With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season already upon us, we hope we can steal just a minute of your time and tell you why we are so truly lucky and very grateful to work with the children and families we do everyday. Thank you for all that you do, from all of us at Seattle Children’s Autism Center. 

What I appreciate most about my work here, is how constantly I am impressed by how hard our families work to provide for their children. It appears that nothing, no matter how difficult the challenge, can stop these families from achieving what they set their mind to. It’s inspirational and humbling to observe this every day. – Emily Rastall PhD

I am thankful that I can gain perspective on other people’s lives each day. I am grateful that I can increase my knowledge and respect for families who are culturally different from me. I appreciate the opportunity to expand my understanding of different kids and the way that they are able to think and process information. I learn new things every day from our families! I feel a real ownership over protecting and assisting every person who walks through our doors. And I experience and work through my own emotions (which range from grief to anger to joy to satisfaction) that emerge from working with all types of families in all types of situations. I feel that my job at Children’s is both professionally important and personally rewarding. 🙂  – Kelly Herzberg MEd

I am always thankful for the cultural diversity of our patients and the connections we make across language barriers. I love how unique each child and their families are. I am most thankful for all the hard work, love, and dedication our families give to their children. – Noa Hannah PhD,CCC-SLP, BCBA-D

I’m thankful to have a chance to give back to Seattle Children’s by helping other families with what I’ve learned with my own child. For the inspiration I get when I see families work through their challenges. For my colleagues who work hard to make life a little easier for the families we serve for the trust that parents place in us to help their child. -Lynn Vigo MSW

It’s hard to put into words. This is by far the most meaningful work I’ve ever done. Families always amaze me: how much they intuitively figure out about how best to help their children even before getting a diagnosis; their willingness and openness to try a variety of treatment approaches; their willingness to participate in research to further our understanding of autism. The list goes on and on. The kids and teens I work with though are who inspire me every day. Their sense of humor, their sweetness (flip side: vulnerability), their resilience in spite of social rejection, their directness and matter of factness in how they approach the world. And of course my heart goes out to the suffering, and if I can be a part of helping to alleviate that, in any small way, I am thankful for that opportunity. And for all I get back from families. -Karen Toth PhD

I am most thankful for the humor and hope the families and kids bring into our lives. – Felice Orlich PhD

First of all, I’m always amazed by how involved and dedicated parents (and other caregivers and teachers) are as advocates for their children- when parents are just trying to understand their child better and how to support them- it fits so well with what I feel we try to accomplish here. With that, I’m thankful that we have the multidisciplinary services here that can support families, not just in diagnosis, but then in continuing care. From our scheduling team, that understands the myriad of special needs of our families to family services supporters that know all the resources like the back of their hand… behavioral programs to parent education and support groups. I’m glad we’re continuing to try and provide answers in one place, and I know we can do better for families, but I’m thankful that they are there, supporting their children, as we all learn more. -David Eaton ARNP

I am thankful when families are happy with care they have received. I love seeing positive change (even if only a little at a time) in the lives of our kids. -Andrea Valdez RN

I love seeing how devoted the family is to caring for their children and how they love them unconditionally. It is very powerful and it makes me want to do everything I can to help them be successful. -Jennifer Mannheim ARNP