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Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist Now On CRMC Staff

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist Now On CRMC Staff

Cookeville Regional’s Kayla Sircy has earned her Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist certification.

Sircy is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist. Sircy said some 90 percent of the kids she works with daily have autism. She said she learned play-based learning mechanisms that help these children meet their goals and function in their daily lives.

“It’s just a great need in society today to have resources for these families that address those needs and provide the support that they need to be able to go to school and complete their daily tasks like getting dressed and brushing their teeth and doing things that make them healthy,” Sircy said.

Sircy said one in five people is neurodivergent. She said whether those people are on the autism spectrum or suffer from ADD and similar disorders, they often learn and connect differently than other people. She said she will continue to meet with each child weekly for up to a year, now with more tools to help them grow.

“I learned a lot of intervention strategies that are play-based and neuro-affirming to really help my kiddos on the autism spectrum meet their goals,” Sircy said.

She said she learned a technique called “DIR floor time,” which focuses on helping neurodivergent kids build connections. She said children with autism still desire connection, they just seek it in ways that differ from what others may be used to.

“Joining into their play really goes a long way with them developing a relationship with you,” Sircy said. “And then them trusting you to help them, you know, meet those high-level skills, like handwriting and buttoning and teeth brushing and things like that, that take a lot of trust for them to be able to work on with you.”

Sircy said she saw a need for these learning and intervention strategies in her patients and decided to pursue a deeper knowledge of how to help families guide their neurodivergent children in a positive direction. She said she took 18 hours of continuing education and sat for an exam to earn the certification.


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