• Advisory Board

  • Diane Adreon, Ed.D.

    Advisory Board Member

    Dr. Diane Adreon has worked in the field of autism since 1981 and has served as associate director of UM-NSU CARD since 1993.


    Dr. Adreon is an author of three books on high-functioning autism spectrum disorder, These include Special Considerations for Students with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder - A Guide for School Administrators, Simple Strategies that Work! Helpful Hints for All Educators of Students with Asperger Syndrome, High-Functioning Autism & Related Disabilities, and Asperger Syndrome & Adolescence: Practical Solutions for School Success (Winner of the Autism Society of America Outstanding Literary Award). She is also on the editorial boards of Focus on Autism & Other Developmental Disorders & Intervention in School & Clinic.

  • Jannette Montenegro

    Advisory Board Member

    Jannette Montenegro has been a formidable contributor to the South Florida Community for over two decades. She has extensive experience in managing and guiding profit and not-for-profit organizations to accomplish their missions. As the Vice President of Community Outreach at the Patino Law Firm for the past 20 years, she has served as the liaison with the Miami-Dade Teen Court, the Miami-Dade College Single Stop (fundraising and mentoring homeless and underserved students), and with the GRACE Court (Miami Dade human trafficking court).


    Ms. Montenegro was also instrumental in developing the Patino Law Firm's Law Academy at the Alonzo-Tracy Mourning High School, which she continues to direct and influence through mentorship. Ms. Montenegro has been an established supporter of The Social Cog since its inception in 2012, and has formally joined the Board of Directors this year. 

  • Joni D. Blachar

    Advisory Board Member

    Joni D. Blachar is the proud Mom of 3 adult young men. Her oldest son, Billy, has been a member of The Social Cog since it’s inception, and she is very honored to now be on it’s Advisory Board. She earned her BBA, cum laude, at the University of Miami and her Juris Doctor at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law. At the beginning of her career, she was an Assistant State Attorney under the direction of Janet Reno.


    Joni was the Assistant Mayor of Bal Harbour Village and on the Board of Directors of the Miami-Dade County League of Cities from 2009-2014. She spearheaded a partnership with MDCLC with Best Buddies International to find employment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and received the Zev Auerbach Community Service Award for this work. She previously served on the Dade-Miami Criminal Justice Council and was a participant in the Good Government Initiative program led by Katy Sorenson. Presently, she is serving as Bal Harbour Village’s Special Master. She currently works at her Husband Leo’s Gynecological Office and together they enjoy cooking and bike riding.

  • Samantha Carella, PsyD, ABPP-CC

    Advisory Board Member

    Dr. Samantha Carella is a Board Certified Child and Adolescent (ABPP) Psychologist. She is licensed and has been practicing psychology since 1993, and is a co-owner of Pediatric Psychology Associates. She currently provides psychotherapy and family counseling for emotional, developmental and behavioral related issues, with a specialty in the assessment and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders.


    Dr. Carella is on staff at Miami Children’s Hospital and completed her doctoral internship there. In addition, she was an Adjunct Faculty member at Florida Atlantic University in the Division of Psychology from 1998-2005. She is a member of the Dade, Florida and American Psychological Associations and a Fellow in the American Academy of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.                          


    In 2008, Dr. Carella was the President of the Dade-Monroe chapter of the Florida Psychological Association and the recipient of the Outstanding Child and Adolescent Award in 2008. Dr. Carella was the 2013 and 2014 President of the Child, Adolescent and Family Division of the Florida Psychological Association.


    She works closely with public and private schools and has presented on a number of topics locally and at state conferences on topics involving Autism Spectrum Disorders, learning disabilities, behavioral medicine, and pediatric psychology. In January 2017, Dr. Carella was an award recipient for Outstanding Contribution to the Florida Psychological Association.

  • Sandy Tavlin Rizzo, Ph.D.

    Advisory Board Member

    Dr. Sandy Tavlin Rizzo is in private practice, Customized Interventions, in South Florida where she specializes in working with individuals with Developmental Disabilities, learning disabilities, ADHD and a variety of learning challenges. She tailors each person’s program to his or her specific needs while working closely with the other professionals involved in the individual’s care. As an Educational Consultant, Dr. Rizzo delivers therapeutic, specialized interventions as well as advocates for children at Individualized Educational Programming (IEP) meetings and conducts academic consultations with the families. 


    Dr. Rizzo received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida; Master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University; and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from Barry University. She has been working with the special needs community for the past three decades. Before starting her private practice, Dr. Rizzo worked as the Director of Educational Services in a comprehensive psychology practice, customizing educational interventions and supervising the education department. She also worked at Miami Children’s Hospital’s Dan Marino Center as the Coordinator of Special Education where she was responsible for all special education programming, as well as summer camp programs for children with special needs. 


    Dr. Rizzo has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Barry University teaching undergraduate as well as graduate level courses. In addition to her career in education, she has also published a curriculum in conflict resolution, Peace Making Skills for Little Kids, Grade One.


    For many years, Dr. Rizzo had been a member of Florida’s Voice on Developmental Disabilities (FVDD), a statewide advocacy and networking organization which is an independent voice for individuals with Developmental Disabilities. She served on the FVDD Board of Directors as Secretary for three years and President for one year. Dr. Rizzo also served on the Board of Directors for Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options (JAFCO)’s Weston/West Broward Chapter for several years. In addition, she was a member of JAFCO’s Developmental Disabilities Advisory Sub Committee playing an integral part of launching the Children’s Ability Center. Dr. Rizzo is honored to be joining The Social Cogs Advisory Board.

  • Joshua Davis

    Advisory Board Member

    Josh is the first Member of The Social Cog to join our Advisory Board. He was the inspiration for the creation of The Social Cog and our very first Member. When the program began in 2012 he had very few friends or social opportunities despite being an extremely social guy who loves being with people. In the 9 years since, Josh has absolutely flourished.


    Josh has developed longstanding friendships with many of our other Members that he maintains to this day. He routinely organizes get-togethers with his friends and has even set up multiple road trips with them to go out of town for concerts and to attend the annual CARD conference in Orlando and Tampa. He has worked for The Miami Heat in their mailroom for a number of years  (which is perfect because he’s a HUGE Heat fan!) and attributes much of the confidence and success he has in his work and social life to the people he’s been able to meet and the skills he’s learned through being a Member in The Social Cog. And while we’ve watched Josh grow and learn, he’s also been an invaluable asset to The Social Cog, offering guidance and wisdom from the perspective of a Member that has helped us shape and improve the program over the years. 


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