About Us

Northwest Autism Center is a federally approved nonprofit 501c(3) organization established in 2003 through the grassroots efforts of the Spokane community under the guidance of Dawn Sidell, RN, Executive Director.  Services through our community connections program include free screenings for Autism Spectrum Disorder and providing information and resource referrals to families and providers.  Direct services offered include a day treatment clinic, community based Applied Behavioral Analysis provided on-site and in-home and speech and language therapy. Individualized, data-based treatment is coordinated and supervised by a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who is qualified to address socially significant skills in a variety of settings and is licensed with the Department of Health. Further, our Behavior Analysts provide families with ongoing training and support and collaborate with other service providers to assist with coordination of care.  We also offer opportunities for university student practicum and internship positions and supervision hours for Board Certified Behavior Analysis (BCBA) candidates.  Community trainings, educational workshops, and consultations are regularly provided covering a wide variety of topics across a broad spectrum of disciplines (education, healthcare, law enforcement, dentistry, family impact, civic progress, etc.).  Northwest Autism Center is deeply committed to advocacy efforts improving policy development; participating in local, state, and federal committees relevant to the cause of improving services and resources. 

A Letter from the executive director

Dear Friends,

It is still amazing to me how a need and an idea can grow into a service and an organization! Since 2003, Northwest Autism Center has blossomed from a virtual site with a phone to an integrated community provider of education, service and information for Spokane and the surrounding region.

That we’ve gotten from there to here is largely because of you.  No amount of words can adequately thank our community partners, volunteers, staff, board members, donors, legislators,  and countless others who have given so generously of their time and expertise to bring this organization to life.

Northwest Autism Center is rooted in the Inland Northwest, believing that communities are where effective service development begins.
But our growth has also taken new trajectories, aligned with community partners, and fed by the understanding that in order to bring change in our region, we need to change the way our state and indeed our nation views the needs and the rights of all.

Autism continues to be the “orphan” diagnosis.
What is it? Where does it belong? Whose responsibility is it? At one level, the answers are simple: a little of everything, everywhere, and everyone! Our mission, then, is to model a responsiveness that is both effective and replicable.  To build societal understanding and stakeholder investment requires service models with tangible impact on community members. Only then can we transition from a largely state supported approach to one incorporated within existing and evolving systems of coverage and care.  Unfortunately, when it comes to the disorder of autism, it doesn’t matter how much money you have; you can’t find help or get on a waiting list for help, if the help does not exist.

We truly appreciate your encouragement  and investment in Northwest Autism Center as we build a regional center of integrated services for those affected by autism. Our expression of thanks will come in the form of improved independence,  functioning, community integration, and quality of life for those living with autism and their families.

With your continued help, we will continue to reach every child and every adult where they live.


Dawn Sidell, RN
Executive Director

Why choose us


Improving community support and connection through partnerships, education and awareness

Interprofessional Education

Providing learning opportunities across disciplines for university students, faculty, and practicing professionals to improve collaboration and quality of care.


Contributing key values, ideas and information to local, state, and national debates on caring for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.


Providing and building evidence based direct treatment services for individuals and

Administrative team

We are committed to reach every child and adult in a continuum of settings through a strong community outreach program and on-site service provision. We provide an on-going commitment to research and data collection to promote evidence-based best practice methods for the treatment and intervention services we provide. In addition, we conduct education and training for health care providers, parents, and school district staff in all applicable areas. Northwest Autism Center also works with local universities and colleges to provide student internships and practicum experiences, and with area businesses to promote appropriate supported employment opportunities. Like the individuals and families we serve, we collaborate with our neighbors, becoming an essential component in building a healthy community. If you’d like to join the team, check out our current openings!

Dawn Sidell

Executive Director & Founder

Susan Polon

Finance Director

Stephen Sykora

LBA School Program Supervisor

Jordan Longacre

Marketing  & Media Manager

Patricia Cruz

Human Resources

Thomas Nelson

Information Technology

Board of Directors

Dawn Sidell

Executive Director & Founder

Lara Hemingway,

Board President

Kristin Schimmels

Board Vice President

Scott Opperud, CPA

Board Treasurer

Angela Johnstone

Siri Ashworth, PE, SE

Ben Richardson

Tyler Vinson

Bill Gross

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528 E Spokane Falls Blvd Suite 14 Spokane, WA 99202

Call Us

(509) 328-1582 Mon - Thu, 8:00-4:30, Fri 9:30-2:30

Cancellations: (509) 204-8483

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