I knew something wasn’t quite right with our son Cooper from about 18 months old, but whether it was my lack of experience with developmental disabilities or simply a bit of denial, I kept believing that he was just a little behind on hitting his milestones. I thought he would eventually catch up to his peers. When I heard the developmental pediatrician finally diagnose Cooper with “autism,” it quickly made sense of everything I had been seeing. I felt numb. What did it mean for his life? What could be done to fix it? It didn’t take long before I picked us both up and got moving to figure out what needed to be done.
After a lot of research, waiting lists, advice and referrals I was able to get Cooper the help he needed. It was a long path of years of therapy, IEPs, meetings, tears (both his and ours) but he became an amazing young man who has conquered the challenges he faced growing up. When our youngest Decker came along and we saw a lot of the same delays and behaviors Cooper showed at the same age, we immediately took him in for evaluation and subsequent treatment. I recall an overwhelming sense of sadness that our littlest guy would face the same obstacles and challenges that his brother had faced. The difference with Decker was that I felt better equipped because I had been through the process. As they say, this was not my first rodeo and I knew how to advocate for our little boy.
I have thought a lot about the paths I have traversed with each of our boys. Trying to get all therapists talking and working together to reach the common goal of the best life possible for our sons. For parents, it can be overwhelming, isolating and riddled with guilt. Not too long ago, an idea was born.
I knew I wanted to help families in obtaining their speech, occupational and feeding therapy in a less stressful environment. A place where therapists can work together to meet the needs of the child in a collaborative manner. Where kids can feel positive about themselves and walk out of our clinic feeling like they have accomplished something.
The challenges our children face can often leave them feeling sad, isolated and alone. At Sky Bridge we want to provide them with the best therapists, a positive atmosphere and a place where parents can relax as their children make strides toward progress. My greatest hope is that families walk into a place where therapists can work together to meet the needs of the child in a collaborative manner. Where kids can feel positive about themselves and walk out of our clinic feeling like they have accomplished something.
I moved from New York to Washington in 2013 with my husband, Shane and dog, Corona. Both mine and Shane’s personal and professional lives are richly fulfilled through service to others. Shane, a Captain in the United States Army, has enjoyed a dynamic military career as an Artillery Officer, serving in multiple units on Joint Base Lewis McChord. His most recent assignment brought us to Fort Sill, Oklahoma where Shane was responsible for instructing new Lieutenants and preparing them to be future leaders in the Army. I have been practicing as a speech-language pathologist since 2013 and feel truly lucky to have been welcomed into the lives of so many amazing children and families. I am excited to be able to offer the local community these much-needed speech and occupational therapy services.
Having experienced the lifestyle of a military spouse (several moves, changes in jobs, time-away from spouse), I feel personally motivated to give back to military families and the supporting community.
Shane and I are excited to be back in Washington where we can continue our service to others while enjoying all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
The Cochrans give thanks to Tom Vertetis and his family for their support of the vision that is Sky Bridge Therapies.
Tom is a law partner of Darrell and former colleague of Wendy at Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala law firm in Tacoma. Tom partnered with the Cochrans in purchasing, renovating and opening the building in which Sky Bridge Therapies helps families each day. Tom is a passionate advocate for the rights of children with disabilities, and has focused a great deal of his time in his legal work advocating strongly for laws that benefit and protect this population. As the father of a son with autism, he has a deep understanding of the power of therapy and the positive impact it has on a child when collaborative efforts are made between treatment providers.
Sky Bridge Therapies thanks Tom for his compassion, kindness and support of children with special needs in our community.