Thursday, August 19, 2010

From the President’s Desk

As we approach the 2-year anniversary of opening Autism Journeys Treatment Center, the AJ team is proud of what we’ve accomplished and looking forward to embarking on new adventures in the future. Just as individuals reach developmental milestones, so too does an organization. First, we must find ways to meet our survival needs. Second, we must learn to communicate and work together. Third we must evolve and adapt as we develop the skills to better understand our needs, goals and how we affect those around us.

The development of Autism Journeys over the last couple years has been remarkable. We’ve expanded our intervention knowledge, our service options, and more than tripled the number of families we collaborate with each day. Some of our more obvious developments have been in the expansion of the treatment center, the ever-increasing team members and the creation of the IDP scholarship fund. Never could I have imagined we’d accomplish so much in so little time.

Our greatest accomplishment however, is seen in the eyes of our clients. The Autism Journeys team is privy to witnessing hard-work, immense dedication and amazing accomplishments each and every day. We are so honored to play a role in the journeys of our clients and their families.

Reaching our goals has been wonderful. Of course, not unlike human development, we haven’t been without our setbacks. We teach our clients to learn from their experiences, and we, too, must continue to learn and grow throughout the development of our program. Our board of directors, team members, clients and families, and community supporters continue to provide me with positive reinforcement and constructive criticism. I am extremely grateful to all of you who’ve offered your support and advice. Each of you has a unique perspective, allowing me to view Autism Journeys from various angles. I’m looking forward to the future of Autism Journeys and the continued input from the community.

In the near future, one of our primary objectives is to increase parent support. At the heart of our IDP program is our parent-coaching component. Educating parents on intervention techniques, and supporting the family at home and in the community have been key factors in the success of so many of our clients. So, it’s logical that we’d continue to make improvements to one of the most critical components of our program.

Throughout the next contract period (October 2010-April 2011), clients receiving IDP packages will begin to notice an increase in the amount of written documentation. Our team is developing a home-based written curriculum, aimed at helping parents throughout the implementation of programs. In combination, we’re also developing additional home tracking procedures, thus allowing us to better monitor the generalization of skills outside of the Center. I appreciate your support and look forward to your continued feedback.

Finally, it is with both joy and sadness that Autism Journeys bids farewell to Rachelle Blair-Thatcher. Rachelle has served as our Early Childhood Director for the last 16 months. Her amazing energy and knowledge have been a fabulous addition to our program. While it’s difficult to see her leave, we’re excited for Rachelle and her family to begin their new adventure. She will continue to extend her energy and knowledge in the rural Utah autism community. We look forward to crossing paths with her for many years to come. Thanks for everything Chelle, and best wishes!

Enjoy the last bit of summer. The falling leaves will be here before we know it.

Kate Andersen
President & Founder

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