As the co-founders of a non-profit organization for families affected by autism, we recognize the need for families to get out into the community. As parents of children with autism we understand the challenges that families face and how it can be easier to stay at home sometimes. We listen to families everyday who share the same challenges as we do. After spending countless hours and financial resources on therapies and treatments for our children, we want them to be able to put to use the skills they have worked so hard to acquire. This means taking the therapies from the home, school and centers and utilizing them in the community in order to gain the skills necessary to function as independently as possible. In order to facilitate this transition, we have created a program to provide opportunities for families to be able to enjoy outings in an understanding environment. By bringing attention to autism and the needs of individuals and families, you can put some of the worries aside, and feel confident that you are a welcomed patron, who is valued and accepted. As you know, autism is an invisible disorder, which poses a challenge as individuals may not be recognized as such. We in order to bridge this gap, we have created a brand of identification that will spread a positive message while alerting others to your hidden disability. The AOK logo will be recognized by staff at all Autism Friendly Locations.
Jennifer and her husband John are the parents of two beautiful, active children, Josh and Reagan. When Josh was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, it became Jennifer's passion to help families affected by neurological disorders and to keep children safe.
She currently serves Tulsa Area SafeKids Coalition as a parent advocate, spokesperson, and chairman of the Special Needs committee; and as a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Jennifer is also a former member of the Saint Francis Family Advisory Council and Family Advisory Board for the National SafeKids Coalition in Washington D.C.
Jennifer is co-founder and resource director of Autism Center of Tulsa, a non-profit organization. She oversees business and financial management, including fundraising, grant writing, and special events. She directs safety program initiatives; and works closely with the Program Director to create, develop, and implement autism pilot programs. She has a degree in health promotion from Oklahoma State University.
Michelle and Brian Wilkerson are the proud parents of Austin and Ella. At age 2 1/2, Austin was diagnosed with autism. Right away, Michelle and Brian enrolled him in early intervention programs and involved their whole family in early education programs for parents and siblings of children with autism.
Michelle is a member of Leadership Tulsa and served on the board of Town and Country school. She directed the TOPSoccer disabled soccer program for ten seasons while serving on the board of Metro Tulsa Soccer Club. She has also served on the Community Service Council Autism Task Force and Early Intervention Task Force, Oklahoma Combating Autism Leadership Team. She and Jennifer were named to Tulsa People magazine's "40 Under 40 Movers and Shapers" in 2007. They both serve on the Oklahoma Family Interagency Autism Council.
As co-founder and program director of Autism Center of Tulsa, Michelle is responsible for program development and implementation as well as planning workshops and events. She works closely with community partners such as police departments, YMCA, libraries, sports franchises, movie theaters and others to bridge the gap between families affected by autism and opportunities for success and independence in the community. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a degree in psychology.