Julie earned a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from California State University, Northridge (CSUN). There she became a Lecturer as well as joining the programming staff of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Heart Association.

When she was only ten years old, Julie’s mother took her to a vantage point not too far from her home to watch the marathon runners compete for the Gold Medal in the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. From that day forward, running became one of the main sources of health and enjoyment in her life; and it fueled a broader interest in exercise science.

Her marriage to Dr. Sletten and the subsequent birth of their first child placed a predictable hurdle in her training regimen, but she thought that it would be nothing that a good jogging stroller couldn’t solve. After all, she’d seen lots of women running as their slumbering children rolled along. But Julie’s baby was different. He didn’t tolerate the confinement of a stroller, or a car seat, or a rocker or the vibrations of the dryer. Although he was growing and developing, his irritability seemed outside the normal scope.

Although her local doctors provided no insight into her son’s condition, hindsight tells her that he was experiencing severe abdominal distress. Then, at 18 months, her son seemed to completely disconnect; slipping away into a diagnosis of autism. What energy she applied to running, now went to finding answers for this developmental regression and to seeking treatment.

Her Regional Center and local Early Start Program offered much needed yet limited assistance with behavioral and occupational therapies. But there was no attention paid to this autism as a neurologic illness that deserved medical attention. The Autism Research Institute and the Defeat Autism Now!! (Defeat Autism Now!) Approach was presented by knowledgeable and credible physicians, and the only body of clinicians and researchers attempting to treat the core biomedical issues.

With indefatigable energy, determination and faith, Julie watched with joy as her son responded to the treatments and recovered from autism, leaving his diagnosis behind. She became an honorary “Dr. MOM”, as these powerful women are known in Defeat Autism Now! circles. However, this good result came not without a price. Her short hiatus from running became a full five year sabbatical. That is hard on the psyche of a runner. The social isolation that accompanies the autism diagnosis is indescribable; as is the intense stress on relationships, marriages and family dynamics.

In spite of this stress, the Sletten family was blessed with 2 more beautiful and healthy children. Julie came to understand the special needs of siblings; for they can sometimes be left behind in the overwhelming therapies and attention paid to their brother. She has worked hard to develop strategies to envelope all of her kids with unique attention and love.

Now with some breathing space, Julie Sletten offers a wide array of talents to the Sletten Wellness Medical Center. She is a reluctant but compassionate expert in the Autism Spectrum Disorders. She understands the resources and treatments available, and can help the patients sort these out on a case by case basis. She knows the financial and social burden of trying to care for an autistic child while keeping a family together. So she is eager to share some insights in a monthly group discussion format called Sletten Wellness Autism-ADHD-Allergy-Asthma Action Treatment Team, or “SWAT TEAM”.

Of course, with her expertise in exercise physiology she brings a wealth of information on health promotion, exercise prescription and wellness programming. Sletten Wellness could not exist without her, and nor could her now very happy and healthy little son.