- Executive Director
BA, Psychology from University of South Carolina
MSW from University of South Carolina
During her undergraduate career Susan worked as a research assistant for a grant funded research study which focused on the dissemination of media and its effects on parenting, specifically the development and sustainment of positive parenting skills. She later became a qualified provider of the Triple-P: Positive Parenting Program.
Susan's graduate studies focused on behavior issues in early childhood, family dynamics, and autism spectrum disorder. During this time she was employed by the Psychology department as a clinical interviewer for a grant funded research study focusing on mood disorders in adolescents. During her graduate studies, Susan held internships at various disability related agencies in Columbia, SC. She gained valuable experience as a service coordination assistant at the South Carolina Autism Society. From here she joined the team at the Center for Disability Resources (CDR), a University Center for Excellence. While at CDR she was a part of the Supported Community Living Initiative, which helped individuals with disabilities move into their own homes and obtain employment. She worked with the Team for Early Childhood Solutions and researched involvement of social workers in early intervention services in the state.
After her time at CDR Susan developed an internship opportunity at the USC School of Medicine's Developmental Pediatric Clinic. She worked collaboratively with physicians to develop behavior management plans, provided informational sessions on autism and counseling to families with newly diagnosed children.
Prior to joining the Lowcountry Autism Foundation, Susan was a consultant with the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs-Autism Division where she was the lead evaluator and provided consultation and training services to families and educators. In addition to her role as Executive Director of the Lowcountry Autism Foundation, Susan serves as Director of Family Support Services for the Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Division of the Medical University of South Carolina.
- Program Coordinator
Molly McGuire grew up in Asheville, NC and moved to the Lowcountry in 2009 to attend the College of Charleston. Molly graduated from CofC in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education with a focus in mental/emotional disabilities. Following graduation, Molly taught special education in a local school district for five years. She was the lead teacher of a middle school, self-contained classroom for students on the autism spectrum. During her time teaching, Molly was awarded Rookie Teacher or the Year (2013-2014) and Teacher of the Year (2015-2016). Molly is currently in graduate school at the University of South Carolina working towards obtaining her Master’s Degree in the field of Social Work. Molly served on Lowcountry Autism Foundation’s Board of Directors for a year and a half before transitioning into her current staffed position.
Outside of work and school, Molly enjoys spending time at the lake, beach, and in the mountains with her fiancé Zach and their dog Nuke. Molly loves being outdoors! During the summer, she trains counselors at an overnight camp for individuals with autism in Black Mountain, NC. Molly is looking forward to continuing to serve the autism community of the Lowcountry through her work as the family services/program coordinator with LAF!
- Beaufort County Program Coordinator
Sophia Fakoury Townes is a native South Carolinian, educator and autism mom. She received her Bachelor’s degree in French Studies from the College of Charleston. On an extension program in Paris, France, Sophia attended the Sorbonne, where she earned her Master’s Degree in French Civilization from Middlebury College. Sophia has been an educator of the French language in the Bluffton/Hilton Head area since 2000. She and her husband, Dr. George Townes, live in Bluffton with their three sons.
Sophia was introduced to LAF in October of 2014, after her three- year-old son, Jack, received his autism diagnosis from MUSC. Sophia remembers vividly the emotional drive back home to Bluffton, with Jack asleep in his car seat. The following day, she reached out to Lowcountry Autism Foundation for support and guidance. The Townes family is now entering the third year of their “journey” through autism. Along with her husband, Sophia has taken on a role of parent support in their hometown. She enjoys reaching out to families whom have recently received an autism diagnosis. It is this first year that is the most stressful for these families—digesting the diagnosis while trying to organize a plan of care for their child. Sophia decided to join the advisory council because she is passionate in promoting autism advocacy, awareness and support. Lowcountry Autism Foundation is truly one of the only support organizations in our area. Together with LAF, Sophia believes that the Lowcountry can better serve those affected by autism and their families. She brings the everyday reality of autism to the LAF advisory board. Sophia serves as the Beaufort County Program Coordinator a role in which she volunteers her time and effort to bring much needed programming to Beaufort County. Sophia organizes all programming in Beaufort, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island.
In addition to supporting LAF, the Townes family are very involved in the Els for Autism Foundation. Their team, “The Jack Pack,” has placed in the top 20 fundraising teams for the past two years.
Alyssa Millard, MAAT, ATR
- Art Therapist
Alyssa L Millard, graduated from the College of Charleston (Charleston,SC) in 1998 with a BA in studio art and again in 2003 with a BS in Psychology. She graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL) in 2006 with a Master’s in Art Therapy. Alyssa graduated with honors, pursued a concentration in conditioning and learning and is trained in ABA therapy techniques. She is a nationally registered art therapist and active member of The American Art Therapy Association.
As an art therapist, Alyssa integrates the ﬁelds of human development, visual art and the creative process with models of counseling and psychotherapy to provide art therapy services for a wide range of clients of all ages, with a wide variety of needs. She uses a collaborative, strengths-based approach that draws from a variety of therapeutic modalities (Such as, Humanistic, Eclectic, Interactive and Developmental Art Therapy, and others) in order to meet the needs of each individual. Alyssa currently works for The Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired as well as for The Lowcountry Autism Foundation as a behavioral art therapist. She also runs her own private art therapy practice, Nurturing Arts (http//:www.NurturingArtsArtTherapy.com). In her spare time, Alyssa is an active painter, printmaker and jewelry artisan.
- Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
Ashley Belt is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She has worked in local school districts as a BCBA and special education teacher for the past five years. She has experience overseeing ABA programs as a BCBA as well as teaching individuals with developmental disabilities ranging from ages six to seventeen. Ashley graduated from the College of Charleston in 2011 with a B.S. in Special Education with an emphasis in Intellectual Disabilities and Emotional Disorders. While studying at the College of Charleston, Ashley discovered the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and began her work as a line therapist working with children with Autism.
After entering the field of special education and realizing the importance of ABA, Ashley earned her M.Ed in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University. Once Ashley became a BCBA in 2015, she began overseeing ABA programs in a Charleston area school district. Ashley is passionate about sharing and implementing the principles of ABA to better our world and the lives of individuals with Autism.
- Art Therapist
BA, Savannah College of Art & Design
MAAT, Southwestern College
Jaclyn L. Lenz, graduated from South Western College (Santa Fe, NM) with duel Masters degrees in Art Therapy and Counseling. In addition, she has also accomplished certificate-based studies in Echo-Phycology focused in environmental healing modalities. She has built therapeutic programs for private agency’s, schools and medical settings supporting a broad spectrum of multi-cultural clients.
Jaclyn chose to integrate previous experience as a special education art teacher into her therapeutic career. Her person-centered style of treatment creatively combines the field of Behavioral Therapy (ABA techniques) with eclectic Art Therapy interventions. Her Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) groups support growth of independence and social skills while strengthening gross and fine motor capabilities. One on one session allows her clients to learn and practice coping skills, self-soothing techniques and self-expression.
As an independent artist herself, she is passionate about surrealism. Her paintings are wildly colorful and full of imagination resembling her inner and exterior environments. Jaclyn receives constant inspiration from nature, movement, music and personal introspection.