Amy Vaughan lives a life that is personally and professionally devoted to children and families.
She is a lead occupational therapist for Burrell Behavioral Health and is an owner and occupational therapist for Therapy Spot LLC. Her work hours are divided among leading professional development seminars on pediatric topics of interest, working with the assessment and treatment team of Burrell Autism Center, training other occupational therapists, serving as a teacher resource for two local private schools, and conducting private therapy sessions for children and families.
In the clinical setting, Vaughan partners with children who have been diagnosed with conditions such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, sensory processing disorder or anxiety disorder.
“Each time I teach a parent a new way to connect with their child, each time a child chooses a ‘better way’ and each time a child initiates play with a friend, I have been super successful,” she says.
She also is engaged in seminar and book development, evaluation and consultation.
Vaughan enjoys the challenges associated with helping children on both ends of the spectrum of ability to progress socially and educationally.
“No matter the performance ability or developmental skill level, I partner with parents and teachers to identify a child’s unique learning style and their strengths and barriers to learning with the understanding that knowledge has power to unlock learning and relationship potential,” Vaughan says. “I strive to meet children … right where they are and inspire them to be all they can be, (setting) up the supports that help them blossom to their fullest potential.”
Vaughan speaks most passionately of those breakthrough moments in therapy with children and families affected by autism.
“My proudest moments are when a parent connects with their child, sometimes for the very first time, in therapy,” she says. “I’ll never forget the first time a mom sat on the floor with her child and said to me, ‘I have lived with my child for three and a half years, but I met him today for the first time.’ I am privileged enough to get to relive a variation of that moment with hundreds of families.”
Vaughan earned her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from University of Kansas. In addition to being a nationally board-certified and state-licensed occupational therapist, she is also board-certified in pediatrics by The American Occupational Therapy Association.
She is a willing advocate for children’s health.
“I have promoted, supported and lobbied for legislation on behalf of the cause of autism,” she says. “I have developed resources, promoted education and personally trained parents and professionals in southwest Missouri in methods that support brain-based learning and developmental progress.”Click here for full coverage of the 2011 40 Under 40.