The Cherokee Nation contributes financially to the Griffin Promise Autism Clinic and recently announced a partnership with the Pervasive Parenting Center to launch the Cherokee Nation Autism Initiative. The announcement was made by Senior Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. when he officially proclaimed April 2022 Autism Awareness Month in the Cherokee Nation.
“Deputy Chief Warner and I have had many conversations about how we need to improve our health care system to support those on the autism spectrum and their families,” Hoskin said. “Here in the Cherokee Nation, it’s important that we learn how to better help people facing challenges that may be different from our own. That’s why I’m thrilled about our efforts with the Pervasive Parenting Center for the Cherokee Nation Autism. Initiative. Help us improve and expand the services we currently offer.”
The Pervasive Parenting Center is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to families in eastern Oklahoma affected by autism and other developmental disabilities.
The center partners with the Cherokee Nation’s HERO Project through the Tribe’s Behavioral Health Department, and the HERO Project provides counseling and support services to families with children from birth to 21 who are citizens of a tribe recognized by the federal government.
As part of the tribe’s partnership with the Pervasive Parenting Center, the center will provide training to the Cherokee Nation Early Childhood Unit, Child Development Center, Immersion School staff Cherokee, as well as elementary and secondary schools. It also provides resources to professional staff and parents of children with autism and will act as the Cherokee Nation’s ongoing behavioral health resource on a consultation basis. The partnership will also provide autism screenings for children and support groups for parents and caregivers.
“The first step to improving this area in our health care system is understanding,” Deputy Senior Chief Bryan Warner said. “That’s why I’m excited about our partnership with the Pervasive Parenting Center. I believe that with their help, there will be a better understanding in some areas that we may not know. When we all have a better understanding autism and people on the spectrum, it will help us become better advocates across the Cherokee Nation reservation.”
The Griffin Promise Autism Clinic, whose mission is to provide hope and resources to people with autism and their caregivers, also received a $2,000 contribution from the Cherokee Nation as part of recognition by the Autism Awareness Month tribe.