Northern Colorado Autism Association
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Phyllis Zimmerman - President

The Zimmerman family moved to the Fort Collins area in 2005 and jumped into community involvement with both feet. Phyllis a former university teacher is an active volunteer serving and educating the community and her church. She is the mother of two fun loving kids, Anthony (age 9) and Amelia (age 7) whom she home-schools. Phyllis is the founder of D.I.S.H. (Dietary, Intervention, Support, & Hope) a support group for the utilization of dietary and biomedical intervention for autism spectrum disorder. Since 2001 she has attended DAN! Conferences and has been a contributor to several books on the subject of autism as well as a freelance writer. She enjoys mentoring and collaborating with families living the autism experience. If you would like to contact Phyllis directly, feel free to email her at

Tina Boyer - Vice President

Tina has lived in fort Collins, Colorado for over fifteen years. In that time she met her wonderful supporting husband Mike. They have five children, Jayden(age2),Holly(age4),Julien(age6),Hailey(age13)and her stepson Chris(age17). Her son Julien was diagnosed with aspergers at age two and then in January of 2009, after serious stomach complications and many hospitalizations he was then diagnosed with high functioning autism and pediatric bipolar, mood disorder. Tina is embracing this journey with all her heart and hopes to make a positive impact in the autism community.

Jennifer Cotton - Treasurer

Jennifer and her family moved to Loveland in 2006 and enjoy activities such as hiking and visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. Jennifer has three lovely children – Cameron (11), Kirsten (8), and Leanne (3). Before deciding to be a stay-at-home mom, Jennifer worked in the finance department at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and has obtained her master’s degree in health administration. Her son Cameron was diagnosed at age 11 with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Since Cameron’s diagnosis, Jennifer has developed an interest in spectrum disorders and has directed her efforts toward a deeper understanding of this complex disorder.

Brandi Williams-Stephenson - Director of Community Education & Awareness

Brandi’s background has been in public school special education with all ability levels and ages. She is currently taking time to focus her attention to graduate studies, while working on a new project as founder of Indigo Journey Center: a collective resource for learning ( . Her skills include Autism and positive behavior support specialist, student engagement techniques, professional development, instructional/behavioral coaching and family education. She is interested in social issues, community members and spending time being a research hobbyist and life-long learner.

Dr. Temple Grandin, Ph.D., Member-at-Large:

Dr. Temple Grandin -- noted author and professor -- is known as the "most famous adult with autism in the world." She is an associate professor at Colorado State University and is also a world renowned professional designer of humane livestock facilities. Grandin grew up in a time when very little was known about autism. At age two, she was diagnosed with 'brain damage'. Despite displaying autistic traits such as rocking, fixation, and emotional distance, doctors would not recognize her condition as autism for several years. She was placed in a structured nursery school with what she considers to have been good teachers. She considers herself lucky to have had supportive mentors from primary school onwards.

Grandin received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Franklin Pierce College in 1970, her master's degree in animal science from Arizona State University in 1975, and her PhD in animal science from the University of Illinois in 1989.Based on personal experience, she advocates early intervention and supporting teachers who can direct fixations of the autistic child to fruitful directions. She has described her own hypersensitivity to noise and other sensory stimuli, as well as her need to visualize everything. Temple attributes her success as a livestock designer to her ability to recall detail which is a characteristic of her visual memory. Grandin compares her memory to full length movies in her head that can be replayed at will, allowing her to notice small details that would otherwise be overlooked. She is also able to view her memories using slightly different contexts by changing the positions of the lighting and shadows. Her insight into the minds of cattle have taught her to value the changes in details which animals are particularly sensitive to, and use her visualization skills to design thoughtful and humane animal handling equipment. She regularly takes anti-depressants and uses a squeeze-box (hug machine) she invented at the age of 18.Grandin is considered a philosophical leader of both the animal welfare and autism advocacy movements. Both movements commonly cite her work regarding animal welfare, neurology, and philosophy.

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