Board of Directors
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 Co-Coordinator of the Disability Ministry in the Diocese of Lansing. She is currently going into her fifth year of being on the Board of Directors, most recently as the Secretary.
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.
Jennifer Lamphere - Board Member
Jennifer is originally from Lapeer Michigan. She has lived in Lansing for the last five years. Jennifer joined the Board about a year ago. She has been on a lot of different Boards in the past, including the Early On Board. Jennifer has experience as a Grant writer and in the past was a stay-at-home mother taking care of her two sons who are both on the Autism Spectrum and have additional disabilities. She is a now living her dream as an artist.
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 11 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.
Fran Adams - Board Member
Fran is originally from New York and spent the last 22 years living in suburban New Jersey. She is a recent resident of Michigan, having moved here in November of 2019. Fran left her career in International Factoring to become a stay at home Mom in 1998. She and her husband of 25 years have two children, a daughter who is a recent Purdue graduate, and a son who is a recent Okemos High School graduate. Her son Kyle was born in 2001 and has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Fran has spent most of her life volunteering and serving under served populations. Serving on various boards in an effort to specifically help those with special needs. Having always been "that volunteer Mom" she looks forward to lending her time and support to her new home community.
Anne-Marie Dionise - Board Member
Ann-Marie is from Lansing and is married with three children. Her son is nine and on the Autism Spectrum. He was diagnosed at 3 1/2. She enjoys cooking, baking, crafts, reading and spending time with her family. She is looking forward to serving on the Board of Directors!!!
Gabby Naula-Quintero - Board Member
Anamiguel Pomales Ramos - Board Member
Donnesa McPherson - Board Member
Donnesa has been married for almost 18 years and has two sons (9 and 11). Her eldest son was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum a little over two years ago and her youngest was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder at the same time. She is a stay-at-home wife/mother as well as a full-time homeschool educator to her two sons. She served on the Great Start Shiawassee Parent Coalition for five years before moving to the Lansing area about two years ago. She enjoys volunteering at the Potter Park Zoo and the Constellation Cat Cafe . She enjoys getting plenty of time outdoors with her family, reading, writing, blogging and taking as many pictures of nature as she can.