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2011 Most Influential Women Honoree: Amy Vaughan

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For pediatric occupational therapist Amy Vaughan, motivation comes down to her belief that children are one of the most precious treasures on earth. In dual roles as lead occupational therapist at Burrell Behavioral Health and owner/therapist at Therapy Spot LLC, she works with children who are dealing with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety, attachment and behavior disorders.

At the clinic, Vaughan trains and supports others to help them develop the best possible assessment, observation and treatment skills. “We are passionate about details, passionate about serving families and passionate about finding the best supports we can to help families go out and live life to the fullest,” Vaughan says.

A graduate of the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s in occupational therapy, Vaughan earned board certification in pediatrics from the American Occupational Therapy Association in 2009.  “Now, I am in a position to mentor others through that process,” she says.

An active advocate for children with autism, Vaughan presents parent training seminars several times a year. She also serves on the assessment and training team at Burrell’s autism center and on the board of directors of the Friends with Autism Center.

Her support for parents isn’t limited to those whose children have autism, as Vaughn provides parenting resources and group training regularly to help parents find techniques that inspire learning and cultivate meaningful parent-child relationships.

“Many of the moms and dads I meet in my profession are at the end of their ropes, and their dreams of that perfect utopia with their children lay in ruins,” Vaughan says. “They come for help just to get through today and the next moment.”

That’s where Vaughan’s skills kick in. “It is my great privilege to partner with families when they are in that place and then be their tour guide (for) building a better tomorrow,” Vaughan says, noting that she’s most proud of the moments when she’s able to help parents and children connect.

“I am privileged enough to get to relive a variation of that moment with hundreds of families. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Through Therapy Spot, Vaughan develops seminars and books, and participates in team teaching, evaluation and consultation, which she has done in local private and public schools.

Burrell Behavioral Health President and CEO Todd Schaible calls Vaughan an effective leader.

“She has consistently led people toward a better place in our collective ability to help our children to know and use their gifts to overcome their challenges,” he says.

Click here for full coverage of the 2011 Most Influential Women.
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