About Autism Alaska
Receiving a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for your child opens new doors to you and your family. A diagnosis doesn’t change the child that you know and love, instead, a diagnosis helps you make informed decisions about your child’s healthcare, education, and wellbeing.
Admittedly, there is a lot to learn about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the services available. It is one of the most common developmental delays — as many as 1 in 59 children identified according to 2018 statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has reported that up to 1% of kiddos born in Alaska will be diagnosed with ASD by the age of 8.
Developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, special education, behavior supports, life-long disabilities — all of this can be overwhelming, sound intimidating and not align with the future we had in mind for our children. Just remember, your child has all the same assets today as they did before you received this diagnosis, and now you can begin to learn from those of us who have learned to navigate services the hard way and celebrated successes with our children who experience autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
This website (stay tuned for the coming app) will lead you to Alaska specific services and agencies along with web-based resources suitable for people located anywhere. The content was selected to get you started in building, refining or expanding a plan of care and service network that best suits the needs of your family. If you are looking for a more in-depth and detailed resource of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) we recommend you check out the Car Autism Roadmap produced by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; this resource is site specific to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, however, it is an excellent roadmap with information relevant to autism in general.
Kim Kovol: Kim is a California transplant to Alaska for the past 20+ years. She is a wife of 26 years (still going strong), and a mom to three kids, with two who are on the spectrum. Her oldest is aging out of the system, and Kim is committed to ensuring her young adult is able to navigate services and live life to the fullest. Kim’s family lives with Autism 24/7. They understand the challenges, the victories, and the frustrations. It is Kim’s hope that this website will be a resource for parents and children trying to navigate a complex and confusing system. Kim is an avid bow hunter, a multiple business owner, a Star Wars costumer, and Deputy Director for Bean’s Cafe and The Children’s Lunchbox. She decided recently to return to grad school to finish her Master degree (because she has nothing else to do).
Kylie Clark: Kylie is a lifelong Alaskan and medic, and is the mother of two spectacular kiddos. Her oldest, a funny curious boy aged four, has autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy and obsessive compulsive disorder. His delightful sister will be one this year and is currently receiving speech services due to an unidentified developmental delay. Kylie is motivated to launch and expend this project so that parents with children who experience developmental delays can celebrate their kiddo's accomplishments rather than spend frustrating hours searching for help.
Tristan Berkey: Tristan attended college in Fairbanks and obtained her M.Ed in Guidance and Counseling. After college she moved to Juneau to be closer to the mountains and ocean. She works for the Juneau School District as an elementary school counselor and has been in the position since 2006. She is involved in Girls on the Run as a school liaison and coach, is the board president for NAMI, Juneau (National Alliance on Mental Illness), owns a small jewelry business and leads educational group travel trips through Education First. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and fur babies, hiking, running, kayaking, reading, traveling, weekly dinners with her girlfriends and drinking coffee.