Team Members

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Rene' Daman

Rene' DamanRene' Daman, PT, MS, BCBA, LBA
Director
(405) 271-7476
Rene-daman@ouhsc.edu

Education:
M.S., Physical Therapy, University of Oklahoma HSC, Oklahoma City, OK, 1998
B.S., Physical Therapy, University of Oklahoma HSC, Oklahoma City, OK, 1993

Grants / Contracts:
Director of the Oklahoma Autism Network, funded by the Department of Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD)
Principal Investigator, Research Project – ConnectedKids: Training Parents to Use Developmental and Behavioral Strategies with their Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, funded by the Department of Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD)

Service:
Rene' is the co-director of the Oklahoma Autism Network in the Tolbert Center for Developmental Disabilities and Autism.  She has been with the Tolbert Center in the Department of Rehabilitation Science since 1999. Rene' has worked with families and their children with disabilities, including autism since 1993.  She is the co-principal investigator for the ConnectedKids program, a parent training program for parents of young children with autism. Rene’ chairs the Oklahoma Family and Interagency Autism Council, is a member of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel for Developmental Disabilities, and serves on the Developmental Disabilities Services Advisory Committee for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. She provides services to children and their families through the ConnectedKids program, through a contract with Norman Public Schools and through collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation Services and Goodwill Industries in Tulsa helping high school students with autism find employment after graduation.  She provides training through OAN for families and professionals. 

Research Interest:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Parent training in Developmental and Behavioral Strategies for Children with Autism
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Related Services under IDEA

Judy Pluess

Judy PluessJudy Pluess
Family Services Coordinator
(405) 271-7476
Judy-Pluess@ouhsc.edu

Education:

Grants / Contracts:
Family Services Coordinator of the Oklahoma Autism Network, funded by the Department of Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD)

Service:
Judy joined the Oklahoma Autism Network in 2008.She participated in the Oklahoma Autism Pilot Waiver asa Family Support Coach. She served asa Family Partner at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center/Child Study Center for several years beginning in2004. She is a 2000 graduate of Partners in Policymaking, and a 2002 graduate of Partners in Education Advocacy. She has assisted families with issues relating to their child's educational program and services. Judy is the parent of an adult daughter who has been diagnosed with Autism.  Judy serves as the primary point of contact for families and professionals who contact OAN.  She serves on several committees representing OAN, co-coordinates the ConnectedFamilies program, and provides training and technical assistance. 

Julie Smith

Julie D. SmithJulie D. Smith, MS, OTR/L
Co-Director
(405) 271-7476
Julie-smith@ouhsc.edu

Education:
M.S., Rehabilitation Science emphasis in serving infants, toddlers and youth under the IDEA, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, 2004

B.S., Occupational Therapy, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, 1998

LEND Fellow, Interdisciplinary Leadership Education for Health Professionals Caring for Children with Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND), University Affiliated Programs, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, 2001
 

Grants / Contracts:
Co-Director of the Oklahoma Autism Network, funded by the Department of Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) (2007-present)

Co-Principal Investigator, Research Project – ConnectedKids: Training Parents to Use Developmental and Behavioral Strategies with their Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, funded by the Department of Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) (2010 - present)

Co-Principal Investigator, Research Project - Oklahoma Autism Needs Assessment Survey, funded by the Department of Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) and the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Special Education Section (2012 - present)

Co-Principal Investigator, Research Project - Oklahoma Autism Needs Assessment Survey of Professional Development, funded by the Department of Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) (2014 - present)


Service:
Julie is co-director of the Oklahoma Autism Network in the Tolbert Center for Developmental Disabilities and Autism. She has been with the Tolbert Center since 2001. She is co-principal investigator of the ConnectedKids: Training Parents to Use Developmental and Behavioral Strategies with their Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, co-principal investigator of the Oklahoma Autism Needs Assessment Survey of caregivers and individuals with ASD, as well as principal investigator of the Oklahoma Autism Needs Assessment Survey for Professional Development. Julie previously served as the program director of the Statewide Training and Regional Supports program where she was responsible for coordinating and implementing a plan of personnel development for individuals working with infants and toddlers (Oklahoma's early intervention program, SoonerStart), preschoolers and students age 6 through 21 with disabilities. Julie has provided training and technical assistance regarding assessment and development of the individualized family service plan in SoonerStart, early childhood transition from SoonerStart to school and community services, evidence-based practice, parent-child interaction, sensory processing, and supporting children with challenging behaviors / autism and their families, as well as direct services for SoonerStart and a rural public school system. She has completed training and reliability in the use of the Screening Tool for Autism in Two-Year Olds (STAT), NCAST Parent-Child Interaction Feeding and Teaching Scales, and Coaching Families and Colleagues in Early Childhood.

Research Interest:

  • Autism spectrum disorders
    • Parent-professional collaboration
    • Natural learning opportunities and environments as context of intervention
    • Social engagment
    • Understanding needs of parents
    • Understanding needs of individual's living with autism
    • Understanding the use of evidence-based practices and needs of professionals
  • Early Intervention
  • Transition services for children and families exiting early intervention

Ginger Wells

Ginger Glenn WellsGinger Glenn Wells, MSW
Special Projects Coordinator
(405) 271-7476
Ginger-wells@ouhsc.edu

Education:
MSW, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma- 1986
BA, Social Welfare, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas-1979

Grants / Contracts:
Special Projects Coordinator-ConnectedKids Research Project-Training parents to use developmental and behavioral strategies with their children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Service:
Ginger joined the Oklahoma Autism Network in October, 2011. She has worked with families touched by disability for the past 24 years through the SoonerStart Early Intervention Program as a Transition Resource Coordinator and the Oklahoma Infant Transition Program as a social worker in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. While with SoonerStart, Ginger coordinated early intervention services for children age 2yrs to 3yrs and assisted the family and child in transitioning to community programs following EI services. Ginger has also worked as the Parent Aide Coordinator and parent group leader for parents court ordered into parenting classes with the Parents Assistance Center. Prior work also includes Social Worker with Child Protective Services through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and elementary age caseworker at the United Methodist Children’s Home in Tahlequah, OK.  Ginger is the project coordinator for the ConnectedKids and ConnectedFamilies programs.  She is the primary point of contact for both programs and provides service coordination for families in the ConnectedKids program.  She provides training and technical assistance to families, with an emphasis on supporting families to access services through their local public school and other state programs. 

Research Interest:

  • Autism
  • Parent Advocacy
  • Inclusion
  • Early intervention
  • IEP process