STAR Family Navigation


Our family navigators are here for you.

The team uses an individualized approach to connect families of individuals with autism to the supports in their community and across the Commonwealth. They may share components of their own lived experiences as part of the process to acknowledge a shared experience. Navigation may include:

  • Connecting with ABA services
  • Finding support groups and/or peer mentors 
  • Helping to find OT, PT, or speech therapies 
  • Guidance in navigating the educational system
  • Building family knowledge of autism
  • Networking webinars
  • Providing up-to-date lists of local and state-wide resources in addition to the UVA Autism DRIVE

UVA Hospital & Developmental Pediatrics. Debbie Vermillion works in the Division of Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at UVA Children’s Hospital.  Following an autism diagnosis, our family navigator communicates with families for 3 to 6 months to help connect them to ABA and other therapies and financial resources. She also provide guidances in connecting with the educational system and coordinate the inter-disciplinary CARE Clinic at the Sheila Johnson Center.

Connecting with Families Throughout the Commonwealth. Stephanie Tharp and Karen Orlando provide navigation services in four geographic areas of Virginia. Their service is provided through the Virginia Autism LINKS project, funded by the US Health Resources & Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, to test a new model of coordinated care for children and youth with or at risk for autism or other developmental disabilities in medically underserved areas.

Would you like to be connected to one of our family navigators? Visit this form.

Family Navigators


Debbie Vermillion

Family Navigator

Debbie Vermillion

Stephanie Tharp

Family Navigator

Stephanie Tharp

Karen Orlando

Family Navigator

Karen Orlando