A Letter from the Executive Director

Dawn Sidell Founder and 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