About Us

Annie O’Rourke is a special needs mom of 28 years. She is the President, and Founder of Island Gamers Club.

Since it’s inception in 2011 she has had the pleasure of meeting some of the most incredible gamers and their amazing parents. It has been the joy of her life to make a difference in people’s lives. Many individuals believe video games are played alone and have no social value. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Annie learned differently from her son with Asperger’s. She discovered the relationship between gaming and socialization many years ago. She noticed when her son was young that he would speak and interact with other children while playing video games and board games with them. They clearly spoke his language. Gaming was, and still is, his comfort zone. Just like most people who enjoy the company of others who share common interests, so do gamers.

Gamers love to play and discuss new video games, retro games and just about everything “game related.” They have a great passion for their interests. Thanks to her son, Annie discovered something magical; the strong connection between gamers, those with and without special needs. Ask one of our participants what best describes them and they will tell you they are a “Gamer.” Annie is proud to have captured the magic of socialization through video game connections. Island Gamers Club has changed so many lives and is everything she wanted it to be.

Island Gamers Club offers the community something unique. Pouring her heart and soul into it has allowed Annie to create an amazing, exciting and safe environment for all gamers. Island Gamers Club is the hidden gem that people discover as their own special place.

Mary McDonald Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA is the Vice President of Island Gamers Club.

Dr. McDonald completed her Ph.D. in Learning Theory at the CUNY Graduate Center and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral Level. She serves on a number of advisory boards and presents at local, national and international conferences on the topic of autism.

Dr. McDonald serves as executive Director of Long Island Programs for Eden II/Genesis Programs with over 25 years experience directing programs for students with autism from early intervention through adulthood, She is also a Professor in the Special Education Department at Hofstra University. As busy as her schedule is, her heart is always with Island Gamers Club. The Game Club means the world to her and for that Island Gamers Club is totally indebted. Dr. McDonald does not work onsite but is always available to Annie for consultation. She unquestionably has a world of knowledge to share which has been and will continue to be an invaluable part of Island Gamers Club.

Sadie Colucci has been the Program Director at Island Gamers Club for the past six years.

Sadie earned her BS in Psychology from Dowling College. She has over 15 years experience in the field, She has worked one-on-one with many individuals with special needs and has many years experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum as well.

She has dedicated her life to enhancing the lives of others. She is excited to share her passion at Island Gamers Club; her love of helping others develop friendships and sharing laughter. She has touched so many hearts. Sadie teaches participants how to play games and interact with one another that goes far beyond discussing and playing games.

She is inspirational and cares genuinely for our participants and for that she means the world to them. Sadie incorporates social skills into the Gaming Clubs; all happening while the gamers don’t realize they are learning social skills because they are having so much fun. During play, she teaches gamers to take turns, cooperate with others, sportsmanship, being good winners and good losers, problem solving and respecting other’s personal space. The skills they learn become second nature to them. Sadie is responsible for an incredible amount of friendships that have developed and continued through the years.