Debbie Neller is not new to Easterseals, but now as Clinical Coordinator of the Autism Center of Excellence, her primary role has shifted. She is responsible for administering the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, and other supporting assessments, managing assessments and information for comprehensive diagnostic evaluation report, and overseeing diagnostic meetings with Easterseals' physicians as part of the Autism Center's Early Diagnosis Clinic.
Debbie is a kind and patient clinician, and what she enjoys most about working with families through Easterseals is, "The opportunity to walk with families through a difficult moment, presenting information to them about their child in a compassionate manner."
Debbie loves working in a team-focused environment and being able to easily access other professional opinions/observations. Gathering supportive strategies for families is also a key part of Easterseals' multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis. She says this is a true advantage for those we serve, noting, "Families are provided complete information about their child’s strengths and abilities as well as their areas of need in multiple areas of growth and development. Our comprehensive assessment is just that…..comprehensive!
Although Debbie has practiced as an Occupational Therapist, mostly in the school system, the majority of her career, she says that her role as Clinical Coordinator for the Autism Center has given her professional growth opportunities. Debbie says, "I have a new appreciation for the uniqueness of each child. For their gifts and their unique challenges. I am challenged each day to creatively support the children and families I see. This job has expanded my perspective. I have learned much about myself, and my own challenges as it pertains to workplace interactions which is refining me both in my professional and my personal life."
When asked to share insight from her personal experience that may help parents just entering their journey with Easterseals, Debbie reinforces this thought, "There is no perfect answer for some of our families’ challenges. They just are. Easterseals stands as a shelter and guide through the journey. I came to work for Easterseals because of my own special needs child who is now 26," and she approaches each family with a sincere desire to walk alongside them and help their child on a path to thrive, regardless of a diagnosis or delays.
Even Debbie's daughter feels at home at Easterseals, "She feels it is an extension of our home, and she is proud to tell anyone where her mom works!"
To chat with Debbie, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for who you are, and all you do, Debbie!