Meet the Board
For 34 years, the Autism Society of Florida has been working to ensure full participation and self-determination in every aspect of life for people with autism. We will realize this vision by opening avenues of self-advocacy and advocating on behalf of others in a way that values equity, respect, dignity and diversity in all communities. We work every day to empower people across the spectrum and across the lifespan. ASF is comprised entirely of volunteers, parents of people with autism and adults with autism.
Cooper City, Florida
Stacey Hoaglund is a parent of a young man with autism, certified mediator, educational advocate with Family Network on Disabilities, past editor of The Autism Notebook Magazine and statewide coordinator for Partners in Policymaking. As a trainer, consultant and interventionist, Stacey provides educational opportunities to parents and organizations on a variety of disability related topics. For more than 20 years she has promoted, enhanced, and advocated for the inclusion of people with ASD from birth to adulthood.
Kelly Busch is the mother of three children, two young adult daughters and a teen son with autism. She has held numerous committee positions including chairperson of the Autism Committee of ESE (ACE) for five years, Chairperson ESE Advisory Council, Best Practices for Inclusive Ed. Committee, Florida Developmental Disability Council’s Partners in Policymaking 2013 graduate and advisory member, and co-founded FAN – Family Autism Network and Responding to Autism. Kelly is a passionate activist for people with autism and their families.
Rea Martinez-Malo has a Master of Taxation from Nova Southeastern University. She is the owner of Liberty Accounting and Tax Services. Rea has served as treasurer of Family Advisory Counseling, an organization at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and the Miami Power Team Foundation. She has been a leader of the literacy campaign, Acude, in her native country of Venezuela. Most of all, she is a special-needs mother with a great deal of passion for bringing supports to those in need.
Ann Reynolds has served on various autism boards and school advisory councils over the past 20 years. She is the parent of a young adult with autism and currently facilitates the Suncoast Autism Social Group for Young Adults, which is ASF’s group for independently functioning young adults in Sarasota County. Ann is a tireless advocate for adults on the autism spectrum and passionately pursues appropriate funding of adult programs and services focusing on employment and quality of life for all.
Coconut Creek, Florida
John Miller is an adult on the autism spectrum. During his childhood he worked hard to overcome many academic and social obstacles and decided to get a Master‘s in Special Education to help young people succeed academically and in life. For over a decade he has taught students with varying degrees of autism and settings. Beyond teaching, he has consulted, creating pragmatic and organizational programs for individuals with autism. He sits on the FUA CARD Constituency Board.
Patty Crist is a mother of four (4) children, the youngest son having autism with an accompanying language and speech impairment, sensory processing disorder and anxiety. Patty is a graduate of Florida’s Partners in Policymaking and is a passionate advocate for inclusion. She is a member of the Pasco County District ESE Collaborative Network (ESE Advisory Committee) and administers their community Facebook page. She’s also a parent representative on School Advisory Council and PTO.
Ron Kaplan is a father to a young man with autism. In 2007, due to extensive international and domestic travel requirements, Ron left his career as CEO/Chairman of a NASDAQ company in educational consumer products to support the escalating needs of his son. Ron is dedicated to using his experience and knowledge in business and ASD parenting to helping Florida's ASD community. As a licensed Realtor, Ron has successfully assisted families whose home life is impacted by ASD.
Pompano Beach, Florida
Margi Hedelund and her husband, Martin Sr, are parents to identical twin boys, Dalton and Martin Jr, both of whom have ASD. She is a dedicated community volunteer and President of Responding 2 Autism. She has served as vice-chairperson of the Broward Autism Committee (ACE), Board Member of Family Autism Network of Florida (FAN), and is a graduate of Florida Partners in Policymaking, Class of 2013. Margi is dedicated to her family and all families living with autism.
Kara Durham is a parent of 3 young children, 2 of whom have autism. She is a child advocate with the Guardian ad Litem program in Monroe County, as well as an educational surrogate that ensures the protection of the educational interests of children with disabilities. She is a graduate of the Florida Partners in Policymaking program and the creator of the Exceptional Student Education Parent Engagement Team of Monroe County. She is passionate and determined in her advocacy for inclusive communities.
Jael Arroyo is a mother to a beautiful 7-year-old girl who has autism, as well as many other medical issues including feeding difficulties. She is a member of the board for OASN
(Outreach Autism Services Network) and an advisor for a self-advocacy group that is part of the
FL SAND Network. She is also a key member of the Marion County Disability Alliance in addition to being a graduate of the Florida Partners in Policymaking program, an advocacy and leadership training program.
Laci Swann is the owner of Sharp Editorial, an award-winning editorial, consulting, and design firm. Laci enjoys volunteering for The Kearney Center in Tallahassee, Florida, assisting with social media initiatives to increase engagement toward the Center's mission, as well as volunteering with Second Harvest to support the fight against hunger. Most of all, Laci is a special-needs mother with a gentle yet fervent desire for raising awareness, creating a supportive community, and helping those in need.
DeFuniack Springs, Florida
Susan Vallee is an award-winning writer with experience as a journalist, editor, managing editor, and publisher. Author of the popular guidebook “Meet Me on 30A” and creator of community relations journalism products, Susan freelances for businesses and consumer magazines. She hopes to connect the autism communities throughout the Panhandle and use her personal experiences parenting a son with autism to assist other families.
Carla served over 11 years active duty in the Army and has 4 children, the third is an 18 year old with autism. She served as an Equal Opportunity Rep during her military career, and it became part of the foundation of her advocacy. She has been a Parent Mentor for special needs families, Parent Who Leads graduate of the National Parent Leadership Institute, a 2020 graduate of Partners in Policymaking and serves as a Guardian Ad Litem and Certified Education Surrogate in NE Florida.
Mark is an advocate who was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified) at the age of 3. He gives his parents a great deal of credit for helping him to overcome some of the adversities he has faced. Mark is a graduate of the Partners in Policymaking program of 2017. He is currently self-employed for a network marketing company called Vasayo, where he continues to help others and improve his social interactions.
Annette Lizardo has three teenage children, including a son with ASD. She is a graduate of FL Partners in Policymaking ('19) and served on the initial FL Step up for Students, Gardiner Scholarship Parent Advisory Council for four years. She has written a published article on making Continuing Medical Education on special needs a legal requirement for physicians (Exceptional Parenting Magazine, August '21) and is working towards a Ph.D. and ADA Coordinator certification.
Kalisha Baptiste, is the owner of Capital City Counseling Services in Tallahassee, Florida. She has served as treasurer of Postpartum Support Int’l and is currently an advisory board council member to Florida’s Partners in Policymaking as well as a volunteer trainer with the American Red Cross. Kalisha Baptiste’s son Michael is autistic with language delay, speech impairment, and sensory processing disorder and he serves as her inspiration to advocate for disabled individuals.
The Autism Society of Florida is grateful to Ven Sequenzia, our President Emeritis who has been a tireless advocate for people with autism for decades.
Without Ven ASF would not be what it is today.
Ven Sequenzia served as the Autism Society of Florida president for 18 years. He was a member of the Governor's Task Force on Autism Spectrum Disorders and president of Autistic Childs Advocate Association. He was instrumental in helping to expand the number of CARD - Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, throughout the state of Florida. He is one of the founding trustees of Parent to Parent of Miami.