Gwen Riker is the Regional Coordinator for Parent to Parent of NYS in the South Central Regional Office located in Vestal, NY. Gwen holds an AS in Applied Science, MLT. Currently Gwen is working towards her goal of dual Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology. Prior to becoming a parent, Gwen enjoyed a career for over 10 years in human and veterinary medicine as a Medical Laboratory Technician. Gwen is a doer and a problem solver and enjoys helping people navigate complex systems. Having a child with special needs has led her to use her skills on a different career pathway.
Gwen is the proud mom of three children: Liz, David, and Aidan. It seems Gwen always knew after Aidan’s birth that something was not quite right. Aidan was not reaching age appropriate goals like her two older children. It wasn’t until a friend who had children with both Autism and Asperger’s sat her down and talked to her that she fully believed Aidan could have autism. Gwen propelled herself to get Aidan screened and seen by a Developmental Pediatrician. Aidan was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD in 2010. Gwen’s motivation since then has been, ”What can I do to help my son be the best possible person he can be?” With help from a friend who had already been down this path, Gwen was able to navigate CPSE/CSE meetings and find resources for therapies for her son. Gwen actively researched autism, learned about therapies, participated in seminars and attended parent groups to gain knowledge to help insure Aidan’s success in growing and learning, in addition to increasing her other children’s knowledge of autism and how it affects everyone in the family. Gwen has become an advocate for parental and family support to help others learn how to cope and manage past the diagnosis stage of any condition. Gwen believes we are never alone in this; we are always here to help.
Gwen is divorced and lives in Broome County with her three children. The children enjoy joint visitation between the parent’s houses. Both parents work together to ensure the best possible outcome for the kids. In her free time, Gwen enjoys working out and training for cycling, running, and triathlon events. Gwen is also an avid gardener, hiker, camper, and fisherman.