Board Members

We would not be able to make our mission possible without the hard work put in by our dedicated board members. Autism Awareness Shop owes its success to each and every person on our board. You can learn more about the team that is making our mission turn into a reality below!

Jenifer Band COTA/L | President

Jenifer created Autism Awareness Shop, along with her husband Scott Band, in order to increase autism awareness and acceptance, as well as establish employment for their son, who was diagnosed with ASD in 1999 at the age of 2. Jenifer has been providing Occupational Therapy services to individuals with autism since 2004 in both school and private clinical settings, as well as serving as an instructor for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Keiser University in Pembroke Pines, Florida for almost 2 years. The need for a comprehensive adult vocational training program that offers on the job training, with fading supports in place, is a venture she feels very passionately about both personally and professionally!



Scott Band | Director of Online Operations 

Hi, my name is Scott Band and I am the Director of online operations at the Autism Acceptance Center. I am also an adult with autism. Self diagnosed it was such a relief to find out what was making me different all these years. In grade school I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD but I always thought it was more than that. I have said to Jen many times “if I were growing up today I am sure I would be diagnosed with Autism”. Autism does not go away, if you are a child with Autism you will grow up to be an adult with Autism. I have what used to be called Asperger’s, now known as high functioning Autism. Even though I am high functioning I still have challenges of Autism:
-I have meltdowns. I usually mask them very well
-I have sensory issues. A tag on a shirt that itches……..not just uncomfortable but it drives me crazy
-I have had MANY jobs and have trouble keeping a job
-When you ask me a question I need time to process my answer. If you have spoken to me in person I am sure you have heard me say “let me think about it and get back to you”.
-Avoiding eye contact
-Talking over people. If you have ever had a conversation with me, I’m sure I have talked over you……..sorry
-Noticing small details, patterns, smells or sounds that others do not. Mostly sounds, I had no idea other people didn’t hear what I did. I thought everyone heard it but was just able to deal with it.




Nicole Maitre OTD/L| Secretary 

Dr. Nikki Maitre started her career in OT as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, having graduated from
Keiser’s Melbourne campus in 2007. Developing a passion for education during her time in the program
and during clinical work, she then completed a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences in 2009. After
working for several years in varied adult rehabilitation settings, she began working at Keiser University
Tampa in 2014 as program faculty. She continued her education as a member of the first cohort for
Keiser University’s Master’s in Occupational Therapy program and graduated in 2017. In 2019, she
graduated with her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy with a focus on Educational Leadership. In
January of 2021, after 7 years with Keiser University as faculty, she became the OTA Program Director at
the Tampa Campus. She has assisted with the clinical therapy program and has aided in the
development of a level II fieldwork site for OTA students to gain knowledge, experience, and passion in
serving the populations at Autism Acceptance Center.



Ryan Schott

I am Ryan. I am an autistic adult. I am on the Board of Directors here. I look forward to making a difference.






Tyler Russo MS

Tyler is a full time Doctor of Occupational Therapy Student with a passion for the autism community. Tyler graduated from the University of Tampa with a Masters in Exercise and Nutrition. Not only is he a board member, but he is a part of the administrative team that helps fulfill the mission of Autism Acceptance Center on a daily basis. Tyler started out with the company as a volunteer back in May of 2020 and officially became a part of the team in October of 2020. Tyler’s favorite thing about Autism Acceptance Center is the family-like atmosphere that is created between staff and clients and the love that everyone has for each other to help out such a community in need.




Janet Atkinson 

Janet is the mother of Taylor, an adult with special, medical and learning needs and has hosted several foreign exchange students. Janet was the director of family support and outreach services for Infant and Young Children of west central Florida inc. and has served as the vice president of the superintendent’s exceptional student education advisory committee for Hillsborough County schools for 3 years. Janet is an advocate, a trainer, and has a passion for enhancing family involvement in programs. She has organized support groups for parents and had a large special needs ministry through her church that included a weekly adapted basketball session across the age span for persons with special needs. Janet has trained many faith communities on how to include children, youth, and adults into worship. Jant has been a key participant in the coordination of the annual state early intervention conference. She served as a family resource specialist for the bay area early steps for 16 years. Janet is excited to make a difference in her role as a director for AAC.