Aside from the volunteers, there are also staff members overseeing happenings at the Center.
Terese (Tess) Dana, M.S., BCBA
Terese is a behavior analyst and social skills consultant who has been helping students find solutions to social, emotional and behavioral challenges since 1988. She authored the social skills DVD series, Fitting In and Having Fun, which includes: Fitting In and Having Fun, Moving On to Middle School, Confident and In Control and High School Life: Unspoken Expectations and the File Factor Emotional Empowerment System. She is the educational consultant for Didi Lightful, an animated children’s TV show currently in production. Tess has appeared on national television, in the New York Times and in The Autism Sourcebook, Everything You Need to Know about Diagnosis, Treatment, Coping and Healing. She has lectures internationally on the acquisition of social skills and self-regulation strategies. Tess serves as board President of The Laura Foundation for Autism and Epilepsy and helped to create and oversees the Laura Adaptive Recreation Center in Madison, NH.
Amy’s work experience began in the media field… from marketing departments of several large resorts to launching a resort TV station to reporting and covering major sporting events. Following the birth of her son, her life changed. Her little boy started having seizures. Her television career took a back seat, and was replaced by a full-fledged effort to stop her son’s intractable epilepsy. After years of research, unsuccessful medicines, supplements, diets and a countless number of trials and tribulations, an operation finally stopped his daily seizures. However, the years of constant abnormal brain activity left him unable to speak. The end result… he has a diagnosis of autism, and he is non-verbal. Today, he continues to make gains using technology such as an iPad to communicate.
In recent years, Amy has utilized her communication and entrepreneurial skills, as well as her new found knowledge in the area of disabilities, to create and oversee many of the happenings of the Laura Foundation. Many of her efforts include fundraising and grant procurement for programming at the Center.
Rachel Fish is the Laura Foundation’s head PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) instructor, as well as a programming facilitator. She has a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of New Hampshire (UNH). She’s been an avid equestrian since high school prompting her to receive a BS from UNH’s Equine Studies program, with a focus on therapeutic riding. While an undergraduate, she began volunteering at the UNH Therapeutic Riding Program, and in conjunction to working at the Laura Foundation, she worked there part time. Currently, she is NH School Administration Unit 13’s OT covering the towns of Freedom, Madison, and Tamworth. Aside from running the Laura Foundation’s therapeutic riding activities, she also helps in almost all of the Foundation’s programs. She is an incredible asset to the Laura Foundation’s many initiatives!
Madison is the Laura Foundation’s Programming Director. She has a BA in English from Muhlenberg College with a certification in Secondary English Education. Currently, she’s in a master’s program and will attain her MS in Community Development Policy and Practice through the Public Policy Program at the University of New Hampshire in 2023. Madison’s work experience is diverse. Aside from working as an English teacher in the school setting, she’s held numerous roles for Wediko Children’s Services (a non-profit providing therapeutic and educational services to children with serious emotional and behavioral problems and their families). While there, she taught English, gave direct care, and was also an administrative coordinator dealing with schedules, services, and everything in between. Madison has worked in a hospital setting providing daily supervisory oversight in a Detox Unit. She also did an internship as a truancy officer where she worked on behavioral plans and strategies to tackle the issues of school dropouts in an urban school district. Her varied background lends itself well to the Laura Foundation where Madison wears many hats from creating schedules to training staff to developing and facilitating new programs. On any given day, Madison can be seen snowshoeing, cooking, biking, or mentoring Laura Center attendees (ages three to 60!). Aside from working directly with participants, her work includes coordinating and brainstorming with local schools, as well as participants’ parents/caregivers.
Michael is one of the Laura Foundation’s Programming Facilitators. He works in all Laura Foundation programs, and he oversees many activities like climbing and adaptive bike riding. Mike has an interesting past. Not only is he an avid photographer, but he’s worked with his father as a lobsterman for most of his life. Prior to moving to New Hampshire, he worked at several Massachusetts based climbing facilities creating climbing walls, as well as coaching safe and fun experiences for all levels of rock climbing enthusiasts. Mike also has a background working in mental health and behavioral programs ranging from helping young adults with mental health issues as they transition into adaptive environments to one-on-one oversight of programming for several individuals with autism. His work experiences lend themselves well to the adaptive recreation focus at the Laura Foundation.