About Spectra Centers
Our mission is to bring forward the unique talents, abilities and personalities of neurodiverse individuals so they can lead meaningful and rewarding lives.
Yes, we can.
Play well with others.
Make time; be present.
Work hard; play hard.
Pioneering a unified approach to care that conquers barriers, dissolves stigma, and dramatically impacts an individual’s ability to live a fulfilling and purposeful life.
We often take light for granted. We assume it will brighten each coming day, or that all light is the same. However, light is unique. It comes in different colors, wavelengths, and shines with varying intensity. Some types of light are invisible to our naked eye. That doesn’t mean it isn’t shining. At Spectra Centers we appreciate the light within every individual. Some light needs coaxing in order to radiate brightly, other times it reveals itself in new and unexpected ways. We unite to do the hard work to make sure every light is seen. After all, how could we learn to appreciate light if it weren’t for moments of darkness?
When I opened our doors in 2003, I started with a couple of staff, a handful of clients, and a mission to change the world. That part of me – the dreamer and the believer – has never skipped a beat (and if it did, it was likely because I was off elsewhere working on another exciting idea while my current projects were “simmering”!).
Although I haven't changed the world, I’ve changed some lives – my own included. Our team has helped change the shape of behavioral treatment and educational services for our communities over the past couple of decades. Our story is a unique one and I’m grateful to have held a few of the many bright color crayons that illustrated pictures along the way…
Most of us have that moment, that client, or our own child that turns on the light for us. I fell in love with autism as soon as I read about its “unsolvable, dangerous, and threatening ways” in my undergraduate psychology class. Not possible. Autism, meet the Believer and the Dreamer. It was Joshua, the darling boy that could initiate a handful of spontaneous words, complete any puzzle (likely in the dark with his eyes closed), and provide a scientific name for every animal known to man, that helped me build my treatment model.
My vision came together as the raindrops fell one dark afternoon in Washington and I was pondering how to expand his eating repertoire to include a single grain of rice. Seventeen bites into that grain of rice (oh yes, 17!), I was thinking to myself that it would have been wonderful to collaborate with his Occupational Therapist for a couple of good tips and then add this goal to other therapists' sessions for increased opportunities to help pick up the turtle-like pace. It would also be great to have his Speech Pathologist work on teaching him to say “No thanks” before I introduce the next type of food for his repertoire and he wants to toss a chair. Teamwork! As the rain continued to fall and the grain of rice somehow managed to survive each of his nibbles, I sat at the table and began to fill in the necessary components of what would eventually become the Interdisciplinary Intervention Model (II Model).
I had just returned to my home state of Colorado and was about to become one of only three Center-based facilities in the Denver metro area. I was ready. I had spent years dreaming of a “new and better” treatment model where clinicians would sit together, speak the same language, and focus on how to collectively treat all aspects of their clients. Collaboration rarely came easily. Communication was challenging. Data was, at best, difficult. Few of us used the same clinical lingo, let alone agreed on goals. Common practice was (and still often is) that each professional treats their respective portion of the child according to discipline. That is to say, one might expect a child to check his “naughty behavior” at the door so that Speech, OT, or Education services can begin. It simply doesn't work that way – and I was ready to offer something different.
Since its inception, the II Model has served many individuals and their families. I have been privileged to travel and speak on the Model. Professionals have come from all over the world with an interest in learning more about our comprehensive approach and what collaboration among disciplines might look like.
It is with great pride that I welcome you to Spectra Centers where you’ll find a wonderful mix of innovation, intelligence, and determination – along with our passionate team members. It is also with great humility that I extend my gratitude for the opportunity to serve you and yours.
Thank you for being here and welcome to the Spectra family!
~ Amy K. Gearhard, M.S., BCBA
CEO / Founder