Development Team

Sara Gage has a BS in Psychology and an M.A.Ed. in Special Education.  She is Director of the Autism Society of North Carolina Summer Camp Program and a Partner in Making Connections LLC, which runs groups helping children on the Spectrum learn valuable life and social skills.  She was named the Autism Society of NC's Teacher of the Year for 2002.
Heidi Lyda has a B.S. in Human Development and Family Sciences; Individual and Family Studies option and an M.S. in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education.  Heidi is in her sixth year as the lead teacher in a reverse integrated pre-k classroom for children with a wide range of skill levels.
Mandy Maguire has a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and a B.A. in Psychology. She is an expert in cognitive development, focusing on language acquisition in a variety of children including special needs populations.  She has investigated language delays in various ability levels and needs including children with autism spectrum disorders, specific language impairments, hearing impairments with cochlear implants and 22q11.2 Deletion Disorder.  She is an Associate Professor investigating the neurological underpinnings of language throughout the lifespan.
Lauren Palladino has a B.S. in Health Science and an M.S. in Occupational Therapy.  She evaluates and works with preschool, school age, and middle school age children on fine motor and sensory integration skills.  She has experience working with children with autism, cerebral palsy, visual perceptual and visual motor difficulties, ADHD, Down Syndrome, learning disabilities, and cognitive impairments.  She is in her fourth year as an Occupational Therapist.
Amy Maguire has an  M.A. in Special Education with a focus on Early Intervention and an M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship.  She taught self-contained pre-k classrooms for children with a variety of ability levels for four years.  During two of those years she also served as a consultant to local classrooms for behavior management and academic modification strategies. 
Laurie Thurmond has a B.S. in Education and an M.Ed. in Special Education.  She currently is working towards a specialist degree.  She is in her seventh year teaching elementary children on the autism spectrum. She has experience working with a wide range of students from nonverbal students acquiring functional life skills to students functioning above grade level needing to learn complex pragmatic skills.
Brad Abrahams has a B.A. in Art and was awarded the Presidential Scholarship in Art.  He is a graphic designer and overall creative genius.


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