Who We Are

We are a non-profit child development organization focused on helping young children receive the earliest developmental care and support needed. Early intervention has a profound impact on the quality of life for children and their families. The key to success is early screening, identification and treatment.

The Challenge We Face in Oklahoma


Oklahoma ranks 50th among all 51 states in serving 0-3-year-olds in early intervention.


149,364 children age 3 and under in Oklahoma


Oklahoma serves 3% of the
0 – 3 population.


100,671 Oklahoma children under the age of 3 do not receive developmental screenings.

What We Do

The evidence supporting early identification and intervention to address the needs of young children with developmental delays is clear and unequivocal.

Outreach & Education

Through our Outreach and Education program, we partner with the broader community to provide early developmental screening and intervention by making the Ages and Stages screening link available to the public. These partnerships include case managers, nurse-family partnerships, churches, public and private schools, therapeutic court programs, childcare centers, physician’s offices and others.  

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Outreach and education

Our Clinics

Our Therapy and Developmental Pediatric Clinics utilize a multidisciplinary approach to working with young children. Our team includes child development specialists, licensed clinical social workers, speech and occupational therapy clinicians and a developmental pediatrician, providing a more comprehensive approach to the assessment and treatment of a child’s developmental needs.

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our clinics

Our Team

Lesley Gudgel
Founder & Executive Director
Mary Beth Smith
Founder & Clinical Director
Debbie McClellan
Outreach & Education Director
Judy Turner
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Dr. Laura Taylor
Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician
Carlisa Phillips
Nurse Practitioner
Indira Jones
Developmental and Behavioral Clinic Coordinator
Wendy Mendez
Therapy Clinic Coordinator
Lois Mihelich
Office Manager
Amanda Teague
Occupational Therapist
Ellie Gajan
Occupational Therapist
Chelsey Alberty
Occupational Therapist Assistant
Jennie Rose
Speech Language Pathologist
Maria Aguayo
Speech Language Pathologist
Lauren Bachman
Speech Language Pathologist

Our History

Sprouts Child Development Initiative began in 1991 as the LINK Project, a developmental screening program administered through Children’s Medical Center in Tulsa. LINK’s primary goal was to identify children in child care who might need early intervention services to address specific developmental concerns before they entered school.

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our history

In 2006, LINK moved under the umbrella of the Community Service Council (CSC). LINK successfully identified needs and connected families to help during the next several years, so the demand for services multiplied. Consequently, there was a three-year waiting list for centers seeking our services, physician’s referrals increased, and requests from schools and other early childhood programs rose dramatically.

We needed a new model with a greater capacity to reach more children. In 2014, the LINK team of developmental clinicians, several pediatricians, and other community partners began looking for an innovative approach. After several months of discussion and a national search, Sprouts Child Development Initiative was created.

The initiative was based on a child development resource website build around an online developmental screening tool, the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ). The site expanded the capacity to engage caregivers in learning about the developmental needs of their young children and the specific steps to address them. This included conducting a screening using the online ASQ-3 and ASQ-SE2 and interfacing with the Sprouts developmental team to identify developmental issues and obtain follow-up assistance.

In 2016, to best focus on organizing this enhanced capacity, Sprouts moved out from under the umbrella of the CSC and became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The Sprouts service model historically focused on supporting each child through screening and assessment, with referral to therapy providers in the community for early intervention. Over time it became apparent, for several reason, that many children did not obtain the early intervention services recommended. Therefore, in November 2018, the Sprouts Board of Directors and staff decided to pursue adding speech and occupational therapy treatment services and partner with a Developmental Pediatrician to add enhanced clinical services for sustainability and continuity of care. Sprouts began providing all these services in late 2019.

Sprouts is also honored to collaborate with a growing network of community partners, expanding access to early screening and intervention for children collectively.

Lesley Gudgel is the founder and executive director of Sprouts Child Development.

Contact Lesley

Board of Directors

Debbie Deibert

Board Chair, Ph.D., Professor Early Childhood, Tulsa Community College

Jordan Tudor

Treasurer, Senior Tax Manager, CCK Strategies

Ashley Cox

Secretary, Regional Manager, Bright Horizons Family Solutions

Suzanne Bloyed

Chair Elect, Owner/Appraiser, Bloyed Residential Appraisals 

Laura Dempsey

Board Member, Ph.D., Board Member, Dempsey and Associates

Matt Clark

Board Member, CEO, Clark Advisory Services

Janet McKenzie

Past Chair, Retired Early Childhood Teacher/Supervisor, Tulsa Public Schools

Our Funders

Morningcrest Healthcare Foundation

A charitable organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma and its mission is to support continuous improvement of the health status of residents of the Tulsa, Oklahoma metropolitan statistical area with a primary focus on indigent healthcare and women’s and children’s health services.

George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF)

A charitable organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Type I 509(a)3 supporting organization of the Tulsa Community Foundation, dedicated to providing equal opportunity for young children in our community through investments in early childhood education, community health, social services, and civic enhancement.

Ed Taylor Family Foundation

A charitable organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Lloyd K. & Peggy L. Stephens Foundation

A charitable organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Sarkeys Foundation

Sarkeys Foundation provides grants to a diverse group of nonprofit organizations and institutions, almost all of which are located in Oklahoma.