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"This service should allow families who might otherwise be reluctant to travel with a challenging child to do so without concern for that child's behavior during the trip, and with the knowledge that they and their child will receive the specialized attention needed to make this trip as easy as possible".

Margaret L. Bauman, M.D.
Associate Professor of Neurology
Harvard Medical School
Director of LADDERS

Board Members

Dr. Paul Abend, D.O.
Dr Abend, a Physiatrist, owns Consultants in Rehabilitation Medicine, a private medical practice in NJ. He is the Medical Director of Inpatient and Outpatient Rehabilitation Services at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Rahway and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Kessler Institute, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Abend is the co-founder of Autism Escapes and is a co-founder of Mt Bethel Village, an assisted living residence for adults with autism. Along with his daughter, Alexandra, he created Sports Clinics for Children with Special Needs . This program was the recipient of the NJ Governor’s Annual Developmental Disability’s highest Award in 2006. He has created after school programs for children with special needs and has developed an autism medical training program for Family Practice residents at UMDNJ- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Lori Brand-Abend, M.D.
Dr Brand-Abend is a Diagnostic Radiologist in private practice in NJ. She holds staff positions at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and St Peters University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. She is the co-founder of Autism Escapes and is a co-founder and board member of Mt Bethel Village, an assisted living residence for adults with autism. Lori is the proud mother of three children. Her youngest son, Michael suffers from autism and severe gastrointestinal issues. He was the inspiration for the creation of Autism Escapes.

Toni R Drummond
Mrs. Drummond is the President of EmreAir Solutions, a Private Jet Charter and Consulting firm in New Jersey. She has worked in the private aviation sector for over 14 years and is happy to lend her expertise in private travel to this cause. Toni currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and 2 children.

Dirk J. Vander Sterre
Dirk is a lifetime resident of Morris County, and is an owner and managing partner of MMUFTC, a private aircraft terminal with office building located at the Morristown Municipal Airport grounds. Following four generations of real estate developers, Dirk continued the family tradition by learning with on-the-job training which has now evolved to include real estate/property management. Following his education at Bryant College, and thereafter FDU Madison, Dirk began creating his own signature in the family business. In his short adult life, Dirk has already amassed a large network of both professional and personal contacts, and his practical skills and marketable experience made him a likely person to tap for involvement in Autism Escapes.

His daily commitment these days is to the efficient management of an FBO private aircraft terminal, the 16,000 s.f. office facility, aviation fuel services, and the 13 individual corporate jet hangars he developed. He also presides over the Commercial Division of the family business. Dirk’s goal is to have a meaningful impact on the Autism Escapes organization not only by fundraising, but by using his familiarity with the Aviation industry to target and heighten awareness of this important cause.