When her three-year-old daughter was diagnosed with severe autism, Dr. Theresa Lyons, founder of Navigating AWEtism, felt as many parents do in the face of an autism diagnosis—overwhelmed and unsure of which therapeutic options would be best for her family. However, with over a decade of experience working in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries on her side, she was able to turn to the most cutting-edge research and apply it directly to supporting her daughter.
“Unfortunately, there’s usually a time lag of 20 or more years between when research is done and when it gets implemented into mainstream medicine. By leveraging my scientific training, I was able to cut out those 20 years of lag for my daughter, and we were seeing progress and change as a result,” said Lyons.
That, she says, is when her daughter’s doctors encouraged her to start a blog to support other parents and Navigating AWEtism was born.
Lyons, who received her M.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale University, is on a mission to support families by streamlining and democratizing the medical and educational odyssey that parents go through after their child receives an autism diagnosis. She has spent the past seven years turning innovative autism research into educational resources and actionable steps that parents can take to improve their children’s lives.
The resources that Navigating AWEtism offers include everything from navigating diet changes and the educational system to providing support through what Lyons calls the “avalanche of abbreviations”—things like OT (occupational therapy), PT (physical therapy), and ABA (applied behavior analysis), to name a few. The company also works to help parents expand their mindsets following an autism diagnosis and to focus on celebrating their children’s successes and overall progress.
Having supported over 100 client families in 12 countries around the world, in addition to thousands of followers online, the company’s business model has evolved in recent years.
Navigating AWEtism began by exclusively offering one-on-one coaching and consulting but has since expanded to offer online educational courses on topics like motivation, probiotics, and nutrition. In 2020, Lyons also authored “The Lyons Report 2020: Autism and Functional Medicine Doctors,” a book that helps families navigate the process of finding a functional medicine doctor. Available in paperback and on Kindle, the book was #1 in its category when it was launched on Amazon. This automation has allowed Lyons to increase the number of families that Navigating AWEtism can support.
Based out of Ithaca, Lyons is excited to join the Rev member community and connect with other entrepreneurs who have been where she is in the business development process.
“Being a part of Rev is really about being around people who understand having an idea and then growing it to have a positive impact on the world,” she said. “I don’t want to grow a business if it’s not helping people in a mindful way, and from what I’ve seen, Rev supports some really great businesses that are mindful as well.”
Navigating AWEtism is also currently working to develop an app, which will allow clients easy and efficient access to resources and support. Lyons hopes the app will also create a community, where parents can connect with one another to share stories and advice. Readers can stay up to date with Navigating AWEtism by following the company’s blog or connecting on social media.