Clare Sykora was immersed in the world of education growing up in a small town in Washington state, where both her parents taught in local schools. From an early age, she wanted to be a teacher. After graduating from Gonzaga University, Clare got that opportunity, and quickly developed a love for working with, and learning from, children with special needs. She followed that passion and became an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, starting her career in public schools before transitioning to a teaching position at Joya Child & Family Development. She has felt at home ever since and just like the children she serves, has adapted and grown, taking on new challenges to improve outcomes for kiddos with special needs.
Clare is currently completing a year of mentoring with the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB), in order to earn a certificate as a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TSVI). Joya is excited to not only offer these services internally, but to children served by other community providers as well. By offering this critical component to a child’s therapy plan, Joya can increase wrap-around services for children setting them up to reach their full potential in life. Having a local TSVI on Joya’s staff will increase the capacity to serve children and their families so that all children with a visual impairment will have a developmentally appropriate, functional evaluation and individualized on-going services.
“Working at Joya is a gift,” said Clare. “I feel grateful each day I get to work with little learners who have endless potential and the families who support them. As a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments I work directly with families, supporting them with community vision providers, while coaching and modeling visual strategies and accommodations to help their child explore their environment. How a child uses their vision functionally and learns through their other senses spans all developmental areas. Joya allows me to work collaboratively with each child’s team of therapists, teachers, and Family Resources Coordinators (FRC) to implement visual modifications consistently across all areas of development. As a child’s team member, I am uplifted watching their progression of skill development and smiles that accompany their own realization of how wonderful their world can be!”