YBC Mission Statement and Approach
"At Yellow Brick Clinic: Integrative ADHD, Autism & Developmental-Behavioral Pediatric Health (YBC), we are committed to providing integrative, collaborative, and personalized health care for children and youth with developmental-behavioral pediatric health needs and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome/Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (EDS/HSD). We have a vision to be a leading provider of meaningful care for the individuals we see, and think "outside of the box" with patients so that they are an integral part of their health care plans. We believe in offering traditional medical care along with Integrative Medicine options and modern technologies, such as DNA testing for genetic disorders or medication compatibility. Our goal is to help reduce barriers to provide: accessible care in the community healthcare setting; timely evaluations for developmental concerns and/or behavioral health struggles; and supportive, ongoing care with appropriate referrals for specialty services as needed."
YBC: “Helping You Change Stumbling Blocks Into Building Blocks!"
With Telehealth through the Charm Health portal, we are accessible to patients throughout Washington State. New patients are evaluated with in-depth developmental-behavioral childhood history, evaluation tools, and interaction with our Developmental-Behavioral specialized Nurse Practitioners. Since each person is a unique individual, we care for each with fresh eyes,ears, and ideas. We offer a variety of testing and/or therapy options that drive long-term goals and successful treatments.
|Yellow Brick Clinic: Integrative ADHD, Autism & Developmental-Behavioral Pediatric Health
KATHLEEN JOHNSON, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC, C-PMHS, C-PMHNP, "Dr. Kat"
Yellow Brick Clinic: Integrative ADHD, Autism & Developmental-Behavioral Pediatric Health (YBC) is a novel, community-based clinical practice that was created to offer increased access to care for people with autism and other developmental-behavioral pediatric challenges in Washington State. Our mission is to “Change Stumbling Blocks into Building Blocks” for people with developmental-behavioral challenges. Our model of care intertwines specialty-trained Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) and Telehealth to increase accessibility and offers evaluations with diagnosis, multiple therapies, including genetic testing and both pharmacologic and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) options.
The spirit of YBC was inspired in part by my young adult child with autism who told me, “Are you kidding? I hated going to clinics as a kid, I still do…the smells, the lights, all the people!” In the beginning, YBC patients were seen in a scent-free, low-lighting, wood-floored, home-like clinic space with fun toys. My daughter thought that people with autism might like the unique clinic environment and only seeing “one face” providing their care. Knowing my affinity for The Wizard of Oz, and the clinic’s proximity to “the Emerald City” (Seattle, WA), my daughter suggested the name “Yellow Brick Clinic.” With her lived experience and input, and an idea for a model of care that might increase access for care and decrease disparity, the “shingle” was hung -- literally!
YBC offers fairly short wait times, and most everyone referred or who self-refers is “screened in”, as we believe each person’s concerns are usually valid and should be at least addressed and referred when appropriate. As the clinic practice has grown, we continue to offer patients a personalized, holistic approach to care and participate in virtual IEP meetings and community-based team meetings for complex patients. Virtual YBC Team members able to understand the challenges of parenting and special needs help patients/parents with registration and scheduling. The YBC scheduling team not only manages the schedules, but also provides assistance and reassurance to incoming patients and their families. With the pandemic, this model of registration has been invaluable, and the YBC Team works well together, with each person’s input contributing directly to the workflow method. We have a culture of innovation - each individual’s perspective is valued, and team members are explicitly encouraged to bring forward their ideas and have them vetted for implementation. As a Center of Excellence for Autism, we also participate in ECHO Autism: Washington State for continuing education and professional networking.
Telehealth was implemented early on for follow-up visits to allow patients an option to reduce both travel and patient/caregiver stressors. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Telehealth quickly became the only mode for care at YBC and we adapted from using in-person developmental testing to online options and Telehealth delivery methods. Behavioral Health screening forms were also digitalized and are attached with every visit to assess for ongoing focus, worry, sadness or mood concerns. This novel model of care has now become so comfortable for all that it is here to stay! We are able to provide care from the borders of Canada to the borders of our neighboring states, and we love and learn so much about patients by making Telehealth “house calls.”
The need for autism, ADHD, and other developmental health evaluation is not just for children, so this then extended to colleged-aged youth who were questioning autism or ADHD for themselves. Many of these youth come with years of psychiatric history and failed medication trials, but may benefit from simplified care plans in the context of newly-diagnosed autism or pediatric developmental understanding. Caring for older youth patients with autism teaches us more about caring for younger children and vice versa! We have found older youth with neurodiversity often responds well when given the same medical treatments as their "10-year old selves"; rather than utilizing heavier psychiatric medication. Much of the time we opt for treating sleep, focus, or worry challenges first, making recommendations for collaborative care ideas for primary or specialty care team to continue in community health settings.
A funny thing happened on our own Yellow Brick Road, and as we cared for people with neurodiversity, it was observed that many of these patients had overlapping symptoms of connective tissue disorders, and were very "stretchy". Our patients had complaints of similar symptoms such as fatigue, panic attacks, large outbursts or tantrums, dizziness with standing, bedwetting history, pain in their joints or limbs, etc. This led the YBC providers to participate in Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome/Hypermobility Syndrome Disorders (EDS/HSD) ECHO learning collaboratives to gain additional training and understanding. As a result, YBC now has been recognized as an Ehlers-Danlos Society Center/Networks of Excellence (2023-24) and offers an integrative model of care that includes caring for children and youth with connective tissue disorders and the frequently co-occurring neurodiversity.
The YBC Team is so happy to be able to work with such wonderful, interesting, and diverse individuals and families!
Warmly, Dr. Kat, ARNP
Meet Our Developmental-Behavioral Pediatric Health Providers
Dr. Kathleen Johnson, DNP, ARNP, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC, C-PMHS
Heather Buzbee, MSN, ARNP, PMHNP-BC, CPNP-PC
Therapist Avalon Valencia, MSW, LICSW, MHP
Dr. Kathleen Johnson, DNP, ARNP, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC, C-PMHS, "Dr. Kat" (she/her), is triple board-certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), and Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist (PMHS). Dr. Kat brings special care for children through college-aged youth who face developmental-behavioral pediatric health challenges, which initially stemmed from pediatric focused nursing and parenting; she has a love of Holistic Caring, and integrative medicine seems to be a natural pairing for a developmental-behavioral specialist. Dr. Kat has specialty education that includes: University of Washington LEND Community Fellowship (Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders), ADOS-2 and STAT for autism assessment, and Continuing Education with autism, ADHD, behavioral health, functional/integrative medicine, and Ehlers-Danlos (EDS)/Joint Hypermobility Syndromes and other connective tissue disorders...because it ALL overlaps so much of the time!
Dr. Kat is currently completing the Medical Academy for Special Needs Pediatrics (MAPS) Fellowship, and is active with the Society for Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics (SDBP), NAPNAP, regional and international professional groups, and teaches Pediatrics in Community Care (with bonus Developmental and Behavioral Mental Health content!) to Family Nurse Practitioner students at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). She enjoys bringing a full spectrum of health care options together for optimal outcomes and believes every person has unique gifts. Dr. Kat has four children (3 grown!), with many years of exciting parenting experiences, strong faith in God, and a love for gardening, sailing, and dark chocolate! Something quirky about Dr. Kat is that she went to the Land of Oz Theme Park in Boone, NC as a child (and held Dorothy's hand on the Yellow Brick Road!!!) and she loves 60s and 70s music...Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) is her go-to "happy song". 🙂
Heather Buzbee, MSN, ARNP, CPNP-PC, PMHNP-BC (she/her) is dual-certified as both a pediatric and a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and is currently working on a doctorate degree in Developmental Psychology. Her PhD dissertation focuses on improving early identification of autism in female and gender non-conforming children. Heather participated in the UW LEND Fellowship, and as a part of her LEND project she has also created a decision making tool to assist primary care providers more effectively assess autism. She also has had training with the ADOS-2, CARS, and AMSE for autism assessment; RUBI therapy; and continuing education in autism, ADHD, psychopharmacology, behavioral health, gender-affirming care, EDS/JHS, and celiac disease. NP Heather first became a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at the University of Colorado, and then completed Psychiatric/Mental Health training with Johns Hopkins University. Heather is active in the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP), the Society for Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics (SDBP) and the Association of Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses (AAPPN); this includes leadership and committee roles, including being recent WA NAPNAP President; she also precepts nurse practitioner students to help them learn about giving specialized care.
NP Heather has been working in healthcare for over 20 years, with 17 + in pediatrics, and loves working with neurodiverse children and their families. In addition to autism, ADHD, and pediatric mental health, Heather also has experience with Ehlers-Danlos(EDS)/Joint Hypermobility Syndromes, gender-affirming care, and celiac disease, and has participated in continuing education on each of these topics. She blends honesty with being empathetic as she works towards a holistic approach of care with her patients, helping them to be an active part of their own care plan. Heather has three hilarious neurodiverse children and two silly cats. She loves reading, visiting state and national parks, baking, and making spreadsheets (YBC LOVES Heather's Ninja Spreadsheet Skills, they are a Superpower!). Something quirky about Heather… friends have nicknamed her ‘The Meme Queen’, since she always has a Meme to brighten their day! 🙂
Therapist Avalon Valencia, MSW, LICSW, MHP (she/her) is a mental health counselor who has experience and love for working with people with neurodiversity. Avalon gained her education at University of Washington, taking leadership positions to bring more awareness to those who were under-represented and then pursued her Master's in Social Work and became a licensed mental health counselor. She has had years of working with students in public school settings as a care coordinator and high school therapist, with many of the teens having ADHD and autism. Avalon has trained and is credentialed with Trauma Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. She also has a special interest with EDS/JHS and understands how these connective tissue disorders are intertwined with behavioral health challenges.
Avalon will be seeing youth aged 15-25 years part-time virtually with YBC starting in Summer 2023. She is currently being contracted with insurances and when services are available the YBC Website will be updated.
*Please have PCPs refer to Avalon with a FAX to 833-631-6941; incoming patients will be triaged case by case according to age, provider availability and insurance panel capacities. Something quirky about Avalon is ...TBD! 🙂
If YBC can be part of your wellness team, please have your PCP/Pediatrician FAX a referral to 833-631-6941
Once our Administration Team receives the faxed referral the patient will be entered into Charm Health EHR, and patients will be invited to register in Charm. *Patients with only Medicaid insurance will be added to the YBC Registration Waitlist and invited to register as new appointments open (YBC reserves 20% of patient services for patients with Medicaid).
Please be patient and kind with the YBC Team as we are all working remotely to serve families in the Pacific Northwest!
- YBC Phone: 425-777-5467
- Dr. Kat's Cell: 425-736-9609 (for providers, or difficulty with logging into virtual visit)
- Fax: 833-631-6941