AASC strives to help children with autism acquire the skills necessary to become fully capable members of their communities, ultimately able to prosper without the need for intensive intervention. Our vision is to be a model organization for individualized programs that can be replicated to serve a growing need.
Our team of highly qualified professionals is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families struggling with Autism and related disorders. We provide one-on-one and small group ABA therapy for children and adolescents age 2-21 in a center-based setting. In addition, AASC offers parent training, school consultation, social skills groups, and summer camps.
The Autism Academy of South Carolina was founded in 2010 by a group of concerned parents of children with autism and youth development professionals as a response to the rapidly growing need for resources and support to families of children diagnosed with ASD.
AASC was born out of a vision to enhance the therapy options and resources for families of children diagnosed with ASD. After searching the country in 2009 for “best practice” models, the founders, Lorri and Dan Unumb, decided to make it their mission to create a behavioral therapy center that utilized the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis to provide exceptional services for children and serve as a community resource for those impacted by autism.
Our Founders, Dan and Lorri Unumb, are parents of a son with autism. Lorri’s passion to help South Carolina families who didn’t have the means to give their children autism treatment led her to author an insurance bill in 2005. The bill would require insurers to cover evidence-based treatment of autism, including ABA.
The South Carolina General Assembly passed the bill known as “Ryan’s Law” in June 2007. Ryan’s Law served as the catalyst for a national movement toward autism insurance reform. In 2010, Lorri & Dan joined forces with a group of concerned parents of children with autism and youth development professionals to found the Autism Academy of South Carolina.
Following the passage of Ryan’s Law, Lorri Unumb joined Autism Speaks and now serves as the Vice President for State Government Affairs. In this role, she travels extensively and tirelessly with the continued drive to pass autism mandates in other states. Her passion and dedication have helped more than 35 states pass similar laws in the years since Ryan’s Law. Dan Unumb serves as the Executive Director of the Autism Legal Resource Center, which helps develop and protect the legal rights of people with autism.
Board of Directors
Our Leadership Team
Mike is a graduate of The Citadel and a member of the inaugural graduating class at the Charleston School of Law. Mike served for four years as White House Liaison at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where he advised the Secretary of Health and Human Services on management, personnel, and intergovernmental and public engagement issues. From 2013 to 2014, he was Chief of Staff at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a $50 billion, 1,500-employee social services agency within HHS responsible for federal programs promoting early childhood education, child development, child welfare, and human trafficking prevention, among others. He has served in leadership roles on legislative and electoral campaigns across the South, including as an advisor to the grassroots legislative effort that led to the passage of Ryan’s Law, a landmark bill mandating insurance coverage for South Carolina children with autism. He is the proud sibling of an adult sister with special needs.
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Kristen was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, MA. After graduating with a degree in Sociology from Salem State University in 2010, Kristen began her work in Applied Behavior Analysis as a behavior therapist in early intervention at Beacon ABA Services. While pursuing her Masters degree in Special Education at Cambridge College in Cambridge, MA, Kristen taught in a substantially separate ABA pre-k/Kindergarten classroom from 2011-2013. Kristen received her CAGS (Certificate of Advance Graduate Studies) in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Massachusetts – Boston/Melmark. Kristen worked as a behavior specialist at the Northeast Arc in Danvers, MA from 2013-2015, overseeing in-home ABA therapy cases for clients 3-9 years old. Following a nationwide search, Kristen was hired by the Autism Academy of South Carolina as the Director of Professional Development and moved to Columbia in 2015. She was promoted to Director of ABA Services in 2016. Kristen loves helping kids with autism progress to their highest potential.
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Matt graduated from Appalachian State University in 2005 with a degree in Recreation Management. He developed an interest in special needs education while at the Crested Butte Adaptive Sports Center, an experiential education program in Colorado, where he taught outdoor sports like snowboarding and rafting to people with intellectual and physical disabilities including autism. He returned to North Carolina and earned his special education teaching certificate. Matt began working as a special education teacher in public schools in 2001, eventually moving to Lexington, SC where he started the ABA program in Lexington School District 1. From 2001 – 2010 he taught self-contained special ed classes in public schools while earning his Master’s Degree and Board Certification in Behavior Analysis. In 2011, Matt was hired as the AASC’s first employee, serving as Clinical Director until 2016. In mid-2016, Matt took on a new role as AASC’s Director of Clinical Outreach & Community Support, providing supervision to BCBA candidates across South Carolina and coordinating AASC’s external clinical programs and relations with school districts.
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Dr. Randel received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University with a focus on working with children with autism and ADHD. Her first year practicum was in an ADHD assessment and treatment clinic where she became proficient in parent training, ADHD assessment, and behavioral therapy. Her subsequent practicum experiences were in an outpatient autism treatment and assessment clinic as well as in an ABA severe behavior disorders clinic. Dr. Randel was the clinical coordinator of the ABA severe behaviors disorders clinic before her internship in the Multidisciplinary Center at FSU. While at FSU she worked in both an ADHD and autism assessment clinic as well as in several schools doing therapy and assessment. She completed her postdoctoral work at the University of South Carolina, doing research in physical activity and social skills for kids with autism, and at a private practice in the area. She became the Autism Academy’s Director of Psychology Services in January 2016, overseeing four programs: Social Skills Groups; Individual and Family Therapy; ADHD and Autism Assessment and Testing; and Camp MATES, a sports, social skills, and nutrition camp for kids with social skills deficits. Dr. Randel is an adjunct faculty member in School of Psychology at USC and supervises doctoral students for their clinical hours. Dr. Randel is very passionate about her role at the Autism Academy and is excited about the services that we are bringing to the Midlands!
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After graduating from Wofford College with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in religion, Chris moved to Louisville, KY to pursue an M.S. in ABA at Spalding University. His practicum experience includes the Bluegrass Center for Autism (lower campus for children under the age of 13), Bluegrass Center for Autism (Upper Campus for children ages 13yrs-21yrs), Applied Behavioral Advancements (an ABA consulting firm), and Our Lady of Peace Hospital (a psychiatric hospital with a behavioral focus). Chris has a passion for learning and helping all people to reach their full potential. Chris’ professional memberships include the Association of Behavior Analysis International, the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, the South Carolina Association for Behavior Analysis, and the Kentucky Association for Behavior Analysis.
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Shanna is a graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. Motivated by her passion for serving people, Shanna she served three years with AmeriCorps, the domestic version of the Peace Corps. Through this experience, she realized her passion for working with non-profit organizations and decided to use her business experience to help nonprofits achieve their mission. After serving with AmeriCorps, she joined the staff at City Year Columbia, an AmeriCorps program with a mission to lower the high school dropout rates across the nation. Shanna served on staff as the Deputy Director of City Year for 7 years. She joined the Autism Academy of South Carolina in May 2013 as Business Manager where she oversees finance, medical billing, human resources, and daily operations.
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