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Patrick Schwarz, Ph.D.

Dr. Patrick Schwarz is a dynamic and engaging professor, author, motivational speaker and leader in Education (Inclusive Education, Special Education, General Education, Educational Leadership) and Human Services. He is a professor at National Louis University, Chicago. Patrick’s company is Creative Culture Consulting LLC. He is the author of From Disability to Possibility™, You’re Welcome (with Paula Kluth), Just Give Him the Whale (with Paula Kluth) and Pedro’s Whale (with Paula Kluth). His new book is From Possibility to Success


Pascal Cheng has a M. Ed. and C.A.S. in Special Education from the University of Vermont and has worked for over 30 years with children and adults with developmental disabilities in school and community settings.

He currently works for the Howard Center in Burlington, Vermont as an educational and communication specialist, providing training and consultation in the areas of augmentative communication, assistive technology and literacy for children and adults with developmental disabilities. He has developed specific expertise in facilitated communication, an augmentative communication method for individuals with limited speech. Through his work with individuals served by the Howard Center and continued training at the Institute of Communication and Inclusion at Syracuse University, he has gained extensive skill and experience in the use of this method of communication. As part of a national network of Master Trainers in Facilitated Communication, he works as a consultant to schools and agencies and regularly participates as a trainer in local, regional and national workshops and conferences.

His professional associations involve membership on three different statewide committees: the Vermont Communication Task Force, the Vermont Autism Task Force, and the Vermont Assistive Technology Advisory Council.


Darlene Hanson is a speech and language specialist with an expertise in working with individuals with severe communication impairments. She is the Director of Communication Services with REACH, in the Los Angeles area. Darlene has been working in this field for 24 years. Her work focuses on bringing alternate models of communication to those who do not use speech to communicate effectively. Darlene received her MA from Whittier College and her BA from Chapman College, both in Communication Disorders. She is recognized as a master trainer in Facilitated Communication. She participated in the writing of the Standards of Best Practice for Facilitated Communication from Syracuse University and has co-authored research on authorship for facilitated communication.


Harvey F. Lavoy, III has worked for Community Developmental Services (CDS), a Division of Washington County Mental Health Services in Montpelier, Vermont since 1994.  He has a B.S. in Special Education and has worked in the field of Human Services since 1973.  
He currently is the Director of Communication Training and Resources at CDS and provides education, training and technical assistance to adults and children with complex communication needs as well as their families, support staff, educational teams, schools and agencies. He has been a member of the Vermont Statewide Communication Task Force since 2000 providing statewide trainings, workshops, and conferences to enable adults in Vermont with developmental disabilities to communicate, make social connections, and participate in community life more fully. 

He is a member of a National network of Master Facilitated Communication Trainers.  He received a Certificate of Recognition as a Master Trainer in Facilitated Communication in 2006 from the Institute on Communication and Inclusion, School of Education, Syracuse University and provides introductory and skill building training at the institute two to three times a year.


Tracy Thresher is a native Vermonter who lives and works in Vermont. Tracy began using Facilitated Communication in 1990 and was one of the first individuals with autism in Vermont to be introduced to it. He has presented at local, statewide and national workshops and conferences. He has consulted with local schools and also mentors high school students, is a member of the Vermont Autism Advisory & Planning Committee, the Vermont Communication Task Force, the WCMHS Communication Alliance, is a member of the Imagine the Future VT state Task Force and does freelance work for Green Mountain Self-Advocates and works with the Institute on Communication and Inclusion at Syracuse University as a Master Trainer. Tracy and his friend, Larry Bissonnette, travel promoting their documentary "Wretches & Jabberers" in an effort to change the World's view of disability to one of positivity.




Sue Rubin was diagnosed at age 4 with autism and mental retardation. She attended public Special Day Classes until high school, where she was fully included and graduated with honors. In May 2013, after sixteen years, Sue graduated Whittier College with a BA in Latin American History on academic scholarship. She carried the 1996 Olympic Torch in Los Angeles; received CALTASH’s 1st Annual Mary Falvey Outstanding Young Person Award (1998) and the Autism Society’s Wendy F. Miller Award (1999); has presented at over 100 conferences, workshops, and classes; was the subject of two PBS Life and Times programs; has articles published in the L.A. Times, TASH Connections and Disability and Society; was the subject and writer of the 2004 Academy Award-nominated “Autism is a World”, and was an elected member of TASH’s National Board of Directors. Sue is a dedicated advocate for people with disabilities, and works as a facilitated communication consultant. She enjoys an active social and cultural life.


More to come!