Lori Frederick, Executive Director
Board Certified Cognitive and Autism Specialist
At 18 months old my son, Griffin, stopped talking and looking at us. He was still a lovable little toddler, but there was something different. We started searching for answers and after almost 2 years of being told that he didn't fit the Autism Profile, we diagnosed him ourselves. It wasn't too long before our developmental pediatrician agreed with us. Though we had a diagnosis on paper, we still didn't have any new information on how to help our special little boy. We continued to search the internet, talk to other families, try everything thrown at us in forms of diets and therapies. We stuck him with needles, forced him to stop stimming, anything to try and make him "normal".
We were clueless! Griffin's doctors and therapists would tell us that he is "right there", so why can't we get through to him? Finally we stumbled across the Autism Center of America © website and called for the free video. Watching those documentaries we realized that it was almost too good to be true.
Over the next few years we were able to attend classes in Massachusetts multiple times. Through our training we built a team of volunteers and watched as our son grew and began talking and interacting with us. Griffin is part of the Broken Arrow Schools Autism Program where he loves playing with his friends and learning. He is so close to being almost fully recovered!
Through friends and volunteers, the story of Griffin quickly spread as more families were needing information on autism therapies. We spent countless hours talking to parents and caregivers. We were invited to speaking events at local universities with other therapists and teachers sharing our knowledge. We continued our training and experimented with ideas in the classrooms, homes, and therapy practices. Overtime, we started being asked to run programs and give training for others.
We knew there was more that we could do for our community and felt it was time for our team to take it to the next level. In conjunction with our training, our experience, and our education we developed The Griffin Promise Autism Clinic.
Our mission is to help other families and offer them guidance and HOPE for their journey!!!! This program is worth it and we would love to help.
Whether you are looking for autism information, therapy solutions, want to be a volunteer, want to donate, or need training we are happy to be a part of your journey!
Our Amazing Team
Stephanie Barton, Director of Therapy Services
My name is Stephanie Barton and I have been a Speech Language Pathologist for 14 years. I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself and share a little of my history that has brought me to where I am today. I served as lead Speech Pathologist at Hillcrest Children’s Medical Center Developmental Pediatrics Clinic from 2006 to 2010. I worked almost exclusively with children diagnosed with Autistic Disorder.
In 2007 I met a very special family; Lori and Greg Frederick and their son Griffin. He was a beautiful child that appeared to be physically normal. Griffin had been referred by one of our developmental pediatricians. Upon meeting him for the first time, I knew that something wasn't quite right. He was smart and could identify pictures, items by color, and assemble puzzles with ease. However, he was rigid, isolated, and had some oddities of motor behavior. It wasn't much longer after I started treating Griffin that the doctor finally diagnosed him with Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and then eventually Autistic Disorder. I wasn't surprised, but had hoped for something different. I knew that treatment with these kids required intensive sessions that would continue for a long time, progress would be slow, and therapy was rigorous. Griffin was non-verbal, didn't interact or play imaginatively with toys, and engaged in odd motor behaviors that were repetitive. He was not toilet trained and he used his parents as an extension of himself to meet his needs. During treatment sessions with griffin, I tried all my tricks to get him to talk: modeling, with-holding items, oral motor prodding and manipulation, mandatory interaction with toys and games of my choice. None of my approaches worked. My treatment approaches failed to make any changes in Griffin. I wanted to help him, but didn't know how.
Lori and Greg continued to research Autism to find other available resources and treatments to help him. They visited a variety of doctors and endured diet changes and chelation among other things. One day at our therapy session, Lori told me about the Son-Rise approach to Autism. I had heard of it, but didn't know anything about it. Lori was excited and optimistic that she had found something that would actually work. I was initially reluctant to believe that there was anything out there that could resolve autism symptoms, but was hopeful that she had found an answer. She immediately started raising money to send Greg and herself to the Autism Treatment Center of America©. They attended the start-up program in Massachusetts and immediately implemented strategies upon returning. They continued to visit my clinic once a week which I was grateful for because I had grown quite fond of that little guy. Lori and Greg shared all the information that they had learned, and I too implemented the same approach every week when I saw Griffin. It was amazing how fast he started to change, almost overnight. Griffin started to communicate with words and interact with us for brief periods. His affect was dynamic at times and he learned to use the potty too. I couldn't believe that I was seeing a miracle take place right before my eyes.
Lori and The Griffin Promise team raised money to send me to Massachusetts to learn the son-rise approach. I went to the start-up course and began implementing the approach in my sessions and sharing information with other families. I loved all the changes that I saw in my clients. I noticed that the more involvement from the caregivers and through this approach the more growth we would see in these children. Over the next few years, I went on to work both in a school setting and at another clinic. I used the training and my experience together to work with my clients, but found that the set up of the session rooms and the time constraints made the treatments less effective.
Children’s Medical Center has since closed its doors and left many families with one less place to take their child for help. But not for long, The Griffin Promise is opening our facility in 2014 to meet the ever growing needs and challenges that these families face. I am more than excited to be returning to my passion; offering hope and love to children and families dealing with autism. With a supportive team, training, and resources at your fingertips, you too can be equipped to help your child on their journey of growth and recovery.
Lead Speech Pathologist & Volunteer Director
In January 2009 I began volunteering with a special young boy, Griffin Frederick, in his in-home Son-Rise® therapy program. Upon meeting Griffin I was immediately attached to his sweet, innocent demeanor and I knew that I needed to be a part of his journey. When I began playing with Griffin he had less than 50 words, but he quickly progressed and was soon playing simple games and interacting with us in ways that doctors had said he would never be able to. Griffin and I quickly became inseparable. We became more than friends, he was like my brother.
In December of 2009 Griffin’s parents invited me to accompany them to their intensive training program at the Autism Treatment Center of America™ in Massachusetts. This training confirmed my passion and love for these perfect children on the spectrum.
After volunteering with Griffin for over a year and attending the training in Massachusetts, I knew that I needed a profession where I worked with children on the spectrum on a daily basis. After speaking with Griffin’s mother, Lori Frederick, and Stephanie Barton, who was Griffin’s Speech Pathologist at the time. I was directed to the field of Speech Language Pathology. Immediately I enrolled in the program and began working on my degree.
During my undergraduate career, I began working with two young brothers in their home therapy program. In a short time I fell in love with them and eventually became their schedule coordinator for other volunteers and myself. Lori helped me to train their family and volunteers so they could begin utilizing some SonRise© principles in the program. Like Griffin, the boys quickly began making progress. Their grandmother and father wanted to learn more and decided to attend a training program at The Autism Treatment Center of America™ in Massachusetts to further their education on this approach and help the boys reach their fullest potential.
I continued to volunteer with Griffin every Monday night for three years until I moved away for school in 2011. While I was away I continued to work with The Griffin Promise Non-Profit by participating in fundraising and speaking. The Griffin Promise Autism Clinic opened in June 2014 which was perfect timing for me to complete my externship experience at the clinic. I graduated with my Master’s Degree in May 2015 and immediately came on staff to join the team.
I continue to learn new things each day with these brilliant children. They often teach me more than I feel I teach them. As a therapist here at the clinic, I look forward to working with you and helping your family on your journey.
Rashana Edmonds, Office Manager
I started as a volunteer at the clinic Sept 1 2015. My family & I had moved to Oklahoma the year before. I wasn't quite ready to go back to work but I needed to do something. I answered an ad online looking for a volunteers . I knew almost immediately that The Griffin Promise was where I was meant to be . I really liked the people that worked there & I love all the kids. I love being the 1st person the kids see when they come in the door. Thanks for letting me be part of your journey.
I joined the Griffin Promise Autism Clinic in May of 2016. I was born and raised in Japan, and first came to the United States to attend the University of Tulsa in 1991 as an international student. Next I attended the University of Hawaii and returned to Japan in 1999 only to realize that I wanted to be back in the states.
In 2009 I gave birth to my son who was born with Down Syndrome. I realized I needed a career change to provide for him and speech-language pathology seemed like a good field. It meshed my life-long interest in language and luckily NSU had a speech-language pathology program.
I graduated with a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology in 2014. I spent the first 2 years of my career in the education system but I am particularly grateful that the Griffin Promise gave me the opportunity to be a part of this truly dedicated team. Each day offers different challenges and humbling experiences, and I look forward to coming to the clinic every day. The relationships I am able to build with each child and their family truly give me joy in my life.
I joined The Griffin Promise Team first as a volunteer in 2015 and then as their behavioral health therapist in 2018. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I attended Oklahoma State University for both my undergraduate and master degrees. In my past work experience, clients would be referred to me for “behavior” problems then as I would work with the client and their families, it seemed to me their presenting problems were more than just “behavior”. I found The Griffin Promise and began my journey of learning how autism, speech-language disorders, and sensory sensitivities could also be contributing to behavior issues. I have completed both the Son-Rise Parent and Educator programs and continue to learn as I work with the kids and families of those affected by autism.
Play Facilitator/Office Assistant
My journey with The Griffin Promise began in the summer of 2019. What I thought would be just another volunteer experience quickly turned into me discovering where I'm meant to be. I was recently hired as a play facilitator and office assistant and I love every single second of it! I am currently earning my bachelor's degree in psychology from Northeastern State University in hopes of becoming a behavioral therapist for the clinic in the near future. I am so lucky to be able to work in an environment where everyone else shares the same love and passion for these amazing kids.
I’m a play facilitator here at The Griffin Promise. I’m a graduate of Bixby High School and currently in college working towards my degree in Clinical Psychology. My goal is to continue to work with pediatrics and special needs throughout my career. My journey in this field has not been as long as some of the others in my wonderful work family but I am so excited to be a part of each child's life that my path may cross.
My name is Destiny Newbold. I am currently working towards my Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders with the goal of becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist. The inspiration for this goal was my nephew. From the moment my sister found out she was pregnant with him, he and I shared a special bond. To this day he calls me his “Honey,” and if I am around, I am the person he wants to be attached to. We noticed that he had some developmental delays, so we started asking questions and researching. Countless trips to the doctor, testing, and many other things followed. After years of being told that “she may not know what she was talking about,” my sister finally received a diagnosis for my nephew. At first, we weren’t sure what to do or where to turn. Our precious little boy was still there along with his love for Legos, Minecraft, sharks, and superheroes (mostly Batman), but we now knew of the challenges he faced daily. We worked with him as much as we could in our own way, and my sister advocated for him in school. Since that time, he has received speech-pathology treatments and has an IEP in place, which have helped him blossom in school and in life. After going through all of this with my nephew and sister, I wanted to be able to make a difference in other people’s lives. I did some researching and asked around, and came to the conclusion that Speech Pathology was the field I wanted to be in. It brings me joy to be a part of something greater than myself and to help children like my nephew. Thank you for letting me be a part of your family’s journey.
Hello, my name is April Lewis and I have been a speech language pathologist since graduating with my Master’s degree from the University of Tulsa in 1999. During undergraduate and graduate school, I worked with children with autism in their home/school therapy programs and developed a passion for these children and their families. After graduate school, my career took me on a different path in the area of speech language pathology; however I always had a yearning and interest to one day work again with the autism population. This continued interest led me to The Griffin Promise and I started working here in January 2019. I love the concepts and therapy approaches we utilize here at The Griffin Promise. The staff are truly one of a kind and genuinely care and love these children. I am so grateful to be working here and it’s an honor to be a part of these amazing children and their families’ lives.
Hello, my name is Krista Nissen and I recently received my Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from NSU. I joined The Griffin Promise team in June of 2019 for my Clinical Fellowship. When starting out my undergraduate degree at OSU, I was fully aware that my primary aspiration was to work with kids, but I wasn’t completely sure in what capacity. Early on, I search for anything that would lead to a career working with children and found speech pathology. I knew I wanted to work with pediatrics and from the beginning I was hooked. Starting out those years ago, I loved the idea that there are so many areas where I could make a positive impact and create a difference for children and their families.
The biggest reason I love what I do is because I truly feel the most powerful thing people possess is their ability to communicate. Being able to communicate connects you to the people and places around you and I enjoy being a bridge for those connections. Having worked with many children on the spectrum throughout my graduate program, I embraced every little victory along the way and loved watching them add up. Moments like a few seconds of eye contact, grabbing my hand and pointing me in the direction of the object they wanted, allowing me to sit next to them and join in on what they were doing, were all major hurdles accomplished and made me feel proud of those amazing kids and what I was doing. Kids on the spectrum have a need to communicate just like the rest of us, they just need a little more support to make it happen. I am excited to have the opportunity to be a part of that growth.
When looking for a position that would align with my interests and goals as a speech pathologist, The Griffin Promise came highly recommended due to its atmosphere and mission. Now that I am here, I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this inspiring team. What stands out most when entering the building is just how friendly and passionate everyone is, as well as the eagerness each of them has for continued learning to ensure that every child and family that enters is successful as individuals and as families. I love witnessing these children’s unique abilities, smartness and possibilities being exposed in every daily little victories and I am so proud and excited to be a part of this team.
My name is Sara Wilcox and I've been a Speech-Language Pathologist for 2 years now. I previously worked in the school system until the Griffin Promise Autism clinic became my new and exciting journey.
When obtaining my Bachelor's degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Northeastern State University, I became increasingly interested in the autism spectrum. I volunteered at the Griffin Promise Autism Clinic in 2014. Next, I obtained my Master's degree of Speech-Language Pathology. Things really came full circle for me when I found myself back to where I first began exploring my interests. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to be in an environment I am truly passionate about.
My name is Emily Vernon and I have been an occupational therapist since 2011 and worked in pediatrics for the majority of that time. I love the variety and challenges that children give me day to day, there is never a boring day. Children on the Autism spectrum have always been some of my favorite to work with because the range of needs vary and just the smallest victories are huge steps. I can not wait to engage and learn from the children at Griffin Promise.
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
I love being apart of The Griffin Promise because everyone has the same passion, to assist kids in being their best possible self
Dr. Robert Thompson, SLP (Consultant)
Dr. Robert Thompson earned his Ph. D in Communication Disorders at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and has been a prominent professional in eastern Oklahoma in pediatric programs. He specializes in autism (ASD), Selective Mutism, and language disorders in Pre-K children; he uses play therapy techniques and involves parents and caregivers in diagnosis and treatment.
His professional history includes Director of Speech-Language and Audiology at Tulsa Children’s Medical Center (16 years), consultant, Children’s Medical Center at Hillcrest MC (5 years), and consultant to the Pediatric Department at the Cherokee Nation W. W. Hastings Hospital (12 years) in Tahlequah.
Dr. Thompson as been a board member with our Clinic since it’s formation in 2014. and currently assists the director, and clinicians with select patients, parent training, and counseling.