A Tribute to Amanda Clark (1984-2024)

Amanda Clark headshot

Amanda Clark (1984-2024)

It is with profound sorrow that we report the loss of our beloved colleague and dear friend, Amanda Clark, following complications from heart surgery.  She is survived by her beloved husband, Ryan, and their two sons, Emmett and Sawyer. 

Amanda joined HDC’s LASARD team in August of 2022 to support school parishes across Central and Southwest Louisiana in inclusive education. She holds dual certification in Elementary and Special Education (Mild/Moderate) and is a Nationally Certified Educational Diagnostician. Amanda’s previous roles as a music teacher, a special education teacher, and an Educational Diagnostician with the Pupil Appraisal team underscored here commitment to individualized and appropriate inclusive practices, building relationships, co-teaching and collaboration, and working to foster independence. Additionally, Amanda was actively pursuing a doctoral degree with a concentration on Exceptional Learners. Her absence will be keenly felt by all.

Here are some tributes from her HDC family:

“Amanda brought exuberance and passion into our LASARD workgroup. She connected quickly as a team member, seamlessly assuming the roles of “coach” and “presenter”(sure to always grab audience attention creatively). Problem solving was another attribute that Amanda had in spades, at home and in her work life…she didn’t let the rough spots get her down. It is rare to work on a team where the bond and commitment across members is highly valued. The loss of Amanda will ripple through each of us in the days to come because she made the effort to connect and bring 100% to the table.”

“Amanda was one of the most passionate advocates for students that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.”

“She was vibrant and always present as a coworker and friend.”

Further details can be found at:!/TributeWall

Instead of flowers, the family requests that donations be directed to Maddie’s footprint (

During this difficult time, we ask that you keep Ryan and the rest of Amanda’s family in your hearts and thoughts.

HDC’s LASARD project extends reach across Louisiana

Julie Riley gives presentation to a group of 20 educators.

This article was written in collaboration with HDC’s K-12 Initiatives Director Julie Riley, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA, and HDC Director Philip Wilson, Ph.D.

Human Development Center’s Louisiana Autism Spectrum and Related Disabilities (LASARD) project has nearly tripled the number of school districts it collaborates with over the past two-years; going from about 10 districts to over 25 school systems across the state this 2021-22 school year. The HDC LASARD project is proud to serve “traditional” districts and charter systems from Webster and Morehouse in the northern part of the state, to Concordia in the east, to Jeff Davis in the southwest, and to Tangipahoa and ReNEW charters in the southeast.

Read more >

HDC Spotlight: Ali Kowitz, M.Ed., ET/P

Ms. Ali Kowitz recently joined the staff of HDC’s K-12 Educational Initiatives as an educational facilitator.  Ali coaches special educators and regular education teachers to better serve students, including those with disabilities in several school districts across South Louisiana (i.e., Iberville, East Baton Rouge, ReNEW-New Orleans, and Belle Chasse Academy). According to Ms. Julie Riley, HDC’s K-12 Education Initiatives director, “Ali may have only been in this role for three-months, but her expertise in instructional strategies and transition has added greatly to our team.” In fact, Ali has already developed professional development materials focusing on instructional strategies and accommodations/modifications to assist students with disabilities function within school-wide and classroom norms. Happily, these strategies work for students of all abilities!

Ali Kowitz
Read more >

LASARD Facebook Resources for Work-at-Home Parents

The LASARD Project is posting resources and short videos/webinars to their Facebook page LASARD Facebook page to support parents who are now “teaching” at home. These resources are appropriate for families with younger kids as well as adolescents.

LASARD Project Approved as Vendor for Louisiana Department of Education

The Louisiana Autism Spectrum and Related Disabilities (LASARD) Project has been selected for inclusion in the Louisiana Department of Education’s Partnership for Success Guide as an approved vendor for the 2020-2021 school year.  The Partnership for Success Guide provides school systems with a list of partners that can provide professional development to build the capacity of educators to deliver specialized supports often required to support the unique needs of students with disabilities.  Only ten vendors from across the US are included in this guide. LASARD facilitators are in the process now of meeting with districts and schools across the state to promote their partnership services and offer support as needed. 

LASARD Featured in National Autism CARES Newsletter

Classroom full of people at HDC

HDC’s LASARD project was highlighted in the Developments Newsletter. The article describes how LASARD improves outcomes for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related disabilities by developing a pool of highly effective educators across the state.  Read the article here:

Developments is a newsletter for Autism CARES legislation grantees, published by AUCD’s Interdisciplinary Technical Assistance Center on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (ITAC) in partnership with AMCHP’s State Public Health Autism Resource Center (SPHARC). Its purpose is to share news, activities, events, research, and accomplishments across grantee areas – research, training, and state implementation.

To subscribe to the Developments Newsletter, click here: