I’m Sharisa Joy Kochmeister: professional author of poetry and essays; published and performed composer/lyricist; graduate of The University of Denver with a 3.6 GPA and a dual degree Bachelor’s (with honors) in Sociology and Psychology; professional speaker (dozens of keynotes, workshops and panels in the USA and Canada); consultant; and an award-winning trainer and advocate in the areas of disability rights, inclusion, and augmentative and alternative methods of communication.
I’ve been a high school and college literary magazine writer and editor and President of my colleges’ Pre-Law/Political Science Association; been President of AutCom (The Autism National Committee) from 2007-Present; an Executive Committee member for the C.D.D.C. (Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council) from 2005-Present; member of W.O.W. (Watch Our Words) Colorado from 2003-Present; on the Panel of Spectrum Advisors (PSA) of A.S.A. (Autism Society of America) since 2007; former member of the board of advisors of “The Autism Perspective” (TAP) Magazine (of which I was editor-in-chief); and am currently the publisher and editor-in-chief of “The Voices and Choices of Autism” Magazine with over 1000 worldwide subscribers.
I am pleased and proud to announce that NIH (The National Institute of Health) and NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) have just appointed me to an advisory panel for the IACC (Inter-agency Autism Coordinating Committee) to help determine federal policy and research targets/spending; and we will presenting our findings/recommendations in Bethesda, MD on September 30 - October 1, 2009. Apparently they think I'm an expert on autism!
Oh, and by the way, I have multiple other disabilities, including Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy, being non-verbal, and requiring a keyboard to communicate and a trusted assistant to ease my way.
I’ve been to The White House and met President Clinton; was one of 500 college students from around the country invited to an annual conference of The Center for the Study of the Presidency; received Presidential, state, county, local, university and private awards for advocacy, community service and influencing public policy. I have written a fairytale about autism to try to help people understand; am writing my autobiography: "My Life As A Zero And My Life As A Hero", and have won awards for my poetry.
I have a list of other accomplishments too long to mention that I’d be more than glad to share with anyone interested who chooses to e-mail me at: