MISSION - Yampa Valley Autism Program provides resources and direct services to individuals and families living with autism or other disorders to cultivate their abilities and maximize quality of life.
VISION - Healthy communities in the Yampa Valley where all people are valued and accepted.
OUR COMMITMENT - To provide specialized therapies, family support services, training, education, public awareness, collaboration, and advocacy.
YVAP collaborates and contracts with NW Colorado BOCES to design and implement and impactful Extended School Year summer programming for middle school students with autism and developmental disabilities in Steamboat Springs Schools District. We choose to design this within the Community Cultivation outdoor gardening framework, and had excellent attendance and feedback from students and their families.
Also, YVAP contracts with Steamboat Springs School District for the transition education program STRIDES, which provides education and programming for 18-21 year old youths with autism and developmental disabilities moving into adulthood STRIDES is structured to maximize their potential regardless of how high-functioning or profoundly affected they may be.
Critical services have been provided for many families in crisis needing support for their child with autism, including support for intensive ABA therapy, speech and social therapy, emergency medical support, support within the classroom, and direct intervention.
Our GrowDome greenhouse has been improved with a new solar-powered buried water system, and heating system to allow the Community Cultivation Program to grow produce throughout the entire year, including the coldest months of winter, giving us the opportunity for year-around gardening programming!
YVAP is now providing one-on-one support for children to be able to attend after school programs, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Art Camp, Summer Camp, 4-H, and more. We feel it is so important that our kids have the opportunity to participate in any activity they choose with their peers.
The Yampa Valley Autism Program is a sustainable organization that provides evidence-based programs and services to maximize the quality of life for individuals and families that are affected by autism in Routt and Moffat counties.
Yampa Valley Autism Program serves more than 70 families in Routt and Moffat counties with the following services and programs.
Social Cognition Program: This program provides individual and group specialized validated therapies, small-group curriculum, and elementary classroom curriculum to help children, youths, and teens with autism and other DD learn and retain life-long social skills and functional behavior. This allows them to gain the ability to understand social situation, and help individuals in our community function in society. This may be delivered directly as clinical therapy sessions, in Teen Social Groups, or in elementary classroom settings with peers effectively giving the entire classroom the language and tools of social behavior.
Community Cultivation Program: This is a work-ready program in Steamboat using a platform of horticulture, gardening and produce marketing as the teaching tool to give students and young adults skill set to find employment when ready. Community Cultivation collaborates with Northwest Colorado BOCES and the Steamboat Springs School District to provide Extended School Year programming for both middle school and high school students who qualify. This includes job-shadowing and internships.
STRIDES Transition Program:
(Students Transitioning Reaching Independent Direction Education in Steamboat): YVAP collaborates with the school districts to provide 18-21 year-old students with education, activities, work experience, social and community connections, and life skills to prepare for adult life.
ABA Therapy: ABA is the only behavioral therapy covered by most insurance companies and is required to be delivered by certified behavior specialists (BCBA's). YVAP may be able to provide direct therapy, support funds, and services to assist with the costs not covered by insurance companies based on need.
Autism Advocacy: A critical role for YVAP is to be a central resource of referral for local and national services and programs, and also act in an advocacy role when determining the best direction forward for families.
Special Activities Support: These include After School School Days Off, Summer Camp, 4-H, Art Camps,and Sports Program Support. YVAP wants children with ASD and other DD to Programs,have the support to participate in any activity they choose by providing one-on-one support for those activities.
Autism Teen Social Coaching and Adult Life Coaching
Respite Reimbursement: This program reimburses our families for respite care that they may use to be able to have a few hours away from home. This may be as simple as grocery shopping, doctor's appointments or other important errands. Since this disorder is '24/7', it is critical for the well-being of the entire family to have this necessary time.
In House Respite: With our new YVAP Center, we can provide respite for parents in-house.
Scholarship Programs: YVAP may be able to provide financial resources for evidence-based therapies and programs that insurance does not cover, and scholarships to clients in our own programs, based on need.
Education Resources: YVAP presents and sponsors highly qualified speakers and workshops for current topics relevant to the local autism community, and distributes current articles and webinars to stakeholders. In addition, YVAP's resource library includes books, DVD's and provision of certain assistive technologies.
Emergency Financial & Family Support: Insurance for autism remains limited in the scope of therapies that are covered, and the strain on families financially can be overwhelming, especially single parent families. YVAP may be able to provide emergency assistance based on need for medical treatments, dental, and travel to specialists, etc.
Local Autism Support Group meetings: YVAP holds Autism Support Group meetings in Routt and Moffat Counties. This helps spread information, provides "Think Tank" discussions, and gives a chance for families to meet and share experiences.
Public Awareness: An important aspect of YVAP is to promote awareness and disseminate accurate current information about autism. YVAP promotes public awareness through educator training, media events, publishes articles, and shares newsworthy information on the YVAP website and social media.
Yampa Valley Autism Program desperately needs funds to meet the needs of the dramatically growing autism diagnosis rates, now 1 in 68 children! Intensive early intervention provides the best opportunity for positive long term outcomes, and can completely change a person's life, but is very, very expensive. Costs can be as high as $25,000 annually for one year of ABA therapy for one child.
More children are now beginning to age into adulthood, and funds are needed for increasing numbers of young adults requiring continued intervention through young adulthood as life stages change, giving the best hope that these can maximize their potential as adults.
Yampa Valley Autism Program is exploring the possibility of acquiring a site for families with individuals on the spectrum who need meaningful daytime, or evening activities. This could also include tourist families traveling to Steamboat for vacation stays, and would be a fee for service program. The need is to find the funds to acquire a location for a service of this type.
Yampa Valley Autism Program always needs volunteers, and is currently seeking a volunteer coordinator.
Organizational History: YVAP formed in 2002 as a grassroots support group by a group of parents with a family member on the autism spectrum, then developed into an actual program in 2007. As more and more children have been diagnosed, the program has grown forming our own 501 (c) 3. We currently have a full time executive director and 2 staff persons and one part time person. In January 1, 2010, we acquired Community Cultivation, a horticultural work-ready program. In past, we had provided financial support to CC supporting our clients that attend their program. This merger has been valuable to both entities providing for less duplication of services for our older clients and expanding the population we serve to include more disabilities and youth at risk.
The Yampa Valley Autism Program is close to my heart. As a founding board member of this organization and a parent of a young man with autism, I have been deeply committed to the growth of meaningful and valuable services and programs in this wonderful community from the very beginning.
The Yampa Valley Autism Program evolved organically from a small group of parents of children with autism, who were struggling with how to obtain critical services into our small rural community. For this reason, we make every effort to design our programs and services with the direct input of both people who have autism, their families, and experts in the field of autism. We feel it is important that the population we serve has a voice within our organization, and have board and staff that includes individuals on the autism spectrum as well as parents of individuals with autism.
As the population of children identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder grows dramatically, it is extremely difficult for a small rural community like Steamboat Springs to procure enough highly qualified service providers, and to financially meet the needs of intensive, very expensive critical therapies and programs. As children with autism age into adulthood, it is imperative to provide continued services to assist individuals toward reaching their highest potential. Yampa Valley Autism Program is honored to be working to meet the needs of those with autism in an all-encompassing way. People with autism want what all people want … to be valued members of our community and society.
Yampa Valley Autism Program has been providing services to those on the autism spectrum in Routt and Moffat counties since 2002. During this time we have grown from being a grass roots advocacy group to an ever expanding advocacy and service agency. The board of directors has continually sought to increase and improve services and advocacy while always striving to improve the lives of those on the autism spectrum
YVAP is a small but very effective agency. Services are offered to anyone one on the autism spectrum making every attempt to serve the entire population in Routt and Moffat counties. Special attention is given to early intervention as research supports that the life long outcomes are so much better when adequate services are provided as early as possible. We provide speech therapy, applied behavioral analysis, social cognition for all age groups, and vocational and work ready services for teens and young adults. All have proven to be effective in creating positive outcomes for our population. The Staff and Board of Directors all have a passion for improving the lives of the individuals and families affected by autism.
"Yampa Valley Autism Program has changed my son's life! His life has been so hard, with constant meltdowns, explosive tantrums and screaming. We just couldn't seem to get through. After many different therapies with support from YVAP, he is now using language to ask for what he needs, gives hugs, and said "I love you, Mommy" for the first time. He has friends for the first time in his life, and is doing better in school. We are so grateful for the services of YVAP, we don't know where we would be without it!"
"without the Social Coaching that my son received as a teen, he would not be where he is now ... a computer engineer student going into his third year at Colorado School of Mines. Social Coaching gave him the skills to communicate and interact affectiely with his peers, professors, and clients. Thank you, YVAP!"
"My autistic son actually has a job! With YVAP's Community Cultivation Program, he practiced social skills and work responsibility to learn how to apply for a job all on his own … and he got it! He loves it, is so proud, and is a great employee. It means so much to him to be working just like everyone else"
Our group began in 2002 in the small town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado with five moms, each with a child diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. We all felt isolated, and our goal at that time was to help recruit high quality providers with up-to-date training for autism to our rural mountain community. We became a formal organization with board governance named the Yampa Valley Autism Program (YVAP) in 2004, and operated under the umbrella of a local community foundation. Initially, along with recruitment, YVAP provided respite fund reimbursement, emergency support funds, and educational support for families of children with autism. As we grew, the need for critical direct services and programming in our community became a priority, and in 2007 the program formed our own 501(c)3. In 2009, YVAP began to provide direct programming to youths with an ASD with our Community Cultivation Program, a work-ready skills program, and the Social Cognition Program for children and youths. YVAP is now the 18-21 Transition Program provider in the 3-district region. YVAP also provides ABA therapy, after-school support, autism life coaching, family support groups, advocacy, and the services continue to diversify. In 2017 YVAP has grown into an immensely more comprehensive provider from early childhood to young adulthood. We are now a Center-Based Program with a new storefront location.
We are so proud of what we have achieved, but there is still so much more that we can do!