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   First Steps Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities       “Because every 10,000 Mile Journey Begins with the First Step.”​

  Executive Director Brandi Lindstrom is the mom of two boys who experience autism, and another who experiences a communication disorder. The feelings of being completely overwhelmed mixed with feelings of loneliness and lack of support from others is what fueled her decision to volunteer for The Autism Society of Oregon for almost 10 years. During that time, she worked professionally in the Mental health Field while completing her bachelor’s degree in Human Services. While she enjoyed and appreciated the time and experience, she gained from working with ASO, she felt that there was more that she could do for her local community. With a bit of brainstorming, research and support from family and friends, she founded First Steps. Brandi is excited to step into the Executive Director role and help this organization shine by providing the support and resources to the families in Clatsop County who need it the most.

Board President Tiffany Sanford has worked professionally with individuals in the autistic community and their families for over a decade and strives to keep learning and unlearning in order to be a better teacher, advocate, colleague, sister, auntie, and friend. She is passionate about the movement toward neurodivergent affirming practices and the acceptance and celebration of all humans being their authentic selves. She currently resides in Astoria, OR and works as an early childhood special education teacher in an inclusive preschool program and serves students and families in the community

​Liz Visser is passionate about supporting her community, especially children and families.  Her educational background is in human and family development, early intervention, elementary education, and special education. She is going into her 6th year as a special education teacher at Lewis and Clark Elementary.  Before joining the Astoria School District she was a Head Start area supervisor working in Clatsop, Tillamook, and Columbia county. Liz and her family have been a part of the Astoria community since 2010 and spend most of their time at the beach or in the woods with their dog Captain.

Becky Shinn is a mom to three daughters, one of them being autistic with other developmental disabilities. She is a personal support worker, home care worker, and advocate. Her passion is helping others live their daily lives to their full potential and finding joy in everyday life. She comes to this organization out of a desire to help form community and inclusion among disabled adults in Clatsop County. Becky is thrilled to join First Steps, knowing this group is a much needed asset to our area.

Carmine Allee is a longtime community member and business manager in the fast food industry. Through her time working with individuals who experience special needs, as well as the experience of being a step-parent of a child on the autism spectrum her eyes were opened to the fact that there was a lack  of support and services for families who have children that experience special needs that needed to be addressed. She was happy to jump into the board of directors and hopes to be helpful in providing some much needed support to the Clatsop County Special Needs community..

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Carli Holland has been in the financial world for 12 years, and has years of experience as a treasurer on multiple Board of Directors. She is a self advocate and is also a mother to two children who are on the autism spectrum. Carli has a deep passion to help support individuals and families within the non-verbal community. She is excited to learn more about the families in Clastop County and how we can serve them. She is new to the area but has loved the beach her entire life. She is excited to support this organization and all of the families. 

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 Ashley Marks is our youth navigator!

Ashley was born and raised in Clatsop County. A mother of three with a mission. A mission to become a better parent to her children with developmental disabilities, to be an advocate for all children with disabilities. Striving to make sure no parent or child feels lost and alone as she once did without proper community support or guidance. During these years she took it upon herself to learn systems, traumas and behaviors with online schooling. Always passionate to learn and grow to expand knowledge and territories. In her free time she travels to help other women and children escape DV and addiction cycles. She stands on the foundation that communication, love and acceptance is key to the first step towards a healthy relationship.

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Ashley Marks is our youth navigator!

Ashley was born and raised in Clatsop County. A mother of three with a mission. A mission to become a better parent to her children with developmental disabilities, to be an advocate for all children with disabilities. Striving to make sure no parent or child feels lost and alone as she once did without proper community support or guidance. During these years she took it upon herself to learn systems, traumas and behaviors with online schooling. Always passionate to learn and grow to expand knowledge and territories. In her free time she travels to help other women and children escape DV and addiction cycles. She stands on the foundation that communication, love and acceptance is key to the first step towards a healthy relationship.

 Ashley Thompson is our center coordinator.

Ashley Thompson has worked in the neurodivergent community for 14 years and she is excited to get involved in a new capacity. Ashley has a background working in pediatric healthcare. She is passionate about understanding individuals and accepting people as they are. She is new to Clatsop County and motivated to get involved. Ashley is a wife, proud aunt, animal lover, forever student, and enjoys traveling.

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