We recognize the complexity of autism and neurodevelopmental disorders so we have a multidisciplinary team on site to answer questions throughout the process. The purpose of the multidisciplinary team is to foster frequent, structured and documented communication among disciplines to establish, prioritize and achieve goals. Our team is comprised of a speech/language pathologist, licensed psychologist, a developmental behavioral pediatrician and a social work graduate student.
During the evaluation process, the speech/language pathologist will meet with the patient to assess language and communication.
Cary K. Cekola, M.A., CCC-SLP is a licensed speech-language pathologist and clinical faculty member in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at Western Michigan University. Educational training includes both a B.S and M.A. in speech-language pathology from Ball State University (Muncie, IN) and a Clinical Fellowship Year in pediatrics completed at William Beaumont Hospital, in Royal Oak, Michigan. Certificate of Clinical Competency is maintained by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and she holds Michigan licensure as a SLP.
She is a founding member of the Western Evaluation Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (WECAN) since 2015 and joined the faculty of the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences in 2011. Prior to coming to WMU, Cary worked as a SLP at a variety of interprofessional medical and educational settings with clients across the lifespan. Her areas of experience include prevention, assessment, treatment, professional ethics, community education, teaching and clinical education and advocacy.
She serves as the SLP and clinic coordinator for the WECAN team. In addition, Cary developed and supervises an immersive clinical practicum within WECAN for graduate students in WMU’s speech-language pathology program, wherein three students join the interprofessional team each semester.
Cary brings more than 17 years of experience to the team and loves to share her passion of serving children and families with communication challenges and differences. Specialty areas include speech sound disorders, language disorders, autism, medically complex conditions and childhood fluency/stuttering. Cary’s journey with autism began with a close childhood friendship and has continued on with many clients and connections in the autism community.
Kim Wisdorf-Houtkooper, Ph.D., L.P., is a licensed psychologist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of children ages 0-18. Educational training includes: B.S. and M.A. degrees in clinical psychology from Minnesota State University - Mankato, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Western Michigan University. She completed the O’Grady Pediatric Psychology Residency at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio and a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences/Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Both programs involved specialized training experiences with children with developmental disabilities and other chronic conditions through the Cincinnati Center for Developmental Disabilities and University of Arkansas University Affiliated Program.
Dr. Houtkooper brings more than 20 years of experience working with children and their families to the WECAN clinic in addition to operating a private practice. Specialty areas include: diagnostic assessment, treatment of enuresis and encopresis, feeding disorder in young children, anxiety, ADHD, family adjustment to medical diagnoses and behavior management/parent education. Her journey with autism began as a student therapist in a summer autism program where she implemented individual behavior therapy plans for preschoolers with Autism.
Pediatrician for the Children's Trauma Assessment Center and WECAN
Mark A. Sloane, D.O. has been a board-certified practicing pediatrician for more than 36 years and is considered a local, regional and statewide expert in the diagnosis/treatment of pediatric disorders of mood, behavior, learning and attention.
Sloane has evaluated/treated over 10,000 children with these disorders, and from 2003-13 (after 20 years practicing primary care general pediatrics) he owned and operated a specialty practice limited to neurobehavioral/neurodevelopmental pediatrics. He also serves as a national trauma-informed medical consultant (through his work at WMU Children’s Trauma Assessment Center) and provides trauma-informed/FASD-informed training and consultation for a variety of child welfare agencies, community mental health groups, schools, courts and primary care practices throughout Michigan and across the US.
Dr. Sloane has long had an interest in the functional impact of complex social communication disorders, including autism spectrum disorders. He is currently collaborating with WMU Speech, Language and Hearing Science faculty member Yvette Hyter on a NIH grant proposal involving a novel social communication clinical paradigm.
Sloane also has recently created a brain-based clinical conceptual model for neurobehavioral medication treatment of complex social communication disorders, and currently employs this model when consulting with primary care providers for WECAN clients.
Sloane, a 1979 graduate of Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, has completed specialized fellowship training in adolescent behavioral medicine at Michigan State University – Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies. He has co-authored numerous publications and has delivered more than 900 presentations to more than 60,000 interdisciplinary professionals across Michigan, the US and Canada.