Our Team

Alisha Fletcher photo

Director

Alisha Fletcher, LCSW  has worked at the Center for Disabilities Studies since May of 2020. Alisha is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over two decades of experience working in the mental health field with families and individuals with autism.  Alisha brings her mental health expertise to the DNEA to help the network meet the unique training and technical assistance needs of the many different professionals who work with individuals with autism across the state of Delaware.

Prior to becoming the Director of the DNEA, Alisha worked as a mental health coach at the Center for Disabilities Studies training professionals who work with and support individuals with autism. ​Alisha is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Wilmington University, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Alisha earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing her DSW in clinical social work at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sarah Mallory portrait

Principal Investigator

Sarah B. Mallory, Ph.D. joined the DNEA in August 2019. Sarah holds a doctorate in special education with expertise in autism spectrum disorder, teacher education, and other developmental disabilities. She has supported individuals with autism across the lifespan and leverages these experiences to educate professionals who support people with autism across multiple clinical, hospital, school, and community-based settings. Sarah currently serves as the DNEA’s Principal Investigator and provides conceptual leadership to DNEA activities.

Sarah is an assistant professor of special education at the University of Delaware and director of the Health and Wellness Unit at the UD Center for Disabilities Studies. Before joining the DNEA and UD, Sarah was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Special Education and the Director of Special Education Teacher Preparation Programs at the University of Maryland.

Sarah received her Ph.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University.  At Columbia University, she was an instructor in the Intellectual Disability/Autism teacher preparation program and an Advanced Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Opportunities and Outcomes for People with Disabilities. Before entering academia, Sarah was a special education teacher with experience working with youth with autism and their families in school- and home-based settings.

Karen Oosterhouse portrait

Program Coordinator

Karen Oosterhous serves as DNEA program coordinator, providing a variety of management services essential to operations. She facilitates collaboration between the DNEA and community stakeholders, agency partners, and others in the Delaware autism community.

Karen has worked collaboratively with families, autistic youth, and self-advocates across the life span to determine programs, services, and supports necessary for the achievement of their educational, personal, and professional goals.
Before joining the DNEA, Karen worked in special education teacher preparation at Robert Morris University and led Achieva Planning for College, an inclusive post secondary education preparation program, through the Arc of Greater Pittsburgh.

A graduate of the University of Maryland and Georgetown University, Karen is an experienced disability rights advocate. She holds a certificate from the Institute of Special Education Advocacy at William & Mary Law School and a paralegal certificate from Duquesne University.

Karen is a member of the advisory board of the Pennsylvania Inclusive Higher Education Consortium, and also serves on the boards of CDG Care and Friendship Circle.

Nicole W. Garrity

DNEA Training Coach

Nicole W. Garrity began working at the Center for Disabilities Studies in June of 2022.  Nicole is proud to be a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP).

Previously, Nicole worked in the public school setting in various states (California, Pennsylvania, and Delaware).  In her school-based school psychology practice, she had the privilege of working with pre-school, elementary, middle, high school, and post-high school students and their families as well as staff.  Her focus was on students with exceptionalities, particularly students with autism, and she fulfilled many capacities such as assessment, intervention, and consultation.  Furthermore, Nicole has training and experience in applied behavioral analysis.

Additionally, Nicole has been an adjunct program coordinator and assistant professor in Wilmington University’s undergraduate teacher preparation program.  Nicole is actively involved in the Delaware Association of School Psychologists (DASP), where she serves as the co-chair of the Government and Professional Relations (GPR) committee.

Nicole obtained a B.A. in Psychology from The Pennsylvania State University; an M.Ed. in Human Development from Lehigh University; and an Ed.S. in School Psychology from Lehigh University.  Currently, Nicole is pursuing her Ed.D. in School Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago.

Generic Person Icon

DNEA Training Coach

Chuck Sawchenko obtained his MSW from the University of Maryland in 1991. After working in psychiatric hospitals as a student social worker, he moved to Delaware and continued his career working with children and adolescents. In 1995, Chuck joined the Delaware State Police, retiring as a Lieutenant in 2022. During his tenure as a law enforcement officer, he helped start Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for all law enforcement in Delaware. He has also provided other types of behavioral health trainings to law enforcement and civilian groups. In 2017-18, Chuck co-created and taught tactical de-escalation to the Delaware State Police. Prior to retirement, Chuck assisted in the creation of the Police Diversion Program for the Delaware State Police. Upon retirement, Chuck was hired as a civilian to continue his training and committee work. He is currently on several working groups related to behavioral health and law enforcement which includes co-chairing the Corrections and Law Enforcement Committee under the Lt. Governors Behavioral Health Consortium. Chuck has a daughter with autism which has given him the practical experience to provide training to law enforcement concerning neuro-developmental disabilities. Through-out his career, Chuck has helped train over 1,500 law enforcement officers in Delaware and other states.