Autism Delaware announced recently that the agency’s associate director, Teresa J. Avery, MBA, has taken the post of executive director.
As Autism Delaware’s associate director for the last two years, Avery has been responsible for developing relationships with the Delaware community and expanding awareness of autism and Autism Delaware across The First State, with a focus on the growing number of children now being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Avery also oversaw an upgrade of the agency’s website, expanding use of and access to information for the families of children who are newly diagnosed.
Avery replaces retiring executive director Theda Ellis. Ellis’s tenure began 10 years ago, when she joined a small group of parents who had children with autism and began molding the grassroots movement into the statewide structure that is Autism Delaware today. Under Ellis, Autism Delaware’s adult services program earned national recognition as an Effective Program only three years after it was established.
“When I started, the world was just beginning to understand the effects of autism on the family and the community,” says Ellis, “but Teresa faces a population where one in 88 children is diagnosed, and they will require services across their life spans. After working closely with Teresa for the last two years, I am confident that she has the right combination of skills and experience to meet this demand. It won’t be easy. Basically, Autism Delaware remains a grassroots effort that relies on volunteers to supplement a small staff across the entire state.”
“I am inspired by the opportunity,” assures Avery. “There are an increasing number of families in Delaware affected by autism. Over the coming years, Autism Delaware will work to expand our existing services, offer new services and collaborate with other organizations to help meet the need.”
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. Considered a spectrum disorder, autism is actually a group of disorders with similar features. The symptoms range from mild to severe and present themselves in a wide variety of combinations.
Autism Delaware is a nonprofit organization made up of individuals with autism spectrum disorders, family members, the professionals who serve them and their friends. With offices in Newark and Milton, Autism Delaware serves the entire state. For more information on fundraising events and volunteerism, go to autismdelaware.org.