Media Relations

Press Release:


FAU’s CARD Center Appoints Two Community Leaders
to Constituency Board

            BOCA RATON, FL (February 25, 2008) – The Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) has appointed community leaders Joseph Cardenas and Dennis Debbaudt to the center’s constituency board. Cardenas and Debbaudt are both fathers of children with autism and are active in a number of community organizations that focus on programs to help children with disabilities and their families.

“Cardenas is a caring and compassionate person who will offer honest advice in the best interest of persons with autism and their families,” said Ven Sequenzia, Jr., president of the Autism Society of Florida. “Debbaudt has done outstanding work in educating law enforcement personnel on effective interactions with persons with autism. I can think of no finer selections than these two men.”

            Cardenas is the regional president of Bank United in Florida and recently sponsored the inaugural FAU CARD Golf Tournament. He has been involved with helping FAU faculty and the Autism Society of Florida to advocate autism services for the FAU region, as well as the rest of Florida. Debbaudt is a law enforcement trainer and advocate of teaching police officers to understand how to work with those affected by autism and other disabilities. Since 1991, Debbaudt has written books, produced videos and made presentations about autism to law enforcement agencies in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.  

            The FAU CARD Center’s focus is to enhance the lives of individuals served by helping them become valued members of their communities, enabling them to learn, work, communicate and socialize.  The CARD offers supports within the natural contexts of homes, residences, child care programs, school and communities at no charge.   The CARD has recently adopted the slogan “Florida's First Choice for Autism Support” and has instituted a statewide CARD toll-free contact number at 1-800- 9 AUTISM.  

“We see many fundraising efforts at this time for autism research,” said Dr. Jack Scott, director of the Center. “However, the need now for direct help to families is immense and typically not very well funded.   Board members such as Joe Cardenas and Dennis Debbaudt are indispensible in helping us raise community awareness and support.”

            Florida Atlantic University is the home of the newest CARD within the state of Florida, which serves Palm Beach, Martin, St Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties with offices at FAU’s Boca Raton and Port St Lucie campus locations. Currently, the Center provides services to over 1,200 families of children with autism, as well as schools and community organizations that help persons with autism reach their full potential.   The program is funded by the Florida Department of Education. Visit or call the regional toll free number at 888-632-6395 for details.  

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