James R. Benjamin MD
ABPS certified Plastic Surgeon, husband and proud father of three sons, two of which are on the Autism Spectrum. Raised in New Jersey, he attended Penn State University where he played football and graduated with a degree in Bio-Chemistry. He attended Howard University Medical School in 1971, graduating with Honors. He joined the US Army as a physician, and trained as a General Surgeon at Letterman Army Medical Center. Relocating to Washington DC area, he completed his training in plastic surgery, received certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and served as Assistant Chief of Plastic Surgery from 1979-1981. Having completed residency he received an appointment as an Associate Professor in the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences during his tour at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He was part of the initial group of physicians, Plastic Surgeons and Dermatologists that started the Plastic Surgery section of the National Medical Association. He left the Army as a Lt. Colonel active duty in 1981 for private practice, but continued as a reservist until 1991. After Desert Storm he retired from the Army to focus on his family needs with one son in college and two toddler sons on the Autism Spectrum. His oldest son is now a partner in a successful law firm in Towson Maryland and his two younger sons have graduated High School and reside at home. He has maintained a thriving private practice since leaving the Army, owned two of his own surgery centers, served as Chief of Plastic Surgery in two hospitals, and works with several area Nursing Homes as a Wound Care Specialist. Residing in Bowie, Maryland with his wife and two of his sons, he loves to work in his wood shop when he gets a chance. He and his wife co-founded Autism FYI Organization in 2014, and are committed to its success for their sons and others like them.
Joyce Benjamin RN, PA – Chief Operating Officer
Joyce Benjamin RN, PA
Co-Founder, Member of Board of Directors,
Chief Operating Officer – Autism FYI Organization
Joyce Benjamin RN, PA is a Co-Founder of Autism FYI Org. and currently serves on the Board of Directors as well as Chief Operating Officer. An RN since 1975, she worked in several hospitals in the fields of Medicine, Paediatrics, and Emergency Medicine. She returned to school at Howard University in 1986 where she received honours in the Physician Assistants program in the College for Allied Health. As a Physician Assistant, she worked the Emergency Room at Laurel Hospital in Maryland, as well as Plastic Surgery with her husband James Benjamin MD. She served his practice as the Office manager, OR nurse, and Surgical Assistant in his private Surgery Center at Rivertown Surgery Center and later at Renew Plastic Surgery Center.
Joyce has two sons, now 25 and 26 years old, on the Autism Spectrum. It was her passion to find strategies to help them that instigated the start of her Alternative Medicine Practice with her husband. At this practice she served many children on the Autism Spectrum with therapies like Hyperbaric Oxygen, Chelation, Vitamin Therapy, and NAET Allergy treatments. She and her husband were certified DAN (Defeat Autism Now) practitioners for 12 years. As an RN, PA-C, and DAN Practitioner, she was honoured to serve as a speaker to numerous Autism Society Meetings as well as Aspergers’ Parents Group and Mothers of Multiples Meetings. Today, while assisting her husband in his practice, now known as Body By Benjamin, she works her passion at Autism FYI Organization to make the future better for her sons and those like them living with Autism.
Michelle Grimes, Director of Training, Retired PGCPD Sergeant
Michelle Grimes is a retired sergeant who served 23 years with the Prince George’s County Police Department. During her tenure, she dedicated a great deal of time to community service projects. She believes such activities are important in helping to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community it serves. Michelle knows how important it is for all people to feel safe and included in the communities in which they work, live and play.Michelle earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioural Science, a Master of Science Degree in Public Relations, and an MBA. She is excited to be able to use her education to serve the Autism FYI organization. We are excited she has become a Board member this year 2016.In her spare time, Michelle is an avid writer and photographer.
Member of Board of Directors – Autism FYI Organization
Lamont Easter is a television, film and commercial actor with appearances on shows such as House of Cards, HBO Veep, CBS Madame Secretary and in various national commercials such as GIECO, Coca cola, and Carmax to name a few. Lamont is also featured in numerous national and local print advertisements. Lamont is also an accomplished musician whose instrument of choice is the drums.
Furthermore, he is a dedicated philanthropist and tirelessly champion’s causes such as Autism research and empowerment, the fight against Cancer and advocacy supporting those afflicted with Childhood Cancer.
Dr. Teresa Trabue, PsyD
Member of Board of Directors – Autism FYI Organization
Teresa Trabue, Psy.D., is a Maryland licensed psychologist with clinical practice in Prince George’s County Maryland. Dr. Trabue has expertise in a diverse array of clinical issues including using a wide variety of psychological and neuropsychological techniques for determining learning style and learning needs, and diagnosing developmental disabilities, as well as treating children, adolescents and adults with a wide range of emotional and adjustment issues.
Dr. Trabue works with individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (such as Asperger’s Syndrome) directed toward increasing social awareness and prosocial behaviors. In addition to individual therapy with adults, Dr. Trabue offers: relationship therapy, parent training and small group work with women. Dr. Trabue facilitates psycho-educational seminars in the community to increase understanding of children with special needs. She works with corporations to provide counselling, seminars, and evaluations to employees to help them identify ways to optimize their performance in the work place. She also works with social service agencies and attorneys.
Board of Directors, Director of Events – Autism FYI Organization
Marie graduated from UMUC with a BS in Marketing. She currently works in the local sales office for a manufacturing company and resides in Pasadena MD. Marie has a long-standing presence in volunteerism, spending the last two decades in music ministry with a special focus on helping young people find their voice. One of the original team members for Daytime Stars and Strikes, a charity event featuring soap opera actors, Marie has enjoyed fostering the growth and promotion of this event which raises funds for The Autism Society of America. Having both family and friends in the autism community, Marie is thrilled to be part of the Autism FYI team and can be reached at email@example.com. We welcome Marie as an integral part of the Board of Directors.
Executive Administrator – Autism FYI Organization
Natasha has over two decades of experience in business administration. Prior to her migrating to the U.S, she was a senior accounts personnel and program administrator. Natasha provides administrative, personnel and customer service management to the operations of Autism FYI. Her strong organizational skills, combined with her warm demeanor makes everyone feel welcome at the office. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and loves traveling and reading.
Program Assistant – Autism FYI Organization
Bradford Benjamin is 31 years old. He is tall, strong, has a gentle spirit and big heart. At the age of 3 he was diagnosed with Autism at Kennedy Krieger Institute. He is now considered to be High Functioning on the Autism Spectrum. Graduating from Bowie High School in 2009, he worked for 1 year as a customer courtesy representative at Giant Food. MTV True Life Presents “The Benjamins” was aired in 2014 featuring Brad and Kenny navigating the many facets of adulthood on the Autism Spectrum. He is currently employed with Autism FYI Org. engraving, heat-pressing, creating ID cards, packaging, and shipping. He loves working on his computer, spending time with his brother Kenny, movies, comics, and Yu-Gi-Oh cards.
Program Assistant – Autism FYI Organization
Kenneth Benjamin is 29 years old. He is charming, intelligent, friendly and personable. Kenny was originally diagnosed with PDD-NOS until he was 8 years when the diagnosis was changed to Asperger’s Syndrome. It is considered High Functioning Autism. He graduated from Bowie High School in 2009. His exceptional skills in computer and keyboarding are all self-taught. He loves gaming, writing fan-fictions, digital image creation, and movies. Co-starring on MTV’s True Life Presents “The Benjamins” in 2014, he showed how challenging it is living life as an adult on the Autism Spectrum. He currently works at Autism FYI Org. running the engraving machine, creating graphic illustrations, ID cards, packaging and shipping.
District Manager -Virginia – Autism FYI Organization
LaShonia D. Richardson is an Environmental Protection Specialist in the Office of Pesticide Programs in the United States Environmental Protection Agency. She received her B. S. in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University where her thirst for knowledge and interest in the environment began. In her seventeen-year career at EPA, assessing the effects of pesticides on human health; many other interest evolved. LaShonia has played an integral role in the advancement and integration of Environmental Justice and Human Health. She has served several years as the Office Lead Environmental Justice Coordinator as well as the Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) Co-chair. Through the coordination of the Human Studies Review Board and the Scientific Advisory Panel meetings, LaShonia has fostered lasting networks in the scientific and environmentalist community creating a level playing field for confronting many important environmental/human health issues to promote Environmental Justice.
LaShonia’s future endeavors include researching the cumulative health effects of environmental chemical stressors. She would like to gain an understanding of the impact of environmental chemical stressors on physical and neurological development in children. While the exact causes of developmental disorders such as autism are not yet known, over 30 years of environmental health studies have supported a growing consensus that chemicals have a role in the incidence and prevalence of many developmental disorders. LaShonia would like to create an avenue for outreach to share this knowledge with families in communities that lack environmental education.
With a profound love for outreach and community involvement LaShonia has taken every opportunity to volunteer on and off the job. She has managed several office campaigns, Feds Feed Families, CFC Combined Federal Campaign, Toys for Tots, and Kaleidoscope Diversity Day to name a few. She also enjoys donating to local shelters and participating in “Relay for Life.”
In addition to her work, LaShonia enjoys playing women’s travel softball, cooking and line dancing. She is an enthusiastic Skins fan who becomes quite competitive during the season. Her love of adventure has taken her white water rafting, cliff diving, and parasailing, she plans to go on a shark feeding in the near future.