to choose between working and fully participating in my kids IEP, team meetings etc.
Secondly it has introduced me to a career in human service that I never would have entered were it not for my kids. Lastly I love interacting and sharing with other families, having a child with special needs is often very isolating, to be able to speak to a parent who is on the same journey is comforting for both parties involved."