About Us

RRVAN is a hub of support and information for those in our area affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We are a non-profit organization spreading the word about ASD, promoting tolerance of neurodiversity and helping those with ASD succeed. Although RRVAN is aimed primarily at the Fargo-Moorhead area, we strive to serve all those in the Red River Valley and welcome inquiries from the entire region.

We currently manage support groups, provide a speaker’s bureau, maintain a website with community resource information, and support community recreational opportunities.

RRVAN is committed to raising awareness within our educational, medical and first responder communities about ASD by distributing information, facilitating educational opportunities and advocating on the behalf of individuals with ASD and their families.

RRVAN supports legislation to ban isolation and restraint in schools.

The group was established on January 19, 2007 as Red River Valley Asperger Network. We received our 501(C)(3) status October 31, 2007. The name was expanded to Red River Valley Asperger-Autism Network in 2010 to demonstrate our interest in serving all people on the autism spectrum.

OUR MISSION

Red River Valley Asperger-Autism Network’s mission is to educate about, advocate for, empower and support individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), their families and the community.

HISTORY

In May 2006, after discussion within the Tuesday’s Child Asperger Support Group, Red River Valley Asperger-Autism Network (RRVAN) was founded by families, counselors, adults with autism (ASD) and others living or working with individuals with ASD. After a presentation in mid-May 2006 at the North Dakota Mental Health Symposium in Mandan, the audience suggested that we continue to “spread the word” about Asperger Syndrome. The mutual interests of several group members, the inspiration provided by our professional advisor Dr. Barbara Stanton, and the encouragement from people who heard our panel presentation all aligned and resulted in the formation of the network. Thirteen people were founding members: Dr. Barbara Stanton, Kay Farris, Sharon Solum, Murray Nelsen, Madonna Nelsen, Kris Wallman, Ruth Lewis, Becky Borg, Dustin Bjugstad, Kate Bringe, Sheryl Weeks, Pam Triebold, and Sue Amicucci.

Our mission statement was written and a website started. In June 2006, the discussion turned to becoming a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. We worked closely with Mark and Jocelyn Sloan as they developed the North Dakota chapter of the Autism Society of America. Many of the group members became charter members of the ND ASA chapter.

 

The group had been working on creating a video for presentations at community events and for informational presentations. In September 2006 it was decided we would develop a speaker’s bureau. That same month our first presentation was given to the Fargo School District special education staff. Dr.  Stanton talked with the Fargo Police Department about establishing a data base of people on the autism spectrum. Additional presentations were scheduled and plans made for hosting training and additional speakers. The website was receiving 450 hits a day. In November 2006, after receiving a $400 fee for giving a presentation, the group discussed formalizing the group and identifying a board of directors.

The group was established on January 19, 2007 as Red River Valley Asperger Network. Members of the board of directors at that time were: Dr. Barbara Stanton, Kay Farris, Sharon Solum, Murray Nelsen, Madonna Nelsen, Kris Wallman, Ruth Lewis, Becky Borg, Dustin Bjugstad, Kate Bringe, Sheryl Weeks, Pam Triebold, and Mark Sloan

We received our 501(C)(3) status October 31, 2007. The name was expanded to Red River Valley Asperger-Autism Network in 2010 to demonstrate our interest in serving all people on the autism spectrum.

 

 

TESTIMONIALS

RRVAN ASD BILL OF RIGHTS AND VALUES STATEMENT

People with autism spectrum disorder have the right to:

  1. Coordinated, accurate, and appropriate assessment and diagnostic services leading to effective interventions and services to improve quality of life.
  2. A free, appropriate, public education focused on reaching the individual’s maximum potential and involving him/her in the decision-making process to the fullest possible extent.
  3. Coordinated and appropriate early intervention, medical, program, support, transition, and vocational services that capitalize on the individual’s strength and support happiness and well-being.
  4. Opportunities for full community inclusion and freedom from discrimination.
  5. Sensory-safe environments and opportunities for choice in regulating one’s sensory system.
  6. Be accepted without belittling, judgment, criticism, assumptions, exasperation, impatience, intolerance, or annoyance.
  7. Be listened to and understood through flexible means of communication that feel natural and safe.
  8. Choice in what level of physical contact is comfortable.
  9. Choice in what level of social contact is comfortable.
  10. Contribute to society through their strengths, engagement in meaningful work, reasonable accommodations, and inclusive opportunities.

    The work of RRVAN will be guided and formed by our beliefs and commitments to:

    • Quality of education, advocacy, and support for individuals with ASD.
    • Inclusivity in our outreach to individuals with ASD, families, service providers, educators, and the community.
    • Acceptance of each individual’s strengths, needs, and passions.
    • Altruism from our kind-hearted, philanthropic volunteers and benefactors.
    • Empowerment of individuals with ASD and their families.

    BOARD OF DIRECTORS

    Chelle LeMier

    PRESIDENT

    Mary Lou Dahms

    VICE PRESIDENT

    Blake Plankers

    SECRETARY

    Meg Schulstad

    TREASURER

    Eric Wagner

    MEMBER AT LARGE

    Cortnee Jensen

    MEMBER AT LARGE

    Cassie Ramos

    MEMBER AT LARGE

    Trisha Page

    MEMBER AT LARGE

    Erin Borden

    MEMBER AT LARGE

    Dr. Barbara Stanton

    EMERITUS

    CONSULTANTS TO THE BOARD

    Dow Rieder

    Consultant
    (Adult with ASD)

    Matthew Hoffelt

    Consultant
    (Adult with ASD)

    John Fode

    Speakers Bureau, video editor
    (Adult with ASD)

    Kate Bringe

    Founding Member, Consultant and Speakers Bureau
    (Adult with ASD)

    Amalia LeMier

    Consultant
    (Adult with ASD)

    CONTACT US

    STAY CONNECTED

    By Mail:
    RRVAN
    PO Box 2932
    Fargo, ND 58108

    By Phone: (701) 566-1675
    By email: rrvanndmn@gmail.com