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Parents Of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia (POAC-NoVA) Logo

Parents Of Autistic Children
of Northern Virginia (POAC-NoVA)

What are POAC-NoVA's Goals?

POAC-NoVA approved the following goals for the organization at the October 2007 meeting of the Board of Directors:
  1. Serve as a clearinghouse for research-based methodologies for instructing students on the autism spectrum

  2. Training public and private school educators and parents in ABA/VB and other research-based instructional methodologies

  3. Advocate for and influence the successful implementation of ABA/VB and other research-based instructional methodologies for students on the autism spectrum

  4. Advocate for improvements in the services delivered to students on the autism spectrum

How does POAC-NoVA accomplish its goals?

Parents Of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia (POAC-NoVA) and its predecessor organization has worked since 1996 to improve the quality and quantity of education for students with autism within the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). These successful efforts culminated in the School Board's approval of the enhanced autism program for an estimated 600 students with autism in the pre-school and elementary-school grades starting with the 2004-2005 school year. In the end, an unprecedented $3M was allocated for hiring and training additional educators specifically for this program. Since then, we have had at least five parent representatives at each of the quarterly working meetings with the FCPS staff to ensure that parental concerns for this program continue to be sufficiently addressed and understood.

POAC-NoVA also holds a monthly parent support group and information meeting to provide to parents a forum to frankly talk to other parents who have been dealing with this condition for some time. We have found that one of the best sources of information have been other parents, who truly understand how autism affects not just one child, but the entire family. We would be happy to meet you at one of these meetings.

Corporate Officers

Susan C. Edgerton - President

Scott Campbell - Vice President

Bea Wolman - Secretary

Rick Rehberg - Treasurer

Board of Directors

Steve Wallen - Chairperson

Scott Campbell

Susan C. Edgerton

Juliet Hiznay

Bea Wolman

Kathy Adams

Chelsey Hickman

Advisory Council

Nikia Dower
MS, CCC-SLP/L, Certified and Licensed Speech/Language Pathologist, BCBA
Dower and Associates, Inc.

Ms. Dower is an ASHA certified and Virginia licensed Speech/Language Pathologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Her education is from James Madison University (SLP) and Penn State (Behavior Analysis).

She is the president and owner of Dower and Associates, Inc. located in Loudoun and Prince William Counties, VA. She has been in private practice in Northern Virginia since 1988 and specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, Down's Syndrome, Apraxia, and reading/spelling/written language deficits due to language based Learning Disabilities. She is responsible for consulting and training families, ABA instructors, school systems, private schools and agencies in Applied Behavior Analysis with an emphasis in verbal behavior.

She serves on the Board of Directors of Commonwealth Autism Services in Richmond, VA and is the first speech/language pathologist in Virginia to hold certification as a BCBA. She is considered a leading area professional in the speech/language and behavior analysis fields.

Ms. Dower is a member of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA), the Association for Behavior Analysis (ABA), the Speech Pathology Applied Behavior Analysis Special Interest Group of ABA, the Direct Instruction Special Interest Group of ABA, the Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group of ABA, the Autism Special Interest Group of ABA, the National Association for the Self-Employed, the Association for Direct Instruction and the Autism Society of America with former memberships in the Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis, the Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis, the Speech-Hearing Association of Virginia and the American Academy of Private Practice in Speech Pathology and Audiology.

Meredyth M. Biggs M.Ed., BCBA

Meredyth Biggs is passionate about using the basic behavioral principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) to help individuals make socially significant changes in their behavior and lead more independent, fulfilling lives. She specializes in the treatment of language development, functional skills, play skills, behavior and social skills for young people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The children she serves typically require an all hands on deck approach. Therefore, she provides parent and family training and support. When appropriate, she works in and with schools, as a support during recreational activities, and coaches parents to facilitate language and appropriate behavior in the home and community settings . Ultimately, the children she helps are complicated, but they often want the same things other kids want: to play, to interact, to communicate, and to invest in their own interests to cultivate a sense of self.

She has spent 9 years applying the principles of ABA to support individuals and their families as they address, among other things, severe challenging behaviors such as aggression and self-injury. She helps change problem behavior into adaptive communication and give parents the tools to do the same.

For many years she worked as an elementary school special education classroom teacher and in-home ABA therapist for students with intensive behavior needs. She specializes in assessing and treating the unique individual; She provides practical, results driven plans to teach adaptive, socially appropriate, and communicative behaviors as replacements for problem behaviors.

She currently runs a small practice, Core Behavioral Consulting, Inc, in Arlington, Virginia. Outside of her practice, she serves on the Advisory Council for the Parents Of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia. Her affiliations include the Virginia Association for Behavior Analysts and the Association for Professional Behavior Analysts. She holds a Virginia State license from the Department of Education as a Special Education Teacher (M. Ed.). The Board of Medicine has also licensed her as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (L-BCBA).

Lauren Kenworthy, Ph.D.
Pediatric Neuropsychologist
Director, Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders
Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology
Associate Prof. Pediatrics, Neurology, Psychiatry
George Washington University Medical School


Membership & Autism Awareness Committee - Scott Campbell (Chair), Bea Wolman & Nicole Zupan (Non-Voting)

Business Issues Committee - Steve Wallen (Chair), Kevin A. McGrail (Non-Voting) & Rick Rehberg (Non-Voting)

Fundraising & Grants Committee - Susan Edgerton (Chair) & Rick Rehberg (Non-Voting), Chelsey Penrod Hickman

School Autism Program Liaison and Legislative Outreach Committee - Kathy Smith (Chair), Scott Campbell, Susan Edgerton, Juliet Hiznay, Emma Lynch (Non-Voting), Rachna Heizer (Non-Voting), Teresa Pipia (Non-Voting), Brianne Russell-Morris (Non-Voting), & Joanne Lullier (Non-Voting)

Workshops & Scholarships Committee - Nicole Zupan (Non-Voting), Steve Wallen (Chair), Juliet Hiznay & Shannon McGrail (Non-Voting)


Kevin A. McGrail

POAC-NoVA Brochure

POAC-NoVA developed this brochure as a life-line for parents of a newly-diagnosed child, to assist anyone looking to learn more about autism and to further our mission of promoting research-based methodologies for the intervention of children with autism. It isn't filled with marketing materials, pictures or a pitch for donations! We hope you find it useful.

The brochure is also available to download and updated revisions will be posted at http://www.poac-nova.org/brochure/. Permission is expressly granted to e-mail, print, and otherwise distribute the brochure without additions or modifications.

If you are a doctor, hospital, support group, school, information & referral service, social worker, pyramid resource center, early intervention specialist or work with children on the spectrum, please email Concerns@POAC-NoVA.org to request hard copies to distribute.

P.S.: We invite non-profit autism-support groups to ask for permission to use this brochure as a basis for their own publication!

Download a Brochure about Autism

Copyright © 2016 Parents Of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia (POAC-NOVA), Inc.
Formerly Parents for Autistic Children's Education (P.A.C.E.), Inc.
All rights reserved.
Our Combined Federal Campaign of the National
Capital Area (CFCNCA) ID is #32289.

Disclaimer: Parents Of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia (POAC-NoVA), Inc. is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and Federal EIN of 01-0769341.

Our BACB Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Provider approval number is #OP-07-0146. We are certified for eBay Giving Works and our MissionFish non-profit ID is #33580.

All information provided or published by POAC-NoVA is for informational purposes only. Reference to any treatment or therapy option or to any program, book, service or treatment provider is not an endorsement by POAC-NoVA. POAC-NoVA assumes no responsibility for the use made of any information published or provided by POAC-NoVA. POAC-NoVA is not responsible for comments posted by others. POAC-NoVA reserves the right to use the content of posted comments, including likeness, images, and video.

Parents of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia (POAC-NoVA) does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, physical or mental health, sexual orientation or any characteristic protected by law, and is in compliance with all requirements of law and regulations with respect to the provision of services, employment decisions and volunteer participation.

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