CAC members elected Shannon D’Aquila (left) as Chairperson and Patsy White (right) as Vice Chairperson at the meeting on March 9th, 2018. The two will serve in their leadership roles for three-year terms.
Shannon D’Aquila, CAC Chairperson
Shannon is the mother of two young ladies: Colleen age 11 and Kathleen age 10. Her youngest daughter, Kathleen, was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two. Since that time, she has advocated for both her daughter and other children with special needs, particularly Autism, with the school system, legislation, insurance companies, Jefferson Parish Human Services Authorities, medical professionals, and therapy providers. She has been family participant in HDC’s LASARD project, a speaker at the LASARD conference in 2012, and a LEND family mentor for the past two years. Second only to having all of her daughter’s needs met, she is most passionate about families of children with disabilities both being empowered to advocate for themselves and their loved ones and having knowledge on how to receive appropriate services.
Patsy White, CAC Vice Chairperson
Patsy and her husband of 38 years, Jeffrey, have five children and seven grandchildren. Her 20-year-old son, Michael, has Prader-Willi Syndrome and her 17 year-old-son, Jeffrey, is on the Autism Spectrum. Over the years, she has worked to educate herself about advocacy in the disability community. She has completed the Partners in Policymaking and the LEND programs, as well as the Prader-Willi Syndrome WYATT Advocates for Education program. She is active with the Regional Advisory Council for Region 3, St Charles Council on Aging, St. Charles Parish Early Childhood Development Policy Council, LASARD, PAIMI Council, Board of Directors of the Advocacy Center, PWSA(USA) Louisiana, and PWSA(USA) Advocacy Committee. She has also served on the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council, as well as the Louisiana Department of Education Special Education Advisory Panel. Her philosophy is not to change her child to fit the world, but to change the world to fit her child.