About

The Northwest Indiana Chapter of the National Autism Association is dedicated to bringing hope, support and information to all families in Lake and Porter Counties affected by Autism. Our Mission is:

  1. To raise public and professional awareness of autism spectrum disorders
  2. To further the advancement of preventative studies, therapy, and research of individuals with autism
  3. To advocate on behalf of those who cannot fight for their own rights
  4. To empower those in the autism community to never give up in their search to help their loved ones reach their full potential
  5. To work in partnership with other organizations dedicated to breaking down the barriers currently standing against those with autism and related disorders
  6. To solicit and receive funds to accomplish the above purpose

Board of Directors

Maria Janik – President
Maria is the proud mother of Nathan and Joshua. Nathan and Joshua were diagnosed with severe autism in May 2006 at the ages of five and three. After much research and testing, Maria began biomedical interventions in April 2006 to reverse their children’s vaccine induced autism and improvements are still being seen.

While gathering information on causation and treatment options, Maria began a campaign to educate as many families as possible about environmental triggers, and alternative medical therapies which can be used in conjunction with traditional therapy. She Co-Founded Indiana Biomedical Kids with Lisa Fox and Natalie Schwemlein so parents of children on the Spectrum, and those diagnosed with other behavior disorders or developmental delays, would have a helpful resource online to find out about Defeat Autism Now! doctors, testing, treatments, and to share personal experiences.

Maria is excited to add Board Member of the NAA-NWI to her resume. Her goal is to continue to educate the community and to help other parents find the right treatment and therapies to improve the quality of life of their precious children. She is a research junkie and she subscribes to various science magazines so she can spot future treatment options and make connections to other health related illnesses.

Maria and her family live in Griffith, love to read, and is still saving for Nathan and Joshua to go to college.

Caroline Davidson – Vice President
Our journey began in ’07 when my son Demitri was diagnosed with severe autism at the age of 3.  As an older, single mom responsible for a teenager and a baby, in addition to Demitri, the diagnosis felt like someone slapped me to the ground.  Fortunately we were able to get Demitri into a wonderful ABA (behavior therapy) program and special ed preschool, which benefited him immediately.  A family member gave me a copy of Jenny McCarthy’s book, “Louder Than Words”, which showed me that there was more I could be doing to improve my son’s outlook.  I started him on the basic supplements and saw improvements within months.   When we took the leap and went to a DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctor, labs showed my son to be severely lead poisoned (in addition to gut issues)!  Demitri was totally non-verbal before biomed treatments but after just one round of chelation, his limited random words, turned into actual speech!  He continues to have significant gains in receptive language, eye contact, and overall cognition as well.   Less than a year later, Demitri is relating to others appropriately and actually initiating affection – a mother’s dream!  Although no longer in his ‘bubble’, Demitri has a long way to go.  Thanks to supportive friends and family, (including my wonderful ‘family’ here at our local chapter of NAA!!) we have an abundance of a very important thing: HOPE!  I am proud and humbled to be this year’s V.P. of NWI-NAA, where our aim is to help other affected families, especially in our own community.   Autism IS treatable!  Join us, hear our children’s stories and know that you are not alone!

Cary is a graduate of Purdue Calumet, bachelor’s degree in Developmental Psychology and studied special education protocol in a Master’s program at IUN.  She lives in Whiting, Indiana with her parents and three sons.  Cary is self-employed, with a house cleaning/interior painting business.

Becky Forbes – Secretary
Hello I am Becky Forbes.  My son Scott was diagnosed autistic in October 2009 at the age of 3.  After the shock was over, my husband Jack and myself starting looking for was to better our son’s life.  Scott having a limited vocabulary and many sensory problems.  I hit the internet in my spare time.  I came across the NAA.  They have been a wonderful support for my family and have helped us find many more options to help Scott.  Scott now being almost 5 has his vocabulary well over tripled and meltdowns have decreased.  I am very happy that we went on the GFCF diet (allergy later came back showing an allergy!) and found a wonderful DAN doctor and OT.

We currently live in Valparaiso and we love going on family outings.  Scott has been learning to swim, fish, and be daddy’s little helper.  I  know with the support of everyone at the NAA and my family and friends  life has already become more enjoyable for all in my household.

Dennis Anders – Treasurer
Hi! I’m Dennis Anders. My wife, Shelley, and I have a daughter named Hannah. Hannah was diagnosed with PDD NOS in November 2006 while at the same time we were moving back to Indiana from Pennsylvania. Since we were moving and had decided to build a new house, we decided to make our new home a “greener” one. If anyone needs some advise on how to make your home environment safer and less toxic, we would be happy to share. Once we got settled, we started a biomedical treatment program with a DAN doctor. We first saw our DAN doctor in June 2007 and have seen nothing short of amazing progress with our daughter. Hannah continues to grow socially, emotional, cognitively, and most importantly, in May 2008, Hannah began talking!!! It is awesome to hear Hannah say “Mommy” and “Daddy” all the time. We are making great progress at recovering our child. In our journey, we have done biomedical treatments, the GFCF diet, supplements, hyperbaric chamber (HBOT), speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and, to assist in speech, we are doing acupuncture of the tongue (no needles just a red laser that doesn’t hurt).

We reside in Valparaiso. We like going to movies, and Hannah loves playing on the playground equipment. We are happy to be members of the NAA, where we have received tons of support and encouragement from others going through similar experiences. We are happy to offer support back to anyone who may need it. Call and ask anytime!