about us

My name is Tara Shade.  I am the mother of two amazing boys.  Rye, who is 13-years-old, has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Wyatt is 10-years-old.  

I have worked professionally since 1997 with individuals with ASD and their families.  Currently, I am the Program Manager of In-Home Services at Alternative Community Training (ACT) in Columbia.  Before working at ACT, I kept busy as a Social Service Caseworker in Aspen, Colorado and prior to that, I served as the Coordinator for Transitional and Residential Services at Judevine Center in St. Louis. 

I am a member of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network National Family Advisory Committee, currently I serve as chairperson for the parent sub-committee for the Columbia Transition Team (CTT) affiliated with Columbia Public Schools, and I co-chair the Patient and Family Advisory Committee at the Thompson Center for Autism.  I am also actively involved as a volunteer for Special Olympics and coach a mid-Missouri unified basketball team with my husband Scott. 

Scott Shade is a Senior Art Director at a Marketing Firm.  Scott balances work,  t-ball games, swimming lessons, date nights, Saturdays in the yard, camping, hiking a 14-er, and family ski vacations with parenting Rye and Wyatt.  Scott has come on board at Autism Pirate to blog about life on the spectrum from a "Dad's perspective". 


  1. We love you all...Jeff and Sandy

  2. I am an adult with ASD and found your blog by googling "autism pirate." Pirates are one of my "things." What I've read so far is very insightful (I have no idea what goes into raising a child with ASD, just what goes into being one) and I absolutely love the statement in your heading. I look forward to reading more!