Autistics United is made up of an entire community of truly incredible people waiting for you to join us!
Below are some of our most dedicated community members:
Founder and Executive Director, Lead Organizer, Teen Group Leader
“I am 32 years old and live in Madison County, North Carolina,” says Danny. “I believe that autism is not something that needs to be cured, but rather something that society can learn to embrace. Sometimes there are no better professionals for a person on the autistic spectrum than other autistics. We are adults who have grown into our autism, not out of it. With a trusting attitude and helpful community, our fellow autistics can learn to not only cope with day-to-day life, but thrive in it. Not everybody has been supportive or believed in us, but sometimes we end up working together with these people to make some kind of compromise so as to learn from each other, whether we realize it or not.
I am a passionate advocate for the autistic population because I, too, am on the autism spectrum. I have Asperger’s syndrome, as well as a severe developmental delay, ADHD, and dysgraphia.
Being on the autism spectrum and having physical and mental disabilities, I see the lack of community and the need for people to come together and not just sit back. It takes two people in every instance to build any relationship. In this case, it often takes one person on the autism spectrum and a neurotypical person on the other end, to be open to the creation of solutions. However, the first step towards acceptance is to dispel the stigma consigned to those on the autism spectrum.
I encourage fellow autistics to embrace their autism. As we continue on life’s journey, we continue to realize the great personal benefits of having Asperger’s or being on the autism spectrum. Sometimes the best therapy is to have fellow autistics to relate to, to talk with, regardless of age. With the right support, I believe that every autistic can function and flourish in today’s society regardless of where they are on the autism
Parent Group Leader
Heather has been working with individuals and families in the Asheville community for over 13 years in family preservation, therapeutic foster care, and community based autism services. In addition to her work with Autistics United, Heather is also Senior Services Coordinator at the Autism Society of North Carolina based in Asheville, where she helps advocate for children and adults on the autistic spectrum and strives to develop networks of support throughout the community.
Heather has a bachelor’s degree in social work with a minor in professional writing from Western Carolina University. When not at work, she can be found spending time with her many lovely daughters, two of whom have special needs. Heather brings with her years of knowledge about family systems and a passion for supporting persons with disabilities to reach their full potential in the community. Her first-hand experience with her daughters and her passion for those on the spectrum make her a valuable parent group leader for Autistics United.