Progress to Date

Funds Raised 2019: $17,845

4% of ATPF 2019 Operating Budget

Children Screened: 17,480

SLP Students Trained at SJSU: 2,100

Dr. Jennifer Oke

Dr. Jennifer Oke

I am a clinical psychologist with a practice dedicated solely to the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with Autism and Asperger's Disorder and their families. I have been a part of ATPF in a variety of roles since its inception in 2003. Most recently, I have dedicated my time to the Parent Mentor Program.

ATPF is a grassroots organization started by Dayna and Todd Hoff when their son, Garret was diagnosed with autism. Dayna Hoff is passionate about her visions for early intervention that include a preschool screening program, preschool teacher training program, and the parent mentor program. Her infectious enthusiasm spreads to others making these projects not only take off, but grow. I have witnessed this with the Parent Mentor Program that started with a simple desire to support families with newly diagnosed children, to serving over 100 families in the San Diego community in the last year.

 

With a research background in parent training, I am not only acutely aware of the vital role parents play in the lives of their children with ASD but also the great toll it can take on the family. As a clinician, I often find parents with older children with ASD are the best source of information and support for parents of children newly diagnosed. ATPF's Parent Mentor Program offers this opportunity to families in the San Diego community. By pairing families with a mentor and providing events where they can meet, parents receive compassion, support, and assistance in identifying autism-related resources in the community.

The addition of professionals, including psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, music therapists, and educators, means families have access to information on assessment, intervention, educational programs, and resources in the community. Mentors can access these professionals if questions arise or such information is needed. As this program grows, it is also evolving. After participating as a mentee for several years, parents have the opportunity to participate as a mentor for a family with a newly diagnosed child. With increased involvement from parents and professionals in the community, additional trainings and opportunities for families to meet face-to-face are becoming available.

As a child psychologist and a compassionate person, I have much to offer children with ASD and their families but I am not a parent and cannot offer the support and information another parent can provide. The Parent Mentor Program is a unique program that is meeting the needs of families and the model it can serve for parent mentor programs in other communities.

N. Jennifer Oke, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist