Traditional foods for a healthy community

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

On the evening of Wednesday November 8, the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy Gym was filled with excited Tulalip community members as they eagerly waited for the Traditional Foods and Medicine for the Family class to begin. The class is the second in a series of six that is hosted by the Tulalip Diabetes Prevention and Care Program. During the course of each three-hour class, attendees learn the importance of traditional Coast Salish foods such as deer, elk, berries, tea, salmon and shellfish; and also the uses of a variety of medicinal plants. The Diabetes Program assembled an all-star team to present these teachings to the people of Tulalip.

“We were really just looking for the right educators to come work with us, teachers who have the same diabetes focus but have an alternative approach to traditional types of diabetic care,” explains Diabetes Care and Prevention Coordinator, Veronica ‘Roni’ Leahy. “We know Elise Krohn, she used to work at Northwest Indian College and she worked with the Diabetes Prevention Program. A lot of community members are familiar with Elise as well as Valarie Seacrest, they started a new company called GRuB – Garden Raised Bounty. We hired her and her team to do a series of six classes for us. They touch on diabetes, but they also touch on the traditional aspect of food and the health of those foods.”

The Diabetes Program brings in the Lushootseed Department to start each class with a traditional Tulalip song and blessing. Community members are treated to a meal catered by local tribal-member owned business, Ryan’s Rez-ipes. While preparing the meals for each class, Ryan caters the menu to the class attendees who are living with diabetes. Per Roni’s request, Ryan created three homemade salad dressings, low-sugar and diabetic friendly, which were an instant crowd favorite.

While enjoying the healthy dinner, all eyes turn to Roger Fernandez,  a storyteller from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. Roger is known throughout the Northwest tribal communities for providing thought provoking stories and has also been featured at Hibulb Cultural Center. During the classes, Roger shares a handful of traditional stories which emphasize the ancestral teachings in regards to the traditional Coast Salish diet.

Following the meal, attendees have the option to indulge in dessert, such as mixed berries, while the class continues with a lesson presented by the GRuB team. Participants learn about the nutritional aspect of the day’s food and compare the modern diet with the traditional diet. The Diabetes Program ends each class with an interactive cooking demonstration in which attendees put their newly acquired knowledge to use by creating a snack and/or remedy to take home, such as herbal infused beverages, pemmican, tea and herbal infused honey. In addition to the food, including leftover Ryan’s Rez-ipes and homemade snacks, the Diabetes Program also sends a select few home with gift bags.

“The giveaways are always cooking related or health food related,” says Roni. “We weave everything together, it’s our health and it’s all connected. And part of that is teaching about feeding the seven generations; learning to live with the spirit, diversifying your diet, eating more plants, traditional and wild foods, how we cook and eat with good intention and giving back to the land. They’re not aspects a western medical clinic, even in our surrounding communities, would be teaching about. That’s what makes Tulalip and Native communities so special. We have the opportunity to talk about the land, the environment and the water. It’s really worth it to bring the people together There were four generations here tonight and that’s a really good thing.”

Upcoming Traditional Foods and Medicine for the Family classes will be held December 6, 13 and 18 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The December 6th class is an all-day ‘train the trainer’ event where the Diabetes Program will be sharing the Traditional Foods curriculum with the teachers and instructors of the community. For more information, please contact the Diabetes Prevention and Care Program at (360) 716-5642.

QCT Elementary participates in Red Ribbon Week

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

In an effort to inspire eager to learn students to live a drug-free life, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary participated in Red Ribbon Week from October 23 to 27. This year’s theme was “Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free.” Students, parents, and staff were invited to participate in daily activities to promote positive, healthy living.

Red Ribbon Week is a national campaign held during the final week of October and brings drug abuse awareness to schools. Think of it as a modern day equivalent to the D.A.R.E. program for the previous generations. It’s a program that started back in the 1980s in honor of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Kiki Camerena, whose goal was to educate youth on drug prevention.

“The message behind Red Ribbon Week was explained really well to our students during our daily assemblies and through in-class activities,” said Principal Douglas Shook. “The most powerful piece was the pledge that the students took with our Youth Service Advocates, Doug Salinas and Malory Simpson. The pledge of belief in one’s self and to be all that they can be to stay drug free resonates with our students when they have trusted adults reinforcing this belief. My hope is that this pledge lives, not only during Red Ribbon Week, but throughout the year.”

During the week, QCT students filled out a pledge to be drug-free that were then linked together in a unified chain put on full display at the front entrance of the Elementary. There were several in-class activities, most notably a poster making contest with the theme of staying drug-free that got the participation of all classes. Class winners were celebrated with an Italian soda party.

Students were most excited to participate in the themed dress up days. One day they looked to the future while wearing the colors of their favorite college, and on another they brought out their inner superhero to assemble in Avengers-like fashion.

“Red Ribbon Week brought drug awareness to our students. They pledged to live their life drug-free in pursuit of their goals and to make sure drugs wouldn’t be a road block to finding success in life,” explained school advocate, Doug Salinas. “As a community, we need to spread the word of drug prevention and do healthy activities in order to keep our youth safe.”

“In our community, we have kids who might see drugs and alcohol every day and think that kind of activity is normal,” adds fellow advocate, Malory Simpson. “For these students, it’s important for them to learn about drug-free living and to understand that they have the choice to make their own future. They made those drug-free pledges and it could have long-lasting meaning for them.”

At the end of the week, it’s safe to say every student at QCT received a quality lesson in what it means to live drug-free and is more aware of drugs and drug prevention than they were before. Just having the conversation itself is critical. Evidence shows that children of parents who talk to their youth regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don’t, yet only a quarter of youth report having these conversations. For QCT students, the seed has been planted.

#TMUnityMonth Promotes Kindness

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Citizens of the Tulalip and Marysville community are currently celebrating the second annual Unity and Wellness Month. Each October, Tulalip Youth Services and the Marysville School District unite to bring attention to issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, bullying and suicide. Youth Services hosts several events throughout the month to promote awareness about these issues, in a positive manner, including the Say Something Color Run, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary Coffee Morning and movie nights. Each week of Unity Month sheds light on serious topics; the first week focused on suicide prevention and was deemed Life is Sacred week, the second week was Healthy Relationships week which addressed domestic violence. The third week of Unity Month focused on bullying prevention.

“This past week was our Unity and Wellness Month Kindness week,” states Tulalip Youth Services Education Coordinator, Jessica Bustad. “We had a pumpkin carving night, movie night and even had a Don’t be a Monster assembly at the Marysville-Tulalip Campus for all four secondary schools. We had our five-day Kindness Challenge that we used to encourage people to put extra effort into sharing kindness and to show them how easy it can be. We had students, staff and community members going the extra mile to work on their random acts of kindness. We would like to continue the challenge to all of the youth and adults in this community.”

Youth Services kicked off the third week of Unity Month with a Family Pumpkin Carving Night. Community members gathered at the Don Hatch Youth Center on October 16, to carve and decorate jack-o-lanterns in preparation for Halloween. Dozens of families participated as over three-hundred pumpkins were sculpted into spooky designs and the youth entered their creations into a contest for a chance to win various prizes. Movie night consisted of a screening of Chicken Little, complete with pizza and popcorn.

The bullying problem continues to grow nationwide in schools, the work place and most recently online. Children who are frequently bullied can often develop depression and anxiety. According to the website,, twenty-eight percent of students nationwide have experienced bullying and approximately thirty percent of students have admitted to bullying their peers. Cyberbullying is on the rise. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, cyberbullying has nearly doubled amongst ninth through twelfth grade students in the past ten years, from eighteen to thirty-four percent.

“As we all know, bullying is a serious issue across the country and even more-so now with social media,” says Jessica. “Cyberbullying has become a huge problem. Our children are exposed to so much through social media and it does impact their self-esteem. Teach your children to use social media for positive things. Monitor your children’s social media accounts. Our society has become so desensitized to acts of violence and bullying. Stand up and show the world that kindness and good people are everywhere. Raise your children to be kind to others, our earth and especially themselves. Teach your children to love and respect themselves so that they can properly love and respect others.

“Here are a few ways you can teach your child to be kind,” she continues. “Tell your child you love and care about them, share with your child what kindness is and what it means, lead by example by being kind to others and talking to your children about it. Spend quality time with your child at the dinner table or reading for 20 minutes a minutes a night. Listen to your child, ask them about school experiences and ask them about their feelings, talk to your child about bullying and what to do if they have been bullied, have seen bullying or are the bully. Let them know it is ok to reach out for help.”

For more information, please visit the Tulalip Youth Services Facebook page or contact  the department at (360) 716-4909.

Tulalip Community Celebrates First Week of Unity Month



“What’s the day without a little night?

I’m just trying to shed a little light

It can be hard, it can be so hard

But you got to live right now

You got everything to give right now”


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention recently reported that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States with an estimated 44,193 deaths by suicide per year; for every suicide there are about twenty-five attempts. In the state of Washington, suicide is the eighth leading cause of death with 1,137 suicides each year. Suicide is the first leading cause of death among the youth in this state, ages ten through fourteen; and second leading cause of death for Washingtonians ages fifteen through thirty-four. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report showing the highest suicide rate in the country was amongst the young adults of the Native American community. For the age group of fifteen through thirty-four, Native America reported 1.5 times more deaths annually than the national average, with 19.5 deaths per 100,000 population; however, CDC noted that those statistics may be underreported by approximately thirty percent.

As suicide and suicide attempts are escalating in Native communities, tribes continue to search for a way to reach their young members. Suicide is a topic that many are not comfortable discussing. Whether it’s because of a lost loved one or even personal attempts and thoughts, the stigma around suicide often prevents people from having an open conversation about the risks, factors, and signs; let alone the pain, anger and grief that suicide causes.

Tulalip Youth Services is well-aware of the suicide crisis as the community has been personally affected over recent years. Youth Services often holds open-forums for the young adults of the community, creating a safe space where teens can open up to their peers to speak honestly about suicide. Last year, Youth Services hosted the first annual Tulalip-Marysville Unity Month, better known as #TMUnityMonth in the social media realm, to promote awareness about issues such as bullying, domestic violence, substance abuse and suicide within the two communities. Youth Services dedicates an entire week to each of these issues during the month of October and plans events and activities based on the topic to bring awareness, resources and education to the community.

The second annual Unity Month started with Life is Sacred week, focused on suicide prevention. Four, three-step suicide prevention trainings, taught by the Tulalip Crisis Response Team, were held for the community throughout the week. Training attendees were taught how to spot warning signs and how to respond when dealing with someone who is suicidal. The three-step suicide prevention class is taught nationally and upon successful completion, students are awarded a certificate by the QPR Institute. Both the institute and the trainings are named after the three-steps in the prevention: question, persuade and refer.

Crisis Response Team member, Yvonne Ito, explains the three steps stating, “Q is the question and the question is, are you planning on harming yourself, do you plan on killing yourself? People might not want to ask that question because they might not want hear the answer and are afraid of what the response will be. P – persuade someone to get help and R is refer them to the appropriate resource.”

Yvonne addressed the class during one of the trainings, asking “if someone told you they were going to harm themselves, where would you tell them to go?”

To which a youth, who wishes to be unnamed, answered, “I would refer them to the Community Health Department and get them in touch with some counselors. Obviously there’s the suicide hotline and get them support rather than telling them what they need to do and what they can’t do. Just letting them know that they have people who want them here and will listen to them. And also that they have me, that I’m always here to talk to and that I care.”

“Does anybody happen to know the suicide hotline number?” asked Yvonne. A group of young ladies answered, nearly in unison, “1-800-273-8255” before one of their peers added “you only know that because of the song.”

This year hip-hop artist Logic released a song titled 1-800-273-8255, the national suicide number. The song itself is told from three different perspectives; someone who is contemplating suicide, a friend offering words of encouragement and someone who is reflecting on a failed suicide attempt.

The unnamed student expressed that the song is extremely important in helping reach today’s youth stating, “I think that just the song’s title alone will save a lot of lives – I hope it does. It sheds a little light on a dark subject – you don’t have to listen to the song, or even be a fan of it, to save yours, a friend or anybody’s life, you just have to know the name.”

Frustrations were expressed, feelings were confessed and many tears were shed throughout the course of the four QPR trainings. Attendees were provided with plenty of resources and are now better equipped with the knowledge of how to prevent someone from committing suicide.

“The QPR trainings are important to our community, in particular, because we as Native Americans have higher rates of suicide in our community, with this training it can help us combat that,” expressed Youth Advocate, Deyamonta Diaz. “It’s not a cure-all but it does help for regular unlicensed folks, such as many of us community members, to help prevent and even talk with someone about suicide. The trainings also help bring awareness to some education around the topic of suicide in general.

“I think the youth responded well to the QPR’s in the fact that they were able to address any feelings that they had towards the notion of suicide; and [the trainings] also empowered other youth to feel like they now know preventative measures,” he continues. “The biggest takeaway that the community learned from the sessions are that suicide is preventable by anyone, not just mental health professionals; and that if anyone is in need of help – me, you, or anyone in the community can help them out. I think we are all aware that suicide has impacted our community recently but we can tackle this issue and help heal our people.”

The community showed up in large numbers to conclude Life is Sacred week with the Say Something Color Run/Walk. Color-runners, accompanied by a Tulalip Police Department and Tulalip Fire Department escort, traveled the distance from the old Boom City site to the Don Hatch Youth Center on the evening of Saturday October, 7. Youth Service team members excitedly waited to cover runners with multi-colored powder chalk at multiple check-points. Upon reaching the finish line, runners were treated to pizza and a live DJ as community members celebrated a successful first week of Unity Month.

Exploring Healthy Boundaries With the Help of Horses

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News.  Photos courtesy of Monica Holmes

The horse was a major part of Native American history and still plays a vital role in enabling Native youth to connect to their heritage of being caretakers of Mother Earth and all her animals. A new form of spiritual healing can also be derived from individuals and their interaction with the majestic horse, called equine therapy.

Using horses in a therapeutic setting offers youth clear opportunities to learn about themselves and others in an effective way. This is why on October 6 the Girl’s Talking Circle took a trip to Cedar Groves Stables in Stanwood, WA for a fun-filled, therapeutic afternoon.

“Our trip to Cedar Groves Stables was for an ‘Exploring Healthy Boundaries’ workshop with the goal to enlighten the youth about their own inherent boundaries and the need to adjust those boundaries based on the people they encounter along their journey,” explained event coordinator and para-pro Monica Holmes. “We did many exercises individually and with one another that illustrated each person’s ability to tap into their own gut instinct to determine where they position themselves, how they behave around others, and how they may need to regulate their emotional output.”

Horse and human encounters provide opportunities for learning about relationships and further understanding about boundaries. Once the girls transitioned inside the stables and began interacting with the herd of horses, they found themselves using the personal boundary skills they just learned and adjusting to the horses’ needs.

“I learned horses sometimes feel trapped or unsafe, so they tell us to back off by moving their heads and trying to get away,” beamed 11-year-old tribal member, Tieriana McLean. “When we humans did boundary work we learned that we sometimes flinch or feel stressed or react and that means we were setting our own boundaries with others.”

Horses, much like people, are social creatures and require mutual trust and respect in order to engage in a productive relationship. If a horse is acting stubborn or defiant, then it can often be understood as a lack of engagement and thoughtfulness on the part of the person.

“I liked learning about how you need to calm yourself around the horses, so they’ll learn to trust you and won’t hurt you,” remarked 14-year-old Ariyah Guardipee (Salish Kootenai).

For the girls, making a connection with a horse required self-awareness in order to produce positive intentions, while also reading the emotional output of the horse. Once a balance has been reached, the girls were able to approach the horses and establish a bond. How much space to give a certain horse and when or if they could reciprocate attention or affection is a learned skill they showcased brilliantly.

“Rather than shying away from them or feeling overwhelmed by the horses’ size, the girls were zoned into reading the horses individually,” added Monica. “They adjusted their interactions accordingly, so the horse was on the receiving end of the time and attention it wanted and needed. Miraculously, each girl walked away with a deeper connection to the horses, each other and themselves.”

Volunteer chaperone and tribal member, Darkfeather Ancheta, jumped at the opportunity to attend the workshop with the Girls Talking Circle. She witnessed first-hand the girls learn personal boundary skills and then use them to develop bonds with the horses. “It was very powerful! The girls’ energy and moods changed instantly around the horses. To watch them react, learn, and respond the way they did was so amazing. This program can change lives for the better,” stated Darkfeather.

The connection established with these equine companions brought out the hidden inner strength and courage of each and every youth participant. Overcoming doubts and developing confidence are only a couple of supplemental results they also enjoyed from their time at the Stables.

Activities that teach skills ‘outside of the box’ are vital to programs like the Girls Talking Circle for developing healthy, well-rounded individuals and groups of youth in our community. These are experiences the youth and those adults who are privileged enough to work with them won’t soon forget.

“A Journey to a Healthier You,” Featuring Kenn Johnson


Kenn Johnson today, after participating in a diet and exercise program.

By AnneCherise Jensen, Tulalip Tribes SNAP-Ed Nutritionist

Kenn Johnson, member of the Colville Tribe and Tulalip Police officer for 11 ½ years, has spent the last year transforming himself into a happier and healthier version of himself. Also a member of the Tulalip Walking Club, Kenn has made a huge transformation in lifestyle change and has managed to lose an outstanding 66 pounds over the last year as a result. Kenn feels happier and healthier than he has in the last 20 years! Here is his story….

It was back in early 2016 when Kenn walked into the doctors and was told he had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, was at a very unhealthy weight, was suffering from chronic arthritis and had other serious medical conditions that put Kenn in a lot of pain and discomfort. At his heaviest weight, 287 lbs., Kenn was at the breaking point where he simply just wanted to give up on himself. This meant giving up his hobbies, his health, his dreams and his future. Kenn had tried many diet programs in the past where nothing seemed to consistently work, or consistently keep the weight off. Despite the fact, Kenn was a fighter and made the decision he wasn’t going give up. It wasn’t until a ferry ride home when Kenn ran into an old friend who had recently lost a lot of weight. On the ferry ride, they discussed the benefits of a diet and exercise program that had truly worked for her. It was a program that offered a health coach, a meal plan, and an accountability program. So on September 8th 2016, Kenn decided to take a chance and start the program.

Once starting the program, Kenn immediately changed his diet and quickly began seeing results. Kenn states, “It was the drastic change in my diet alone that helped me lose my first 40 pounds.” Kenn’s diet consisted of eating mostly whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Kenn also adds, “I put an alarm on my phone to go off every three hours. This reminded me to eat small, healthy snacks every three meals to keep my metabolism moving fast.” Other major changes Kenn made included completely cutting out high fructose corn syrup and other simple sugars out of his diet. Instead he replaced them with nutrient dense foods that kept him feeling properly fueled and energized throughout the day.

Kenn Johnson before his lifestyle change.

In early January, after receiving a Fit Bit for Christmas, Kenn also decided he wanted to become more active, so he began walking on a daily basis. Kenn’s first goal was to reach 8,000 steps a day, approximately 4 miles. He continually met his goal and made a new goal to reach 11,000 steps a day, approximately 5.5 miles. To this day, Kenn successfully averages 25-35 miles a week. “As soon as you get used to walking a lot, it’s like your body is on auto pilot and its gets easier every time,” says Kenn.

As a member of the Tulalip Walking Club, Kenn loves attending our walks and is an inspiration to other members of the club. Not only that, but he makes us all feel extra safe walking throughout the community. Thanks Kenn!

Overall, through diet and exercise Kenn claims that his quality of life has increased tremendously. His blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides are now at above healthy levels. He is thinner that he has ever been in the last 20 years, the pain from the arthritis is gone, and he has more energy and vitality. Kenn’s advice to anyone who wants to make a healthy lifestyle change is to JUST GO OUT AND DO IT! It’s an all-in commitment and it’s a choice. It’s not something that is going to happened over night, it’s not going to be easy, but there are so many incredible benefits to losing weight. “It was definitely worth all the pain and sweat,” Kenn states. “Not only are you losing weight, but the greatest benefits come from the unseen changes. The changes in mood, the changes in self-esteem, the medical benefits, the confidence and the courage to take on your fear. Anything seems possible now!”



Dr. Gilbert Kliman brings Reflective Network Therapy to the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy

Dr. Gilbert Kliman

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Autism is a common, yet very complex, developmental disability that has been on the rise in recent times. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in sixty-eight children in the United States have a form of autism. People with an autistic disorder often show significant language delays, repetitive behavior as well as social and communication challenges; and often times have experienced emotional and/or physical trauma. Children with autism are usually diagnosed by the age of four, as signs begin to show at a young age such as having obsessive interests, having trouble understanding others’ feelings and not responding by name.

Reflective Network Therapy (RNT) is a method which helps children with autism, between the ages of two and seven, in a classroom setting. Developed by Dr. Gilbert Kliman in 1965, RNT has assisted over 1,800 developmentally and emotionally disabled children including many foster care children.

“The method involves working with the child in a play therapy session, twenty minutes at a time, every school day,” explains Dr. Kliman. “Each child is worked with every day by a play therapist right in the classroom. Before that therapy session, the teacher briefs the child and the therapist about what the child’s been doing that day – in class and at home. Often the parent has dropped off the child and said ‘Johnny had a bad dream’, ‘Johnny said a whole lot of new words yesterday that we didn’t know he could say’, ‘he started to read’ or ‘he got into trouble’. The teacher uses a very small amount of time, just a minute or two, to condense that information for the therapist. After the twenty-minute play therapy session, the child and the therapist do the same thing in reverse – they debrief the teacher. ‘Johnny has been playing with dogs and cats. The cats had babies and Johnny seemed to be upset about the cats having babies’ and the teacher hears that.

“Meanwhile, other children are allowed to help each session – the children who are not having problems can help the special needs child,” he continues. “For example, he might not know how to play very well, so the more skilled children can teach him how to play and can teach him how to talk and behave. In that process the regular kids become very helpful and altruistic. It’s good for them to learn they can be helpful in their own communities to their own peers. Parents do something similar every week, they get together with the teacher or the therapist and share information about the child, they brief and debrief each other. This establishes a network in which everybody in the classroom has a part in bringing the community’s healing force to a special needs child. We’re finding this very helpful for children who have been through trauma, like domestic violence or having to move from one home to another home – often foster homes. It’s very helpful for children with developmental problems like autism.”

Often referring to RNT as ‘community based’, Dr. Kliman believes that it is important for the child to be in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable. For the past year, Dr. Kliman worked with the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy to implement RNT for the children of the Academy who are either autistic, in beda?chelh, or experienced some form of trauma. Dr. Kliman believes that tribal communities who have their own early learning programs can benefit greatly from RNT.

“The unique part about this method is that it’s evidenced-based and can be carried out in a child’s regular school,” he states. “It’s particularly valuable for Native American special needs children that they be treated in their tribe’s own school and learn their native languages rather than be bussed to a distant white school, which I think was a terrible mistake that happened a long time ago and still haunts Native American communities to this day – the boarding school experience. Native American special needs children go through an unfortunate repetition of that exclusionary experience and what I’m bringing for the past couple years is a message that we can include special needs children at the Betty J. Taylor Center just as it has been done in other preschools.

“I have seen some children get much brighter,” says Dr. Kliman of the kids he is working with at the Early Learning Academy. “I have seen some very agitated hyper-active children become calm and focused without medication – not one of the about 15 children we’ve worked with has been given medication by us. We prefer, in fact, to take children off any medication they’re on because at this age we feel it’s really risky for children to be on some of these powerful medications. We’ve seen mute children become talkative, we have seen some autistic children become well-related, a trans-gender child become more self-confident. We have some children become kinder to themselves, children who use to hurt themselves become more self-respecting and safer. I think the best effect is, in general, children seem to like themselves better with this treatment, they feel self-respect. They absorb the respect of the therapist, teacher, peers and parents so they can feel it’s worthwhile to be themselves. This treatment is a community treatment in which the community of the classroom is harnessed for the good of the individual child.”

In 2011, Dr. Kliman published the book Reflective Network Therapy in the Preschool Classroom to share his method with the world and was met with rave reviews and several awards. The book featured testimonies from many of the children, now adults, affected by RNT. Although there are several different methods, theories and approaches to autism are that there is no cure for the disability as of yet. However, RNT appears to be the most effective treatment to date. In a twice-tested study, a group of seventy-nine autistic and special needs children showed significant improvements to their IQ scores while using Dr. Kliman’s RNT method, with an average increase of fifteen points. One child in particular went from an IQ score of fifty-two to a score of ninety-one during the course of one school year.

“There are about eighty kids we’ve now tested twice for IQ,” he explains. “From nine different projects. From Michigan, Seattle, San Francisco, San Mateo, Argentina and White Plains, New York, we put them all together and the unusual thing about it is almost all the children had a rise of IQ – and they’re all special needs kids. Ordinarily when a kid is traumatized by watching a lot of domestic violence, they do lose some IQ points. This treatment goes the other way; they’re gaining IQ points. It’s not happening with the sixty-three comparison children; in fact, they have no change or slight drops of IQ. These are not significant drops but these are significant gains. We think this is a very sturdy bit of scientific evidence. More importantly, it’s not hard to do and this method seems to work in a lot of different settings.

“There’s a lot of evidence now, in both autism and post-traumatic stress disorder, that there’s some disconnection of brain centers that are ordinarily well-connected, but with those disorders they are not so well-connected. For example, loving and learning centers are not well-connected in autism or post-traumatic stress disorder. Whereas in this treatment, we try to help the child feel cared about and understood in a positive and affectionate way, by the whole school community, and that seems to help the brain grow. It particularly helps the connections in the brain grow. The better all the parts in the brain work together, the stronger and more resilient the individual is.”

For further information regarding RNT please visit or contact Kathryn McCormick, of the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy, at (360) 716-4064.

Tulalip Community Health provides ‘good journey’ for community members

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The newly established Tulalip Community Health Department assists Tulalip citizens through difficult life phases such as substance abuse, disabilities, mental health issues and even death. The department collaborates with local hospitals as well as behavioral and medical facilities to provide education, care and resources to Tulalip community members. The department also promotes healthy lifestyle choices as well as drug and alcohol awareness to Tulalip by hosting community outreach events.

“The idea behind Community Health is following in the steps of a public health concept but making it more accessible and agreeable with the tribal community,” states Tulalip Community Health Director, Jenna Bowman. “We’re here to collaborate and ensure that our entire community receives their services from the beginning of their life into the next one.”

Community Health moved into their own space this summer. Previously located at the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic, the department moved down the street to a freshly renovated building, which was once a smoke shop as well as the old administrative building. The Tulalip Community Health Department is comprised of several programs including the Community Health Representative, Hospital Liaison, Community Health Nurse, Public Health, Prevention Education and the Tulalip Health System Transportation programs.

“Our Lushootseed name is ηαʔɬ σʔιβəš, which means ‘good journey’,” Jenna explains. “We are here to ensure that our members have a good journey and provide all those resources to them; from the Hospital Liaison Program, where we have an advocate at the hospital coordinating care so they’re able to transition home safely; to the Community Health Representatives, specialists who are advocates for the client in and about the community, ensuring overall health care needs with advocacy and education to help them live a better life.

“We have a Public Health Program, which as you know, public health affects everything we do from safe streets, safe neighborhoods to everything that would affect the community and impede their life,” she continues. “We also have a Community Health Nursing Program, which helps by going into the homes [of community members who are in need] for education, advocacy and a nursing perspective. The concept behind it is to go into the homes to take care of their health care needs verses having them come out for help. We have also been integrating the Tulalip Health System Transportation Program that coordinates care and transportation for medical appointments, behavioral health appointments and beda?chelh appointments.”

The opioid crisis is affecting communities nationwide. Snohomish County has been hit hard over recent years and sees nearly seven hundred deaths by overdose each year. On International Overdose Awareness Day, Tulalip Community Health hosted an overdose awareness event for the Tulalip community.

“The overdose awareness event has touched a lot of our lives,” says Jenna. “Being Tulalip and having it affect you personally, you want to do something to prevent it from happening, but also spread awareness and education – the signs of withdrawal and overdose symptoms; and anything you can, to be available to the community. I think everything that happened at that event was healing, educational and informing for the community and that’s what we’re here for. I’ve been here my whole life and never seen such an amazing program. I think it will affect every aspect of people’s lives from young parents to elderly. I think that this is a key piece to integral health and making the community healthy again.”

To receive assistance from the Tulalip Community Health Department, one must be registered to receive care from the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic, a member of a federally recognized tribe and a current resident of Snohomish County. For further information, please contact the Tulalip Community Health Department at (360) 716-5622 or visit them at their new building at 7615 Totem Beach Road Tulalip WA, 98271.