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About Year For Change &
Deborah Skalabrin, MSW, LICSW

A Licensed, Experienced Therapist for Your Child in Spokane, WA…

Overview and Philosophy

Do you need a therapist for your child in Spokane?  I’m Deborah Skalabrin, MSW, LICSW, a licensed therapist in private practice who helps kids understand people, manage emotions, and handle disabilities like Autism.  I believe positive relationships and emotions form the center of a happy life, whether in the long-term you hope to be an ice sculptor, grocery clerk, couch tester, Lego champion, or yes…even a computer geek.  Everybody needs people. 

I work with parents, families and educators from Washington State (WA) and Idaho (ID) who care about children who have Autism or other disabilities, or who have social, emotional, or behavioral challenges.  These are tough issues with no simple answers, but as a therapist I strive to help kids and families learn where they are now, change direction if they choose, and gain specific skills and confidence to move closer to their goals.  

My practice focuses on children birth through grade school (age 12), with limited services for “tween” and teen parent-child, school, and personal responsibility issues (ages 13-17). 
Beginnings of “Year For Change”

In 1995, my child was diagnosed with special needs as an infant, beginning a roller-coaster ride of intensive Early Intervention that continued for years.  Though my child’s issues were resolved with great effort, I found myself radically changed and the course of my life altered.  My passion to help others eventually became “Year For Change” therapy for kids and families.

I believe my own struggles, victories, disappointments with “the system” and mistakes as a parent have made me a more informed and compassionate practitioner.  I also know each family’s story and needs are unique, so I try to provide individualized help and flexible therapies to support families as they journey through their own stories.

Licenses and Degrees

  • WA State Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), License #LW60034552
  • ID State Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), License #LCSW-29918
  • Master of Social Worker (MSW), Eastern Washington University, 2005

Provider Designations and Affiliations

  • Autism Therapy Provider, The Isaac Foundation, Spokane, WA
  • Behavioral Provider, WA State Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD),
    Spokane, WA
  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Member

Additional Experience, Continuing Education, and Self-Study

  • 2002 to 2003 - Child Behavior Specialist serving all Spokane childcare centers through Eastern Washington University (grant ended).
  • 1998 to Present –Courses, workshops, conferences, self-study, and/or Continuing Education in “best practice” and emerging theories/techniques to enhance my practice:
    • Therapist methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, clinical social work theory/practice/methods, ethics, psychology, and theories of personal change.
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders and related interventions such as behavior modification, Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Floortime (DIR), SCERTS, and TEACCH, (though not a certified provider in these areas). 
    • Defeat Autism Now! theory and practice, including behavioral effects on children and families using gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diets, related areas of Autism biomedical, local and national practitioners, biomedical-related research, and completed national Defeat Autism Now! conferences and taped trainings.
    • Other child disabilities and challenges, including speech and language impacts to family, ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, school challenges, and selective mutism.
    • Infancy and early childhood including typical and atypical development of children birth to age 12 (limited subjects to age 17) such as self-regulation, prematurity, daycare and media effects, behavioral inhibition, temperament, sleep, developmental care, attachment theory, and the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA) for preschoolers.
    • Social skills/friendship techniques such as Peer Buddies, Circle of Friends, selective mutism interventions, bullying interventions, and Social Stories.
    • Behavioral issues and techniques for children and teens including Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA), and homework, responsibility, self-monitoring, and parent-child relationship tools.
    • Child emotional issues such as emotional expression and control, anxiety, inflexibility, Anger Thermometer, and other techniques for emotional challenges.
    • School issues and processes such as I.F.S.P., I.E.P., and 504 Plan.

Speeches and Workshops I Have Given

I have presented to childcare providers, parents, therapists and other professionals, public and private schools, and non-profit agencies in groups of 8 to over 200.  Examples:

  • More Time, Less Work  - Quick Tips for Teachers, Stepping Stone Christian School and Childcare, Liberty Lake, WA, September 2009
  • Addressing Challenges, or Who Has Time to Teach?, Spokane Public School District 81 workshop, guest lecturer, Spokane, WA, June 2009
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder, An Overview for Social Workers, Eastern Washington University Graduate School of Social Work, guest lecturer, Cheney, WA, May, 2005
  • Behavior Challenges in Children with Special Needs, ARC of Spokane, March, 2005
  • Meeting Young Children’s Needs in a Busy World, Spokane, WA, May, 2003
  • Including Children with Special Needs in Your Family Home Childcare, ARC of Spokane, Parent to Parent Women Helping Women Grant, Spokane, WA, June, 2003
  • Up Close and Personal:  Inside an Interactive Autism Intervention, Infant and Early Childhood Conference, Yakima, WA, May, 2003
  • Child Behavior and Guidance, Individualized, Numerous Childcare Centers, Spokane, WA, January 2002 to June 2003
  • The Eyes Have It, Developing Personal Connections with Autistic-Spectrum Kids, Infant and Early Childhood Conference, Bellevue, WA, May 2001
  • Autism Interventions, McDonald Elementary, Spokane, WA, April 2001
  • Floortime, Autism Support Group, Spokane, WA, May 2000
  • Behavior Issues in Children with Special Needs, Family Services Spokane, Spokane, WA, series of classes, March 1999 to October, 2000


  • Parenting techniques for child behavior featured in The ARC of Spokane ArcLite article, “Behavior…the First…and Loudest Communication,” Spring, 2005.
  • Quoted in Spokesman Review Sunday feature, “Finding the Spark,” on successful Autism intervention, November 14, 2004.  Google “Finding the Spark.”

I love working with kids and families and look forward to meeting you and your child soon!

Need more help?  Call  (509) 448-1506 or Click to Email 

Deborah Skalabrin, MSW, LICSW

701 W. 7th Avenue, Suite 15
Spokane, WA  99204
(509) 448-1506 - Phone
(509) 624-7500 - FAX

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