shelly zeimet - PRESIDENT

Shelly is the mother of a child with autism. Shelly began early intervention for him at the age of 14 months. With continuous therapies like Applied Behavioral Analysis, her son is learning many important communication and life skills. Shelly’s goal for her son is that he be the happiest and healthiest he can be.

Being the parent of a child with classic autism can be a long and difficult road. But it is also very rewarding. I try everything within my power to help both William and others with autism live happy, healthy, and meaningful lives. You never know what intervention will help, but it all starts with taking that first step.

Sarah Hammonds - treasurer

Sarah believes in being an advocate for autistic individuals and wants to spread autism awareness. There are many people that she loves that are on the spectrum and her goal is to help as many people as she can to understand ASD.

Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote everyday about the kind of community you want to live in.
— Marjorie Moore

Mary Jo Hammonds - Secretary

I live in Marion Iowa, after having moved here from south Louisiana. I have always been an active community volunteer; now that I have an empty nest I find I have time on my hands that can be spent helping others. Having a family member diagnosed has increased my awareness and desire to help others. I look forward to being an asset to our local group by working to increase ASD awareness.

There are no great things, only small things with great love.
— Mother Teresa

Mandy Ward Koch - Support and Advocacy Officer

Mandy’s son Carter, 12, was diagnosed with autism at age 3.  He has made remarkable progress in the last 6 years, with the help of numerous therapies and interventions.   He currently attends school until noon each day, and ABA therapy every afternoon.  She feels as though the “stars aligned” for Carter to gain access to the therapies that continue to help him reach his potential, and be as happy, healthy, and safe as possible.  The obstacles that she faced included getting him a diagnosis, learning about available services, obtaining funding, gaining admission, and arranging transportation for services.   Mandy hopes to help other families navigate these important challenges, as well as foster friendships for support among families living with autism spectrum disorders.  

Different, not less.
— Temple Grandin

Kevin Huls - Grant Officer

My son Payton 6 (non-verbal) was diagnosed at age 3. He started with Early ACCESS program with Grant Wood at 18 months old.  Payton has worked with a variety of therapies including : ABA, Speech, and Occupational Therapy as he strives to learn and grow into a happy and meaningful life.  I continue to advocate to find new resources and tools to help Payton continue with his development.  I am passionate to help advocate for awareness and acceptance within our community. 

I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.
— Carl Jung

Jaclyn Lussenhop - Subcommittee

Jaclyn Lussenhop, lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Pat. Jaclyn works as a school counselor at the Springville School District in the elementary, and works at Foundations 2 on occasional weekends working with juveniles in the court system. With the type of jobs that Jaclyn has worked she has encountered children with autism all over the spectrum and wants to be able to do more to help these children in school. 

Fair isn’t everybody getting the same thing. Fair is everybody getting what they need in order to be successful.

Leila Hussein - Subcommittee

Leila Hussein lives in Cedar Rapids with her husband and their three children.  She is a mom, a busy professional, and community advocate. She is excited to be a part of the East Central Iowa Autism Society Board of Directors so that she can help champion the rights of individuals with autism and improve the resources available to them and their families.