Board of Directors
Joyce Chicoine, M.S. Ed, Executive Director / teacher
Joyce is a co-founder of PEP and is a NY State certified reading and special education teacher. She has over 10 year of experience working with individuals from preschool age through adulthood. In addition, her son Joseph, who was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder at age 5, has benefitted from every approach described on this website. In May 2015, Joseph graduated from Albany Law School and plans to practice Disability Law.
Rose Miller, President
Rose is a co-founder of PEP and is the President of Pinnacle Human Resources, LLC in Albany, NY. She has a son, Max, who has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Rose serves on the boards of Northern Rivers Family & Child and Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce. Max received AIT treatments when he was 7 1/2 years old.
Maria Blanchard, Treasurer
Now semi-retired, Maria is a co-founder of PEP. Maria has been the Financial Director of Adventures in Food Trading since 2006. She also has a son who has been diagnosed with learning disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder and has received AIT treatments
Jason Kippen, Vice President in Charge of Government Relations
Jason works for the NY State Senate and has a child with a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Jason is the founder of a supported-employment agency called Spectrum Employment Services targeting unemployed individuals on the Spectrum.
Pamela Chris Howard, Secretary
Chris has degrees in speech pathology, education of the deaf, and communication disorders from Fredonia State, Smith College and The College of St. Rose. She has worked in public schools, early intervention, a hospital setting and private practice. Currently she is managing director of “Howard Inventions, Inc.”, a company whose mission is to improve the health and development of children.
Joe Chicoine at his graduation from Law School.
He passed the state Bar Exam on his first attempt!
History of People for Exceptional Progress
People for Exceptional Progress—the name and the mission—were inspired by the work of Annabel Stehli, author and founder of The Georgiana Institute. In 1995, Annabel’s first book, called Sound of a Miracle, was published. It was the true story of Annabel ‘s search for a cure for her daughter Georgie’s severe autism. Annabel found a life-changing miracle, in France, in the office of an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor Guy Bérard. It turned out that the main reason for Georgie’s autistic behaviors was severe hyper-acute hearing, and Dr. Bérard knew just what to do. He had spent decades developing a therapy that he called Auditory Integration Training (AIT), which he wrote about it his book called Hearing Equals Behavior.
After the publication of Sound of a Miracle, parents of other autistic children in the U.S. began contacting Annabel. That is what led her to form the Georgiana Institute. Eventually, Annabel managed to bring Dr. Bérard to the US to train AIT practitioners to carry on his work. She later edited two more books: Sound of Falling Snow: Stories of Recovery from Autism & Related Conditions and Dancing in the Rain: Stories of Exceptional Progress by Parents of Children with Special Needs. In the mid-1990’s she started a parent support group called Parents for Exceptional Progress.