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Saturday, May 25, 2019   12:51 PM    |   85°F





Julie Riley, M.Ed., BCBA

Project Coordinator

is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has worked with individuals with autism spectrum disorder over the past 15 years. Prior to joining LASARD, Julie was the Associate Director of the Florida State University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities where she provided direct service and technical assistance to constituents and schools, as well as conducted training workshops to the public, school districts, and other organizations. She was also a Clinical Research Diagnostician for the FIRST WORDS Project, an autism prevalence study funded by the CDC. Julie taught children with autism spectrum disorders in Bay District Schools, Florida. Julie has also experience as a school counselor and behavior consultant. Julie holds a Master’s in Education in school counseling from the University of Southern Mississippi and has completed additional graduate coursework in school psychology.


Donna Hammons B.S.


has worked with students with disabilities and their families since 1988. Prior to joining LASARD, she served as a K-5th grade special educator, behavioral consultant, and autism facilitator within Lincoln Parish. Prior to and since her employment as a LASARD facilitator, Donna has actively pursued professional development opportunities to acquire and strengthen her knowledge and implementation of instructional practices for students with autism and related disabilities. Donna also participates in community outreach opportunities to share effective strategies for students with school administrators, educators, and families. Donna has a BA in Sociology from Louisiana College and, additionally, holds certification as a highly qualified K-12 special education teacher.


Chris Champagne, B.A.


has been providing professional development to school personnel working with students with autism spectrum disorder for over 20 years. Before joining LASARD, as an independent consultant, she provided consultative services in Oklahoma, Mississippi and Louisiana, designing and overseeing statewide professional development projects. Prior to her work as an independent consultant, Chris spent 11 years working at the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) where she recruited and mentored a cadre of service providers, family members, and self-advocates to assist in the design, delivery and evaluation of professional development. In addition to project design and oversight, Chris served as Data Coordinator for the Center and was responsible for designing a protocol for collecting and reporting outcomes data to state and national stakeholders.

Amy Dakin

Amy Dakin, M.Ed.


Amy has worked with students with autism spectrum and related disabilities since 2009.  Prior to joining LASARD, she served as the Student Services Coordinator for a grade 3-5 school in Lincoln Parish where she served as SBLC chairperson, writing 504 student plans, ELL student plans, and overseeing individualized student interventions for academics and behavior.  She also served as School Test Coordinator where she scheduled testing, arranged for small groups and accommodations for students, and ensured the safety of standardized and district-wide tests.  Prior to Student Services Coordinator, she served as a 3rd and 6th grade special education inclusion and resource teacher in Lincoln Parish where she developed and implemented Individualized Education Plans, Behavior Interventions Plans, provided accommodations and modifications when appropriate, and developed individualized schedules. She has also been a mentor teacher for other special education teachers, and was a SIOP evaluator for Lincoln Parish.  Amy has a Master’s degree in Education from Louisiana Tech University and is certified in the areas of Mild/Moderate (1st-12th), Middle School English/Language Arts (4th-8th), and Middle School Mathematics (4th-8th).


Melinda Luna, BS

has worked with individuals with autism spectrum disorder and related disabilities since 2011. Prior to joining LASARD, Melinda worked as a special education teacher at R. J. Vial Elementary in St. Charles Parish. R. J. Vial Elementary was part of the LASARD project where Melinda was the team leader. Throughout that time, R. J. Vial Elementary became a model school practice site for many components on the LAQI. As a special education teacher, she has had experience writing Individualized Education Plans, Behavior Intervention Plans, creating visuals, providing modifications and accommodations, incorporating priming into the daily schedule, and using reinforcement with all her students. She also has experience providing professional development on a variety of topics. Melinda has a BS in Elementary Education from Southeastern Louisiana University. She is duel certified in Elementary Education and Mild/Moderate Special Education 1st-5th grade.

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