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Thurston Co, WA: Support program for parents waiting for ASD diagnosis

Sept 17, 2023, Thurston CO, WA, Thurston Talk: Autism Program Expands at South Sound Parent to Parent
South Sound Parent to Parent (SSP2P) is pleased to announce its expanding support for families awaiting their child’s autism diagnosis. The time between getting an appointment, diagnosis and then connecting to specific services may take a year. Trish Byrne is the new SSP2P autism program director with a purpose to fill that gap time with supportive services for all those children, even if, ultimately, there is no autism disorder. Early intervention makes a huge difference for children with extra needs.

"I am very excited for this opportunity,” says Trish, whose career in education has taken her across all age levels through the public school system. “It feels like all the different places I have been and the roles I have had have set me up for this dream job,” she adds. Trish, who has a master’s degree in teaching, has been a speech and language therapist, a special education teacher, a behavior specialist, and an autism specialist. She has known and worked with Kim Smith, SSP2P executive director, since the agency’s early days. They are excited to team up for these new offerings.

Trish is accustomed to working closely with support staff, resource people and families. She has seen first-hand the power of early intervention. Being able to help parents set up strong foundations truly supports the optimal development of the child. “SSP2P has done many great things and keeps getting better. I am honored to be part of it,” she notes….

Early intervention for children with disabilities can begin as early as birth. South Sound Parent to Parent’s specialists and programs are offered at no charge to those who need them. …

Initially, South Sound Parent to Parent put together the SMART Team to help close the time gap from an appointment to a definitive diagnosis. The interdisciplinary group includes a pediatrician, two speech therapists, a school psychologist, a social worker, a teacher, and two occupational therapists. They work together for a definitive autism diagnosis for children from birth to 5 years old. Comprehensive input from these experienced professionals is integrated with detailed screening information from the family.

SSP2P provides early intervention to support the families with children with disabilities resulting from illness, developmental delays or other reasons. Photo courtesy: South Sound Parent to Parent

The demand for the SMART team has grown. Consequently, the time frame has stretched out. SSP2P knows that every moment counts. Even the children who are not on the spectrum may have other issues and concerns such as developmental delays that can be supported. And for those who end up with a conclusive spectrum disorder, it’s better to begin intervention now instead of later.

South Sound Parent to Parent’s Trish Byrne, autism program director, and Courtney Yeager, Growing Learners Preschool teacher, are blasting off to powerful collaborations for children and their families. Photo courtesy: South Sound Parent to Parent


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