Board of Directors Spotlight: Get To Know Board Vice President Michael Ota, MA, BCBA, LBA

What is your connection to Autism?

Our son was diagnosed with autism at age 5. Because of that, I switched from a math teacher to a special education teacher and now behavior analyst helping teens and young adults transition into adulting. I was also diagnosed at age 3, but did not know until I found the report in files left by my parents. I was rediagnosed last year.

Why did you want to join the AST Board and how did you get involved?

AST helped us navigate the issues with special education for our son. We began volunteering as a family since then. I was nominated to be on the board and jumped at the chance to help the community and help the organization and board become more inclusive and diverse.

What do you like most about serving on the AST Board?

I like being able to share my perspective as a parent, self advocate and professional. I’m able to spur action and support from the board and AST based on issues I see autisitcs and their families having to navigate in the field–insurance, community supports, special education, and barriers by law.

We have a lot of work to do. Discrimination of ASD happens everyday and in ways we all are not aware of. I hope to continue the good fight as I serve on the board and elsewhere in the community.