Corner Pieces is a Michigan-based organization that was formed with help of family and friends by Ben and Tiffany Duff, the parents of a young autistic boy. When the Duffs received the heartbreaking diagnosis shortly before their son, Brian’s, second birthday in 2008, their intense efforts to improve the quality of his life led them to discover that Brian best responded to educational tools and applications on one of the most portable devices available today: the iPod Touch.
Through the establishment of Corner Pieces, the Duffs have made it their mission to provide iPods and iPads to autistic children and other youth in need who struggle with communication. The Duffs also seek to educate and inform the general public and other affected families about the causes, signs, and treatment of autism.
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. It effects every one in eighty-eight children in the United States.
Corner Pieces is proud member of the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA).
The mission of Corner Pieces is to improve the well being of children and families living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We strive to accomplish this goal by implementing the following objectives.
Autism has been a hotly debated topic on talk shows and in medical journals for the past several years. By raising autism awareness, Corner Pieces works to separate “fact from fiction” and answer the myriad of questions surrounding this mysterious disorder.
Many have said that “Education is the key to unlocking the mysteries of the autistic mind.” Corner Pieces believes that innovations in technology, coupled with core education, will greatly enhance the early diagnosis and treatment of autism. Corner Pieces advocates for the advancement of these critical components that will affect both the current and future generations of children who are at risk for developing autism.
Families of autistic children need not feel as if they are alone in their struggles. It is the mission of Corner Pieces to build a strong community base that offers families the support, encouragement and resources they need to effectively deal with the short and long-term challenges of autism.
Board of Directors
Corner Pieces is proud to have a dedicated and diverse Board of Directors.
- Mr. Benjamin Duff, President & ChairmanCurrently works for Christian Freedom International (CFI), an international advocacy, aid, and relief organization for minority Christians around the world. He handles various duties from fundraising, web and print development, and CFI’s microenterprise division. He has a strong background in sales and management. Ben is also the co-founder of Corner Pieces. As a father of an autistic child, Ben seeks to help other autistic children and families coping with the effects and stresses from autism. He and his wife also serve as parent representative on the EUP Great Start Collaborative Board.
- Mr. Jeremy LaValley, LLPCurrently a Limited License Psychologist (LLP) and a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy with a Specialist Degree in School Psychology. Jeremy pursued his Undergraduate studies at Rochester College, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He is currently working toward a Master of Arts in Counseling Degree at Spring Arbor University. Jeremy believes that education is the foundation upon which lives are built. He has dedicated his life to working with youth and has found that they must have a solid knowledge base in order to achieve their true potential.
- MI State Representative, Frank FosterCurrently the State Representative for Michigan’s 107th House District. In his capacity, Representative Foster represents the interests of all his constituents in Emmet, Mackinac, and Chippewa counties, as well as a portion of Cheboygan County. This includes oversight of the Department of Community Health, and various issues that affect the daily lives of autistic people in his district.
- Scott DraperScott joined Cornerpieces in 2012 after working with Ben and the team on the LightitBlue campaign for Autism Awareness day.Scott has enjoyed a 21-year career in higher education with a focus on college athletics. For 15 years Scott worked at the University of Michigan as the Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations and since February of 2011 has worked with Albion College as the Director of Development for Athletics.Scott has a passion for children and families as he has been of the steering committee for the Griese/Hutchinson/Woodson Charity weekend for Mott’s Children’s Hospital and serving on the board of Wolverine Human Services.
Scott has a BS in General Studies from Eastern Michigan University and a MSBA in Leadership Studies from Madonna University.
- Rachel DenisRachel Denis received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Northern Michigan University in the area of Communication Disorders in May of 1998 and her Masters of Arts degree from Michigan State University in the area of Audiology and Speech Sciences in May of 2000. Since that time, Rachel has worked as a Speech and Language Pathologist with her Certificate of Clinical Competency in several service settings. She has experience working with both pediatrics and adults in home-based settings, preschools, head starts, schools and hospital-based settings. Currently, Rachel provides services to children with special needs in an Early Childhood Special Education preschool program with a special focus on evidence-based practices for children with Autism. She is also able to complete swallowing evaluations, modified barium swallow studies, and Vitalstim therapy. Rachel remains active in the Michigan Speech-Hearing Association as an Advisory Assembly representative and the Northern Michigan Speech Leadership Group as a representative from the Eastern Upper Peninsula ISD. In her free time, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family; relaxing on the beach; reading; and cheering for the Green Bay Packers.
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