TACT was founded in 2016 by parents very much like many of you reading this – parents inspired by both the strengths and challenges unique to their child.
In 2009, Claire and Danny were blessed with a beautiful son. The first few years his progress was “on track,” however around the age of three they began noticing his speech was behind, he was toe walking and few other “differences.” They visited a few doctors and he started speech and occupational therapy to work on his sensory developments. Fast forward to 2015: Their son is in the first grade and growing into a remarkable young man. He’s becoming an extremely creative and innovative thinker, however, there are clearly some continued difficulties. After years of working with doctors and teachers he is placed on the Autism Spectrum. He’s not alone. In 2014 the CDC reported that 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 168 girls) are diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum.
As parents, Danny and Claire started looking into programs to build upon their son’s strengths to help him build confidence and social and emotional awareness. They couldn’t find anything outside of the doctor’s office. So, they founded T.A.C.T.
Kids have to be exposed to different things in order to develop.
Karl R.S. Engelmann, Board Chair
Karl Engelmann was formerly a Partner, and Senior Vice President of Sales and Client Service at Cambiar Investors, and has over 27 years of industry experience. In his role he was responsible for Institutional and Retail business development and client relations for Bank Trust, Large Pension Plans, RIA, Family Wealth, and within the Brokerage platforms. Prior to joining Cambiar in 2002, Karl was with INVESCO as a Vice President of Alliance Sales for the Southern Region. Prior to that Karl served as an Institutional Key Account Manager at AIM. Mr. Engelmann began his career Capstone Asset Management Company. Mr. Engelmann received a BA in Journalism from Southwest Texas State University.
Alexander Urban, Legal
Alex is an attorney with Evans Case, LLP and has provided legal support to TACT for several years. He received his Juris Doctorate with a certification in corporate and commercial law from the University of Denver. Born and raised in Colorado, Alex briefly moved away from the Centennial State to attend Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, where he served as Public Relations Officer for the Men’s Rugby Team and received his degree in Economics and Finance. His wife, Brooke, holds a degree in Elementary and Special Education with a Master’s in Educational Leadership. She is the principal at Catholic school in Denver and has actively been involved with the autism community. Brooke’s passion for supporting individuals with disabilities has been, to say the least, an inspiration to Alex and is directly responsible for his current involvement with TACT.
Zephrine Hanson, Development
Zephrine Hanson grew up in California and joined the Air Force to pursue her passions, journalism and travel; after leaving the AF she has continued to work in media communications for over twenty years. After moving to Denver in 2016, Zephrine found TACT while looking for a therapeutic enrichment program for her three kiddos on the spectrum. TACT’s offerings provide social interactions, practical skills and confidence building which pairs nicely with their homeschool education.
Zephrine started Hampden Farms, a suburban farming project offering sustainable farming solutions and small-batch artisanal products in partnership with Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield, where she is also an instructor and ambassador for the Garden’s Veterans-to-Farmers program. When Zephrine is not changing the world one plant and person at a time, she enjoys epic LEGO builds with her three tween inventors and going down Google rabbit holes with her favorite tech nerd and beloved partner of twenty years, Justin.
Bryan Counts, Secretary
Bryan has committed himself to fostering cultures, programs, and tools of student/customer/employee engagement across diverse industries, from education to IT to sales. At all times a learner, always trying to remove obstacles impeding others from learning and growing, whether in public education or the private business sector.
A former SPED teacher (M. Ed. from UC Denver, certified for LD, BD, ED) and building administrator with Cherry Creek ISD at an alternative vocational high school for at-risk youth. Member of the original drafting cohort for CDE RTI implementation plan and district liaison to CDE for RTI programs.
Bryan, a Colorado College grad, and his wife, Karyn, are both from Texas, but met in CO. They have happily lived here for >20 years and relish all this beautiful state has to offer along with their 2 wonderful dogs.
Bryan currently leads internal sales enablement, strategic customer acquisition and retention, and product development for a software company in Boulder, providing enterprise software solutions for the hospitality/F&B industry.
Grateful to have joined TACT’s innovative and highly successful program, Bryan hopes to support TACT’s growth especially involving innovative, effective evaluation methods.
Amber Patton, Treasurer
Amber Patton is a Senior Auditor with the Defense Contract Audit Agency under the Department of Defense. After graduating high school, she enlisted in the United States Navy as an Aviation Structural Mechanic and served for five years. Amber has earned her Masters of Science in Accounting with a concentration in Government and Not-for-Profit from Kaplan University and is currently pursuing her Masters in Information Technology with a concentration in Business Intelligence and Analytics at Purdue Global University. Recognizing the social challenges and behaviors with others, she sought counseling and was diagnosed with Autism in her mid-thirties. Since being identified as Autistic, she strives to increase her awareness of social interactions with others. Amber has a passion for databases, data models, analytics, and data visualizations. She likes helping others succeed to their fullest potential. Some of Amber’s passions include reading, gardening, puzzles, and spending time with family and friends.
President & Founder
Danny has a bit of unique background. He is a fourth-generation wood worker and mechanical tinkerer who grew up building and making things with his family. However, he decided to follow his own path and went to Nashville to play music. He was extremely fortunate that he had a vibrant career and he worked with various platinum album selling Grammy and Oscar winning recording artists. After 10 years in the music industry he began to cultivate his passion for education. His heart for teaching lead him to leave the music industry to start teaching private lessons and run the music program at an inner-city high school in Nashville, TN. He was granted several awards in teaching, including a Grammy Enterprise Award for the program he designed in the Nashville schools, became a published educational author, arranger and songwriter. Danny has a Master’s Degree in Education, is a Board Certified Cognitive Specialist, a Certified Autism Specialist and a classic car junkie. He has two incredible children, Dylan and Ellie. When his son Dylan was diagnosed with Autism he pulled from his family legacy and put together TACT.
Chris Boyle, CEO
Chris Boyle has lived over 20 years in Colorado, including undergraduate studies at Colorado College and an MBA in Finance for the University of Denver. Chris has lead and facilitated teams, projects and businesses spanning several industries, disciplines, continents and Fortune 100 to garage level startups. Professionally creates value by orchestrating fact-driven strategies, human potential and complex systems. Chris ran a home accessibility business and made some headway teaching his kids some trade skills on weekends. They now teach him things like coding and digital marketing. Chris’s involvement with TACT is a natural extension of his passion for learning, doing and human flourishing.
Abbey O'Loughlin, Lead Special Education Instructor
Abbey O’Loughlin joins the T.A.C.T. Board after a lengthy tenure at the Temple Grandin School in Boulder, Colorado. Abbey’s education and passions have taken her all over the country. At Michigan State University, Abbey obtained a B.A. in Special Education then went on to Ohio State to earn her M.A. in Special Education. As Director of Socio-Academic Planning, Ms. O’Loughlin developed, deployed, and documented TGS’ curriculum and educational model which fosters a growth mindset focused on the whole student. She is a passionate educator, leader, and advocate committed to making a difference in our community. In Abbey’s spare time, hobbies include pottery, hiking, music, camping, and road trips.
Special Education Coordinator
A Nebraska native, Amanda moved to Denver in 2012 where she became involved in the autism community through her love of art, legos, and early childhood education. On a trip to Peru to better understand how autism is addressed globally, she realized the importance of learning a trade or skill at a young age to guarantee future independence and sustainability and the lack of services like this in the US. Around the time she graduated from University of Colorado Denver with her Masters in Education and Human Development, she discovered TACT and couldn’t wait to volunteer. Her experiences, along with the mission and the values of TACT led Amanda to join our TACT Team in July 2017 as a part time Special Education Teacher. In March 2018, she joined the team full time as the Special Education Coordinator and Skills USA Chapter Leader. She continues to advocate locally for the autism community serving on the Commission for People with Disabilities under the Office of Human Rights and Community Partnerships for the City of Denver.
Chief Program Officer
Becky is a Colorado native, mother of three, Registered Nurse, Certified Autism Specialist and is currently working on her Masters in Behavior Analysis. She is a founding board member and TACT’s Chief Program Officer. Becky’s oldest son is on the spectrum and like many parents of children with special needs she has stopped at nothing to help him thrive. Although there were many therapies that certainly helped her son, nothing like TACT existed so she helped start it. She is the “go-to” person at TACT for everything from scheduling to grant writing to admissions and beyond. Becky loves that TACT’s program instills a true sense of pride, accomplishment and practical skills in our children while focusing on what is possible for them and not on their struggles. She works kindly and patiently with every family and coordinates all TACT programs, family services and development.
Automotive Services Instructor
Bob is known as “the guy” in the automotive world. He worked for 40 years as a professional mechanic at John Elway Chevrolet. He is a master mechanic and a world class chef! He has worked on just about every car imaginable and can fix anything. He became interested in TACT while looking for ways to support this grandson who has autism.
Computer Science Instructor
Cara is a veteran of the computer science world with decades of teaching experience. She worked for 15 years in the Douglas County school system and Northrump Grumman before that. TACT’s students love seeing what “Miss Cara” has in store for them each day!
Welding/Carpentry Lead Instructor
Born in the beautiful state of Vermont, Mason was constantly in the woods getting dirty, helping out his father with any project around the house, and working with his mother in the garden. Deferring from college for a year to move to Montana was a life changing experience. “What I thought I knew, and what I actually knew about the real world was drastically different.” This sparked Mason’s drive to adapt and learn in order to be successful in any facet of life. His many accomplishments include graduating with a bachelors degree in photography from The Art Institute of Colorado, cooking in a fine dining Denver restaurant, becoming a self taught designer and fabricator of custom furniture and spaces. No matter the challenge Mason is always willing to learn something new and strive to become better. Joining the team at TACT this year is his new venture and will help him significantly in building his “unstoppable skill set”.
We are also so thankful for the grant funds TACT has received through these incredible foundations and organizations.
TACT is a truly an organization FOR the Autism community, BY the Autism community. If you are ready to jump in to help us, we would appreciate support in the following areas:
- Classroom Assistance
- Facility Maintenance
- Event Coordination
- Teaching Workshops
- Guest Speaking
Contact us if you feel lead to come Build with TACT!
We are happy to now offer:
- Professional development trainings
- Advocacy for inclusive work environments
- Workplace consultations
Contact us for more information!
Do you only teach individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Yes, TACT’s mission is to support the Autism community and their families.
Who are your founders?
T.A.C.T. was founded in 2016 by Danny and Claire Combs.
Do you have an office?
What age ranges due you serve?
TACT serves ages 5-21 in a variety of different programs. Please contact us for more details.
How do clients pay for your services?
The method of payment is very individualized. However, TACT is a vendor for DVR, accepts Medicaid and school district funding under certain conditions. TACT is a PASA for supported employment and transportation. Private pay is also an option. Please contact us for more information.
Do the students get to keep everything they make?
Yes! With a few exceptions. Contact us for details!
What is your non-profit tax ID number?
TACT Kids, Inc. is a Federal 501(c)(3). Our FEIN is 81-3015819.
Can we get a tax deduction if we donate to TACT?
Yes! Please contact us for details.
We’re interested in hosting a course and partnering with you. Who do we contact?
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’d like to donate tools and supplies for your program. How do we do that?
Thank you! Please contact us first with the details of your donation so we can be on the lookout for it. Our mailing address is: TACT Kids, Inc. PO Box 11056 Denver, CO 80211
Are the projects difficult?
We teach a variety of different levels. We have patient and kind teachers. We teach tool safety first. We believe it is important for the students to respect the tools and the materials. The projects may be hard, but they’ll be rewarding and hopefully spark a lifelong interest or career.
Will the kids get dirty?
Yes and no. If they’re working on an engine – then yes. If they’re knitting a stress ball – then no. We’ll provide information upon registration about the proper attire.
Do parents need to be present?
It depends on the class you are signing up to take. Please contact us for more information.
Do you have a cancellation policy?
We offer a 48 hour cancellation policy.
My child is nonverbal, is that OK?
Absolutely. We speak with parents before the courses and we’ll make the proper arrangements to help them be successful.
Please contact us!