President – JoAnne Vieweg
I am the grandmother of a 17 year old grandson with Asperger’s Syndrome. He was diagnosed at age 8 in the spring of his third grade. Despite initial worries that a label would hinder him in life, I came to realize that knowing what was going on for him opened paths for support and understanding. I felt that my experience as an elementary teacher, special education teacher and elementary school counselor helped arm me with the information and experience our family would need to be able to navigate the special education school issues and other areas of concern in his development. That was true, but I still needed personal support from others who had walked this same road. My daughter was dependent on me to support her and I needed support for both of us. Then I found the RRVAN and discovered the support and understanding we all needed. I was especially drawn to the support group, the community education efforts and the impact of talking with an adult with Asperger’s to see the world from his perspective. This helped us enormously in better understanding the world through my grandson’s eyes. It helped us better provide accommodations and supports for him. I feel privileged to be able to give similar support to others.
Vice President – Chelle LeMier
Secretary – Mary Schultz
I am a single (widowed) parent of 2 adopted children, boys, 24 and 13 both with Aspergers. Parenting the first child was vastly different than parenting the second in that the oldest son was diagnosed ADD in 1st grade and we didn’t know he had Asperger’s until he was about 16 years old. The youngest child had developmental delays and an obvious genetic history of ASD.
Through the early years of both children I knew something was different about each of them, the first child talked early and was extremely intelligent and had his own “quirks.” The second child started to withdraw into himself around the age of 18 months and had no language until after the age of 4. Through therapies and hard work he began talking.
I have been a Board Member of RRVAN for 1½ years, I have worked with children in various roles such as Sunday School Teacher, Day Care Provider, Support Group Leader and Parent Involvement groups over the past 30 years.
I have been involved in our local PTA’s since the youngest child began Kindergarten as a way of being involved in the education process and being present in his schools. I have filled the roles of Secretary of the Kindergarten PTA, Secretary, Membership Chair, President of the Elementary PTA, President-Elect and President of the Middle School PTA, President-Elect of the Fargo Council PTA and have shared in starting and serving as President of F-M Area Special Education PTA. I have been finding my role on the RRVAN board and in the F-M Area Special Education PTA very fulfilling in reaching other families and offering support to them.
I encourage parents to find their role of advocate in their child’s life and educational experience, not only will this enrich the life of your child it will open doors for those children still to come. Every child, one voice.
Treasurer – Meg Bradley
Barbara Stanton, PhD, LPCC, LMFT, Emeritus
Dr. Stanton is on staff at Prairie St. John’s. Her clinical work is focused on children and adolescents on the autism spectrum along with their caregivers. She provides assessments and therapeutic services to those with Asperger’s Syndrome, High Functioning Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder NOS. With several years of experience, Barb has learned to appreciate the infinite skills and talents of these amazing individuals as well as their struggles to navigate their environment. The focus of her care is on finding how to support people with an autism spectrum disorder allowing them to achieve their highest level of success and gain useful life skills.
Mary Lou Dahms
Consultants to the Board