Board of Directors - 2021-2022
The MMAA board of Directors is made up of local parents and professionals passionate
about improving communication regarding best practices, local resources, and local social
opportunities for families and individuals with IDD/DD in the mid-Michigan area.
and contact us!
Cathy Blatnik - President
Cathy is originally from Maryland, but has called Michigan home since December of 2001. She has been a stay-at-home mom/wife since 1996 when her daughter was born. Cathy also has a stepson who is married and lives on the West Coast. Her son Dominic was born in 2004 and has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Epilepsy and Anxiety Disorder. Besides volunteering her time with the Mid-Michigan Autism Association, she is the Program Director for All Faith Ministry for disABILITIES and is the Coordinator of the Special Needs Ministry in the Diocese of Lansing. She is currently going into her seventh year of being on the Board of Directors.
Diondra Straiton - Vice President
Diondra Straiton is a doctoral student in Michigan State University's clinical psychology program. She is interested in parent/caregiver engagement in autism treatment for traditionally under-served families. Currently, she is examining ways to increase providers' use of parent training interventions in community settings. Diondra completed her Bachelor's degree at Swarthmore College. Before moving to Michigan, she worked on research projects to improve access to care for traditionally under-served families within Philadelphia's early intervention system and the School District of Philadelphia.
Mary Opsommer - Treasurer
I have two sons Daniel born in 1988, and David born in 1990. David received the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in 1994, and seizures in 2008. David also has OCD's and anxiety disorder. I came to the MMAA board in 2009 and have served for 13 years. My goal is to help individuals and their families on the Autism Spectrum. My work on the MMAA board allows me to give back to the area in a positive and productive way.
Mariah Martinez - Secretary
Mariah was born and raised in SE Michigan. She moved to Lansing to attend Michigan State University (MSU) and has been living within the city since 2014. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from MSU. Mariah is the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Potter Park Zoological Society. She coordinates the FALCONERS program that allows children or adults of all ages with special needs and unique challenges (such as autism or developmental disabilities) and their whole family to have an enriching educational experience in a safe, welcoming and sensory friendly environment. She is certified in Autism by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). Mariah has worked with MMAA for a few years through FALCONERS and became a board member in early 2020.
Alisha Buehrer - Board Member
Alisha is an Autism Spectrum Disorder Teacher Consultant at Grand Ledge Public Schools. She has taught students with autism and other disabilities for the past 11 years in a variety of classroom settings. Alisha completed her Master degree in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Eastern Michigan University in 2015. She also completed her Bachelor degree from Eastern Michigan University in Special Education, with an endorsement in cognitive impairment in 2010. Alisha has always had a passion for teaching and helping to advocate for and support families who have children with disabilities. Alisha is married to her husband, Darren and has two sons, Thomas and Silas. In her free time Alisha enjoys the outdoors and camping.
Anamiguel Pomales Ramos - Board Member
Rachel Hiatt - Board Member
Chioma Torres - Board Member
Alicia Gehrs - Board Member
Sheila Hartley - Board Member