About Embracing Autism

Embracing Autism was founded in 2011 to help families in Central Ohio support children and adults with autism. We believe that training specific to autism is essential in creating a solid and long-lasting foundation for individuals with this developmental disability. Embracing Autism caregivers are professionally certified through a PATHS (Professional Advancement through Training & Education in Human Services) multi-level program so each employee is educated in providing top-quality support.

Our Team

David Rastoka, President/Owner

Dave Rastoka has over 30 years of experience in working with people with disabilities. Throughout those years, his roles have included being a Quality Assurance Specialist, Home Manager, Job Coach, Executive Director and Regional Director.

Dave pushes himself to make his life extraordinary by pursuing his goals both personally and professionally. When Dave isn’t working to serve individuals and families through his career, he is busy writing children’s books, delivering motivational speaking, and serving on various boards.

"There are two types of people in life- spectators and participants. We need to push ourselves to participate in everything life has to offer. Sitting on the sidelines watching the game of life is not an option!"

Anthony Galyon

Anthony Galyon, Director of Residential Services

Anthony Galyon has worked in the field of developmental disabilities for the past seven years. He attended Southern State Community College and graduated with an Associates Degree in Human and Social Services. Currently, Anthony attends Mount Vernon Nazarene University and will earn his BSW in the spring of 2017.

Anthony has been with Embracing Autism since September of 2014. He began his journey with Embracing Autism working as a direct care professional and quickly moved through various roles of leadership including being a Team Lead and Case Manager. In 2007 Anthony began working in the field of developmental disabilities by volunteering his time with New Hope Industries in Mount Vernon, OH. After moving to Fayette County, Ohio, he began working as a Direct Care worker with Frontier Community Services. Anthony also has experience in mental health from working as a shift supervisor at The Ranch of Opportunity, a residential treatment facility for adolescent girls. He has also worked with Higher Ground Counseling conducting domestic violence groups and working with Alcohol and Other Drug disorders.

Anthony Galyon

Karrie Rios, Case Manager

Karrie Rios is a Case Manager for Embracing Autism in Columbus, OH. She is a mother of two who grew up mainly on the west coast, but recently moved to Ohio.

Though new to Ohio, Karrie is no stranger to the DD field; she has been a part of it for nearly 13yrs. Karrie’s first true experiences working with the DD population started in 2003 working for GICW (Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette). Karrie worked as a job coach her first year and then was promoted to Case Manager. As a Job Coach, Karrie worked side-by-side supporting individuals to meet their objectives; now as a Case Manager, she continued to support them by developing team-approved measurable objectives. Karrie continued her career with GICW eventually becoming a Case Manager II, and upon request could step in as an acting Program Manager depending on the issues. In 2014 Karrie moved to the Columbus area of Ohio to work as the Secretary to the Director of WCS (Work & Community Services) department of Goodwill Columbus. Karrie also provided supports as an in-home direct care professional for CSS (Consumer Support Services), gaining insight to the residential side of the DD field. Not long after this Karrie saw an opportunity to become a Case Manager through a residential company called Embracing Autism. The management staff at Embracing Autism felt that Karrie would be a great addition to their team and decided to offer her the position.

Through hard work and dedication, Karrie continues to follow a path that she has grown to love and is proud to be a part of. She is currently working towards her BS in Human Services to go further into the field of helping others with disabilities and other barriers, in hopes of making a positive difference in the lives of others.

Lora Montgomery, Operations Director

Lora Montgomery has worked in the field of Developmental Disabilities for the last 22 years. Her experience ranges from supervision in managing an office team that staffed over 7000 hours per week in service delivery, to direct support to individuals with disabilities in an intense behavioral environment. Lora now serves as Embracing Autism's Operations Director—wearing many hats including being a trainer, recruiter, and scheduler. At times, Lora contests, her job with Embracing Autism is easier than her task of keeping her two teenage daughters in line!

When Lora’s not busy juggling her responsibilities with Embracing Autism, she spends her time gardening, cooking, and keeping with her busy family.

"You are never too old to set a new goal or dream another dream" -C.S. Lewis

Laura Sanders, Advocate and Lead Trainer

Laura Sanders has over 15 years working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Laura has been employed with Embracing Autism since 2013 as a Direct Support Professional providing assistance to individuals with developmental disabilities in a supported living environment. Laura previously worked in a school for individuals with ADHD and High Functioning Autism for 10 years in the administration office. The most enjoyable moments at the school is when she was able to counsel students.

Laura has a son with High Functioning Autism and has managed a Parent Directed Program with a team of Direct Support Staff for 15 years. The program included an Intensive Applied Behavioral Analysis/Discrete Trial Training in the early years.

Laura enjoys spending time with her family and two Maltese puppies preferably outdoors.