Getting to Know your Board
The board of directors of The Autism Alliance of MetroWest., Inc consists of 13
exceptional individuals. As part of our “Getting to Know” your board series we are pleased to feature Board Member: Lisa Clover
1. How did you become involved with The Autism Alliance of MetroWest?
I became involved with the Autism Alliance of MetroWest., Inc., in 1994 when my husband Jim and I were
informed that our son Andrew displayed signs of Autism. I went to the local library to find books on the
Autism. At that time, there were two library books available about Autism Spectrum Disorders. We began making frantic telephone calls and finally reached members of the Autism Alliance who understood our numerous
questions and concerns. The Alliance provided a network of parents and friendly advice on where to begin
dissecting the diagnosis and journey of autism.
2. What has your role/projects been over the years as one of the board of directors?
I have been involved in numerous community based projects to include Kite Day and First Responders video. Selling cotton candy at Natick Day's is a particular favorite of mine. For some children it is there first time eating
cotton candy and their expressions are priceless! I have utilized my professional skills in developing our organization's long-range business plan and strategic plan. As Treasurer, I assist in preparing and monitoring our budget and ensure that the Boards' financial policies are being followed.
3. You recently received a nomination for the 2009 Spirit of Hope award. Could you tell me a little about the nomination/award and its relation to your work and in addition your work with Autism?
Since 2000, the military services and the U.S. Coast Guard solicits nominations for the Spirit of Hope Award.
Eligibility includes the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, civil servants, private citizens or
organizations whose patriotism and service reflect that of Mr. Bob Hope. It was an honor to be nominated for this prestigious award. The nomination highlighted my dedication as a volunteer with the Alliance and for the invaluable guidance and support I provide to Soldier and Civilian families located at the Soldier Systems Center.
4. What changes have you seen in the field since you started with The Autism Alliance many years ago?
During the past decade I have seen an increased appreciation for the vast spectrum of differences that fall under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorders. Today, children are being diagnosed with subtle characteristics at an earlier age and the criteria for diagnosing developmental disorders has changed, increasing the rates of autism diagnosis. Professional, health care, and parent advocacy has forced the medical and government community to respond to increased autism research and early intervention. Also, national awareness and media coverage of autism has increased. However, autism spectrum disorders need to be communicated more accurately in order for community acceptance to continue to grow.
5. What would you like to see in the future for people/families/siblings living with Autism?
It is vital that public awareness, education, and medical research continue so the world-wide community understands the challenges that children and families diagnosed with autism face on a daily basis. I would like to see increased services for the growing number of diagnosed adults, as we are not prepared to address this new population who will require lifespan services. Insurance companies must increase financial coverage for initial diagnosis of developmental disabilities, therapies, and services for all people living with autism.
6. Could you tell me a little about your family?
My husband Jim and I are lifelong residents of Natick. We have two sons, James is a sophomore Communications major at Westfield State College and Andrew is a junior at Natick High School, who works at Roche Bros and the Bacon Street Farm. Also, he is currently on the Swim Team.
7. Anything additional you would like to share with our members?
There is no doubt that learning your child is diagnosed with autism presents a tremendous challenge for both the child and parents. Autism will change lives forever. Work as a team with medical and educational professionals to create a path forward for your child. Take risks and expose your child to a variety of activities, something might spark their interest. Utilize support groups, chat rooms, and numerous local and national resources available. Be flexible in handling your child's challenges and celebrate small accomplishments and achievements. Appreciate the uniqueness of your child and love them unconditionally. Never give up hope!
Prepared by: Allison Daigle