Yakimah Lucas, BT
Interview with Yakimah Lucas, BT

What have you gained from working at Golden Care Therapy?

An Awesome Support Team!!

What is your favorite part in your work as an ABA Therapist?

My favorite part of my work as an ABA Therapist is the client/family experiencing AHHA moments, new found independence and confidence within themselves beyond ABA therapy. 

What is the one thing you wish people knew about your job?

It’s is not always easy, however it is rewarding being able to supply/equip our clients with the tools they need to live a quality life. 

 

What drove you to the ABA Therapist profession? 

My son was diagnosed with ASD when he was 3 years old. He was non-verbal and regressing in the milestones he’d already mastered. The community collaboration ( teachers, ABA Therapist, Early Intervention, Pediatrician and family) and accessible resources were a blessing to our family. My son will be 9 this summer and has surpassed our expectations tremendously. 

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Remain calm and positive at all times, even during periods of chaos and confusion. 

What would you tell your younger self? 

Stay Focused!

What is your proudest moment at Golden Care/ work as an ABA Therapist?

My proudest moment as an ABA Therapist is being a constant guiding light and a beacon of hope to inspire and encourage. 

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Kimberly Woolery, BCBA
Interview with Kimberly Woolery, BCBA
  • What drove you to the BCBA profession?

I have always known that whatever I did in life, I wanted to work with children. I have always been drawn to their honesty and sense of wonder and watching them grow and develop. But to be quite honest, being a BCBA wasn’t my first choice. It turned out to be a happy accident for me. Initially, I planned to do School Psychology or Marriage and Family Therapy.

However, two days after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, my dad was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. This unexpected news prompted me to move back to Jamaica to support my parents, although they didn’t ask me to do so. I was forced to switch careers to a different grad programme that allowed me to do everything online. The irony is that I didn’t know anything about behaviour analysis at that point, nor had I taken an ABA course at the undergraduate level. And to be honest, I didn’t love my first two courses either! However, when I started my fieldwork, everything made sense to me, as it was data-driven. That data drove me clinically to make changes in a treatment plan and told me whether what I was doing was working or not. It all made sense to me. I also found it easy to apply to all facets of my life!

  • How has Golden Care helped you in your career development? 

It has allowed me to balance clinical work and quality assurance, which I have always been passionate about. Quality assurance is such a crucial part of our work that it only helps you become a better clinician.

  •  What advice do you have for prospective Golden Care candidates?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Honestly, the team at Golden Care has been such a breath of fresh air! I have been in this field for quite a while, and very few companies have such a supportive admin and clinical team who care about your well-being and needs. You want to ensure that you are both (the company and the clinician) meeting each other’s needs, so be sure to ask all the questions you have; there is nothing too silly, no matter what stage you are at in your career. The more questions you ask, the more it shows that you care about your future, where you want to work, and the type of company you want to be aligned with.  

  • What do you find the most challenging in your work as a BCBA?

The most challenging part of being a BCBA is that if you’re a highly empathetic human being, things can get overwhelming, and you will burnout fast. You must find a work-life balance and be strict about it. It is essential to be compassionate and culturally responsive and provide the best care for your learners and their families. However, I have also learnt you can’t pour from an empty cup. So, the most challenging is learning to prioritise yourself first, having a cut-off time and ensuring you make time for yourself. It’s also imperative to stay organised while being flexible, knowing that your schedule will change anytime.

  •  What drew you to Golden Care originally? And how has Golden Care changed since? 

I was initially drawn to Golden Care because of the warmth of the Admin and HR Team. I loved that they required me to take a Cultural Training Course as a pre-requisite for onboarding. That was my big green flag. DEI is such a big part of who I am and what I stand for. It’s how I was raised, what I believe in and what I think is lacking in quality care and excellence in the field presently. Incorporating DEI training will only push this field towards excellence and quality care. It’s also ingrained in my personality and how I’ve always practiced as a clinician. I also love that the Golden Care Team is always open to suggestions and feedback. It is nice to be at a company where your thoughts are valued. I also like that you get the opportunity to connect with other clinicians daily if you choose to. 

  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?  

My big sister Heather (she is such an amazing mentor, and I am so grateful to have her)  gave me great advice when I was younger. She told me to pick a profession that I loved and that even on those hard days, I would never truly work a day in my life, and she was right! 
My dad taught me that my word was my bond and that you can’t get anywhere without hard work. I’ve kept that with me throughout my entire life.

My parents also taught me to treat everyone with respect and I am no better than anyone else – no matter what colour, class, or creed, whether it’s the man sweeping the street or the King and Queen of a country. 

  • What’s the one thing you’d tell your younger self?  

This seems impossible, but you can and will do it. Also, take some breaks now and then and get some sleep! It’s also okay to say no sometimes. 

  • What is the favorite part in your work as a BCBA/ of working for Golden Care?  

My favourite part of my work as a BCBA is connecting with so many different cultures, personalities, and families. I also appreciate the connections that I have made. I thoroughly enjoy collaborating with others. I have received outstanding mentorship over the years, and it has turned into beautiful friendships that I will treasure for life. I also love connecting with kids even though I am providing services via Telehealth. It always feels like a great accomplishment when they get excited to see me; they can share things with me and tell me about their day or “play with me.” I also appreciate how available everyone is from our Clinical Director Jenn, who is always a call away, our State Director Martha, Ashley & Alexis in HR, to Greg in Billing, Manny & Jennily in Staffing, and our amazing Case Managers Paige and Francies! Everyone is always easy to reach and eager to help daily! I truly appreciate that, and if I forgot someone, please know it was unintentional, but I appreciate you! Akiva, you have created an amazing team!

  • What is your proudest moment at Golden Care/ in your work as a BCBA?
    • It is being recognised with this Gold Star Award! This is so heartwarming!
    • Another moment that comes to mind is getting my first paper accepted to ABAI in 2013.

  • What is one thing that you wished people knew about your job?  

It is a gratifying and fulfilling career but also incredibly draining! At the end of the day, I want to disconnect and decompress. People misinterpret or undermine how much brain work goes into this job and that your brain is analysing many different moving parts regarding clinical outcomes, treatment planning, parental expectations and ensuring you’re providing clinical quality. Although it may not be seen outwardly, it can impact you inwardly. We don’t only support the children we work with but also the parents, the grandparents, the extended families, and the behaviour technicians. In addition, we are responsible for staying on top of insurance requirements, assessments, and reports and ensuring goals are up to date weekly or bi-weekly! So, it is super important to have that balance and time to yourself where you don’t have to think! Also, there’s a big misconception that all I do is play with kids all day, but that’s the furthest thing from the truth!

  • What does the day to day of your job look like? 

My day-to-day looks like conducting assessments, completing reports, conducting supervision with behaviour technicians or RBTs, conduct family treatment guidance, doing treatment planning, updating Care Plans in Chorus, analysing data multiple times per day, meeting with behaviour technicians to ensure they are feeling supported, doing check-ins with families also to ensure they are feeling supported and are happy with their child’s progress. I am also always looking for the best resources and stimuli that would benefit the learners I am working with. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a resource junkie! I also always play Tetris with my schedule always trying to figure out how to schedule my sessions. I am always in constant communication with my team through text or email. I also do quality assurance on Care Plans and check in with Jenn, our amazing Clinical Director, a few times per week. I also speak with the learner’s care team, including their teachers, SLPs or OTs, to ensure we are all on the same page!

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Sherrell Mullen, BT
Interview with Sherrell Mullen, BT

What drove you to the ABA Therapist profession? I have worked with children for over 20 years within the school system and transitioning into ABA therapy was a natural fit for me.

How do you balance your career and family? One of the best parts of working as a therapist is the flexibility of the job. I can choose the hours that best fit the needs of my family. 

How has Goldencare helped you in your career development? I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing professionals that have enriched my knowledge, built my confidence and guided me to be my best. Their guidance and support paid off and I am now an RBT! 

What advice do you have for prospective Goldencare candidates? 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Communicating with your team is the best way to achieve success.

What do you find most challenging in your work as an ABA therapist?

Every client has varying  needs and learns differently. Finding what works best for each client can be challenging  but extremely rewarding when you reach that aha moment! 

What is your favorite part in your work as an ABA therapist at Goldencare/ of working for Goldencare? Working with young children is very rewarding to me. I especially love watching their growth as they develop the skills being taught.

What is the one thing that you wished people knew about your job?

I wish people realized how rewarding working as an ABA Therapist can be. Every single day is filled with learning experiences, opportunities for growth and my ultimate favorite, the achievements of my clients !

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Justin Urbano, BCBA
Interview with Justin Urbano, BCBA
  • Tell us a bit about your job as a BCBA.  

My job as a BCBA revolves around supervision, assessments, and QA work pertaining to our new platform Chorus.

 

 

  • What drove you to the BCBA profession?  

I graduated undergrad in 2016 at St Joe’s minoring in Autism Studies and worked at the Kinney Center.  Post graduation, I realized I wanted to continue my path in ABA and completed my Masters in ABA at Drexel in 2019.  Fast forward to now, and I have been a BCBA for over 2 years.

 

 

  • How has Golden Care helped you in your career development? 

Golden Care allowed me the opportunity to work alongside our amazing Clinical Director (Jenn), where I get to assist in BCBA QA Work to make sure client treatment plans match what’s on the Chorus platform.  I’ve only done clinical work in this field since 2015, so it’s great to learn more “behind the scenes” work in our field!

 

 

  • What do you find the most challenging in your work as a BCBA?  

The most challenging factor as a BCBA is being flexible in terms of scheduling sessions or meetings with parents.  Sometimes the schedule you set at the beginning of the week may change from time to time.

  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?  

The best advice I’ve ever been given was to not focus on the past or the future.  Rather, put all your time and energy in the now.

  • What is the favorite part in your work as a BCBA/ of working for Golden Care?  

My favorite part working as a BCBA at Golden Care is getting to collaborate with the BTs, RBTs, and parents, in order to provide top quality services to the clients we serve!

 

 

  • What is your proudest moment at Golden Care/ in your work as a BCBA?  

My proudest moment at Golden Care is being recognized with this Gold Star Award! 

 

 

  • What’s the one thing you’d tell your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to put the phone down and to always be present in the moment.

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sara ventricelli bt
Interview with Sara Ventricelli, BT

1. What drove you to the ABA Therapist Profession?

I got into ABA Therapy because I enjoy helping others but then feel in love with how rewarding it is.

2. What advice do you have for prospective Golden Care candidates?

Some advice I would give to future Golden Care candidates is to have patience, consistency, and to make the work fun.

3. What drew you to Golden Care originally? How has Golden Care changed since?

What drew me to Golden Care is the opportunity of growth that they offered. Not only have they met this, they have exceeded my expectations of such a great company to work for.

4. What have you gained from working at Golden Care Therapy?

I have gained so much more Knowledge in ABA Therapy since working with Golden Care. I have also experienced so much support from such a wonderful team.

5. What is the best advice you have ever been given?

The best advice I have ever been given is to take it day by day. Everyday is a new beginning to start again.

6. What is the one thing you would tell your ABA younger/ Therapist self?

One thing I would tell my younger self is to ask questions. Also to have confidence and not to be intimidated by challenges.

7. What is your favorite part in your work at Golden Care Therapy?

My favorite part in working at Golden Care Therapy is going to work with my clients and assisting in their development and growth.

8. What is one thing that you wished people knew about your job?

One thing I wish people knew about my job was how rewarding it is!

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iva parsons bcba
Interview with Iva Parsons, BCBA

Tell us a bit about your job as a BCBA. 

My role as a BCBA clinical supervisor is to advocate for the clients and their families based off of the client’s individual needs in order to achieve a meaningful life with socially significant behaviors. In addition, I am the BT’s supporter and assist in finding strategies and making modifications for the BT to successfully implement target/goals with our clients. Although I am continuously collaborating with the BTs, caregivers, and other professionals in the client’s life, one of my main priorities is that the client and overall team (BT, caregivers, etc.) are achieving a meaningful and enjoyable experience from services. 

 

What drove you to the BCBA profession?

 

Previously I was a BT in my early college years and I had the opportunity to work alongside some amazing BCBAS that supervised me. These BCBAs acted as my mentor and guided me along the way in which I was able to learn more about human behavior and how we could shape behaviors in order to make lives meaningful. The ABA language and style intrigued me very much and I decided that I too wanted to pursue my BCBA certification to make movement and impact in my community and of those around me. 

 

How do you balance your career and family? 

 

I think having routines and schedules is what I thrive from when it comes to balancing my career and family. Whether I am wearing my “working” or “mom” hat, I do my best to limit my distractions to ensure that I am fully present for myself and the individuals around me. Routines and schedules can create structure, but also good habits that turn into days, weeks, months, and years (which means progress!). I never miss a day where I don’t engage in story time with my two toddlers. 

 

How has Golden Care Therapy helped you  in your career development? 

 

Golden Care Therapy has been an absolute joy to be a part of! I have been able to connect with so many Golden Care Therapy staff members and they have been so supportive. Golden Care Therapy has taught me that we are able to provide quality services and reach many individuals that seek ABA therapy whether it be in-person and/or remote. One of the greatest attributes with Golden Care Therapy is that the staff has really been patient when it comes to barriers that arise and are willing to assist on problem solving together which I have carried over to my clients as well. Overall, I have been given many opportunities and learning opportunities (networking) with Golden Care Therapy. 

 

What advice do you have for prospective GCT candidates? 

 

Networking and communicating with your team and other GCT staff would be the best advice I could give. Our therapy services require us to seek out to other team members for support and learning opportunities so I think it is really amazing to be able to have that dynamic in order to be successful. 

 

What do you find the most challenging in your work as a BCBA?

I think one of the most challenging things as a BCBA is that families often have the view of “fast results”. This allows me the opportunity to disseminate ABA further and to teach families what ABA is about along with how each individual goes at their own pace. It is also a great opportunity to point out milestones that may be overlooked as “little progress”, but is still amazing progress for our clients!

 

What’s the one thing you’d tell your younger self? 

 

I would tell my younger self that failure is opportunity for growth. 

 

What is the favorite part in your work as a BCBA?

 

My favorite part about being a BCBA is being able to connect with so many different individuals and to be able to assist or have the potential to change behaviors for a meaningful life.

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Jahnasia Litzsey BT
Interview with Jahnasia Litzsey, BT
  • Tell us a bit about your job as an ABA Therapist.  As an ABA therapist I get to work one on one with some of the most amazing people I know. Helping my clients develop and understand the way of life is a pure joy. 
  • What drove you to the ABA Therapist profession?  Previously I worked in the DOE, In afterschool programs and learing how to deal with children who has a development delay is what made me come to this field. Also helping out family and friends with similar needs have always made it very easy for me to keep going in this direction.
  • How do you balance your career and family? It isn’t always so easy but you make it work. My availability to my clients is their time and their time alone, however things do happen but always build a relationship with your team.
  • What do you find the most challenging in your work as an ABA Therapist?  The most challenging thing I’ve faced in my time as an ABA therapist is learning that it isn’t my fault that a client isn’t meeting some of the goals. By that I mean you work and try all that you know and ask questions and suggestions but remember never take it personal. They each learn differently.
  • What’s the one thing you’d tell your younger self?  Believe in yourself ! Be kind and always smile. Although I always followed to be kind and smile believing in myself was tough. But no matter what if you think you can then you know you can.
  • What is the favorite part in your work as an ABA Therapist?  Seeing the change and development of my clients. Knowing that they are a little bit closer to independence. 
  • What is one thing that you wished people knew about your job?  Patience and understanding. Learn your clients and really understand what task you are being asked to.
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Lynda Rosner BCBA
Interview with Lynda Rosner, BCBA

Tell us a bit about your job as a BCBA. I have the privilege of working with a wide range of students across New York, spanning from those as young as 18 months to high school-aged individuals. My role includes tasks such as creating treatment plans, designing effective programs, conducting initial assessments, and exploring novel approaches to address behavioral issues. I love figuring out what makes each individual unique and how we can take their strengths and help them become the best version of themselves.

  What drove you to the BCBA profession?  After I graduated from college with an undergraduate degree in Speech in 2000, I got a job working for an agency that provided speech and ABA services. I had never even heard of ABA but after my first training, I was hooked. I began reading and researching everything I could and eventually I discovered that I could actually get my master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. When I set out to find a supervisor there were only 2 BCBAs in a 100 mile radius! Only 1 responded and she took me under her wing and taught me everything she knew.  

  How do you balance your career and family?  I try to work the most when my children are in school or in their after-school activities.

  How has Golden Care helped you in your career development? Golden Care has provided me with a really cool opportunity to further my career.  I was working long hours in a clinic about 45 minutes from my home and started with Golden Care for some extra money to pay for my children’s wildly expensive activities! Soon after I began, I realized that I could open my own small private agency where I provide school consultations, parent training and social skills groups and continue supervising behavior techs and providing insurance-based services through Golden Care. This way I have the best of everything!

  What advice do you have for prospective Golden Care candidates? Ask questions! Everyone I have met with has been so open, so willing to help and so willing to support!

  What do you find the most challenging in your work as a BCBA?  The most challenging part is staying organized enough to get all my tasks done efficiently.

  What drew you to Golden Care originally? And how has Golden Care changed since? When I interviewed with the Golden Care team everyone was so positive and welcoming. I feel that problems are always tackled immediately, and new policies are constantly be put in place to protect both employees and the clients we serve.  I always feel supported. I really love all the new graphics containing important information!

  What have you gained from working at Golden Care?  I love meeting families from different areas of New York. It’s cool to see how other BCBAs address problem behaviors and teach new skills.

  What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?  My dad taught me to look at the world with an open heart and without judgement. He always saw the spark in people and showed me that you can do anything you want if you just believe in yourself and put in the effort.

  What’s the one thing you’d tell your younger self?  You can do it and you will do it.  

  What is the favorite part in your work as a BCBA/ of working for Golden Care?  I absolutely love being a BCBA. I enjoy making connections with families and really helping them to learn how to help their children and themselves without judgement. I love that I get to empower behavior techs with the skills to change lives.

  What is your proudest moment at Golden Care/ in your work as a BCBA? I can’t say I have a “moment” but I do love the feeling when a parent tells me that they listened to what I was saying and it changed their lives.     

  What is one thing that you wished people knew about your job?  While I love it , it can be draining at times! You need to be able to find that balance so that you can provide the best support to the families and behavior techs you work with and to yourself and your family!

  What does the day to day of your job look like?  I put my kids on the bus and head to my office. I check my emails and my schedules, and the list is things I need to get done.  During the day I typically provide parent training, school consults, make materials to send out to families, type up assessments and review programs and notes. I go home, get my children off the bus, bring them to their activities and then log on to my supervision cases! 

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Interview with Nicole Iacullo, BCBA
  • Tell us a bit about your job as a BCBA.  
    • As a BCBA for a home program, I am responsible for assessing a client’s skills on an ongoing basis and developing a treatment plan and programs to facilitate skill development.  I coordinate with the family, other related service providers and the behavior technicians on a regular basis to coordinate care.  I also provide ongoing supervision to behavior therapists and parent training to caregivers.  
  • What drove you to the BCBA profession?  
    • I began my career over twenty years ago working as an instructional assistant in an ABA program and later as a behavior technician in a home ABA program.  As a child study team member in a public school, I have been working with children on the Autism Spectrum for my entire professional career and have always been interested in the science of Applied Behavioral Analysis.  I decided to pursue my BCBA twelve years ago through the Rutgers ABA certification program.
  • How do you balance your career and family? 
    • The key to balancing career and family is to not take on more cases than you can handle effectively.  Being a BCBA for a home program allows you to schedule cases around your current schedule and other family obligations.  The opportunity to work remotely is also helpful for work-life balance.
  • How has Golden Care helped you in your career development? 
    • I find that Golden Care has helped me develop as a BCBA through the quality assurance process and opportunities for regular professional development.  With the ever changing insurance mandates and regulations, the feedback on treatment planning and billing is invaluable.  I also very much appreciate the supervision with the Clinical Director, Jenn Franco.  Whenever I have a question or problem with a case, Jenn is only a phone call away.
  • What drew you to Golden Care originally? And how has Golden Care changed since? 
    • I began with Golden Care several years ago and was drawn to the professionals I interacted with within the organization.  I liked how Golden Care embraces technology and uses apps for data management.  I also liked that I could take on as many or as few cases that fit my schedule. Golden Care has changed quite a bit since I began working with them several years ago.  They are expanding and growing and offering more training opportunities for staff.  
  • What have you gained from working at Golden Care? 
    • I have had the opportunity to work with so many caring professionals and wonderful families and clients.
  • What is the favorite part in your work as a BCBA/ of working for Golden Care?  
    • Seeing the progress in my clients and how it positively impacts the life of families. I also love working and providing supervision with the behavior technicians.  There is also something very rewarding about seeing a graph trending in the right direction and seeing a program you developed mastered.
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Interview with Sabrina Varona
  • Tell us a bit about your job as an ABA THERAPIST.

As a veteran in the field of ABA therapy, I have found the duties expected in the position go far beyond just one-to-one instruction, rather the responsibilities that we as therapists take on include commitment, enthusiasm, and flexibility in all therapeutic services provided to not just the child but also the family members. On any given day, I will work with at least one to four clients in a varied set of contexts and environments. The science behind applied behavior analysis is quite detailed and complex yet logical and understandable. And as a behavioral therapist working in both the home and school constructs, the responsibilities that I take on and the guidance that I provide are different in all instances dependent on the very specific needs of the client and family.  For example, when working in a school setting with a child, depending on their level of functionality, my job might include a very specific set of tasks. While working with clients in the school setting, confidentiality and treatment interventions should not be broadcast amongst the class members but only shared with the special education department/teacher, classroom aids, and the child study team personnel.

In some instances, such as with a lower-functioning child who was nonverbal for instance, my job responsibilities may include being a shadow.  Where my efforts are to help the child engage in the environment by promoting and modeling appropriate behaviors and social skills. While working in a classroom because of the difference in the circumstances, there is a different set of challenges.  The understanding that the shadow is responsible for may also include performing de-escalation techniques while maintaining the goal of helping the child to integrate into classroom activities and interpersonal skills with both peers and adults present. 

To me being an ABA therapist provides rewarding outcomes that have special meaning within the lives of both me and my clients, ultimately having a profound effect on the levels of understanding and commitment needed for ABA practices to be effective. While working in the home environment, these responsibilities carry over on a smaller scale and with the added guidance, reassurance, and expectations of the family.  While I enjoy the classroom, I prefer the home environment because teaching and support are desperately needed, especially for individuals who know little about autism and even less about ABA therapy. Helping family members learn about ASD and various therapeutic practices will also be an avenue toward the generalization of skills learned thus having a tremendous impact on the overall functioning of both children specifically as well as the family unit’s level of functioning overall.

  Our efforts toward family involvement with their child’s therapeutic needs allow the efforts of the family to be constructive and effective in treating children along the spectrum. It is the interactions and therapeutic understanding of ABA therapy that prompt our efforts to continually learn and gain an even deeper level of understanding of the complexities associated with developmental disabilities, and the overall impact it has on the family’s interactions. It is These practices that continually help us build and nurture the pursuit of personal and professional goals and development to ensure we are consistently understanding, patient, and compassionate in all daily interactions with the families and children we serve.  

 

Generally, when beginning a new case with a new family who has not had the opportunity to learn, or implement ABA therapeutic services, we must first help them to understand the concepts and offer them as much knowledge and insight as we can regarding the theoretical orientation, expectations, basic principles, and assumptions while working diligently to build rapport with not only the child but also the family members. In many instances over the 30 years, I have been an ABA therapist, I have found that when a family is new to a diagnosis, there is a sense of instability and uncertainty that comes with the complex and multifaceted factors associated with a developmental delay. Therefore, it is our job to provide and implement psychoeducation interventions while providing a nurturing and non-judgmental environment for both children and for parents to exercise their abilities moving forward.

  • What drove you to the ABA Therapist profession?  

I started working at a daycare early on in high school. While I knew I wanted to work with children as a career choice, it wasn’t until after most of my college degree that I determined that special Ed would be the route I would like to pursue. This realization came to me well working in a traditional education setting and being the go-to teacher for all the children with “behavioral issues”. Instead of avoiding or ignoring these issues, it is within my nature to understand their issues as well as provide insight and consistency in my attempts to treat them. When I began in this field over 28 years ago, only intensive training and certification in ABA therapy were needed in order to perform and implement ABA strategies and interventions. A portion of this certification and training included shadowing and one-to-one training with BCBA for 18 months.  At the end of my time as an apprentice, and support staff for other therapists, I had gained the confidence and determination needed to operate independently as a professional within the field. It is only now after years of service that I am pursuing a master’s so that I can expand and supplement my skill set and expand my knowledge base while in route to become an LPC in Mental Health Counseling.

  • How do you balance your career and family? 

Balance is tricky for most of us, especially for the professionals who have chosen to be part of the caretaking field. Now as a professional in the field of ABA practices, I have done my best to provide guidance, support, and structure to the families I serve. While Compassionate care and patience are second nature to me, most of my skill set and ability to provide comprehensive care is founded within my time practicing ABA in the field, conducting extensive research, maintaining academic success, and consulting with my colleagues, teachers, supervisors and BCBA’s I have had the pleasure of working with. Also, as a behavioral therapist, I have learned the importance of maintaining a level of self-care at the forefront of my responsibilities to avoid burnout. I think I have finally learned how to balance my responsibilities as a therapist, wife, mother, and student to avoid the risk of burnout, so the short answer is self-care. Regardless of the caseload, scheduling, or overwhelming needs of the family, burnout is inevitable when in the field without practicing any form of self-love and care. 

 Although I am optimistic and excited about both current and future endeavors, I am also very aware that without maintenance on my own mental health, I will not be able to be the best therapist that I can be for the families that I serve. Therefore, I have developed a common practice of a daily lunch break that I make myself take each day. So, even if I am on the computer all morning with schoolwork and with clients all afternoon and evening, I will force myself to take that 20-minute break in order to help regroup and refresh my efforts in understanding and attending to both personal and professional endeavors. 

  • How has Golden Care helped you in your career development? 

Before becoming a contractor for Golden Care Therapy, I was responsible for recruiting my own clients, creating, and implementing treatment plans, as well as hiring and training support staff. This was accomplished alone with very little support or insight from other experienced members of my field. While I was efficient in this process, I am much more confident, calm, and frankly less lonely, knowing that GCT is in my corner. Since I started working for the company several years ago, I have made it a mission to stay in touch and informed with my supervisors and family members in order to ensure a continuum of care, personalized interventions, and collaborative effort in therapeutic affairs and intervention strategies provided.

  • What advice do you have for prospective Golden Care candidates? 

Practice patience and remain flexible… I say this because of the various challenges faced when working for more than one company as a contractor, visiting various homes, and pursuing academic studies all the while trying to coordinate the perfect schedule can be overwhelming! If we as therapists are closed-minded, and ridged in our efforts to help clients we are len less likely to make substantial progress. The majority of my career thus far has been grounded in my ability to be flexible, patient, and understanding while trying to accommodate each family’s specific emotional and instructional needs. 

Another philosophy that I hold dear is grounded in the idea that every day is a learning experience. By that, I mean although I have experience working as a therapist, I remain humble, cooperative, and inspired by the BCBA and the companies I partner with. This has helped me to become more aware and knowledgeable as a professional While operating under the assumption that no two children are alike, and every family has their own cultural and personal experiences that can and will affect their level of commitment and ability to prioritize a consistent schedule. These factors help family members learn techniques and gain an understanding of the therapeutic efforts we provide. All the while we collectively need to be understanding, flexible, and teachable in our efforts to provide treatment and work around the inconsistencies found in everyday life. 

Now consider for a moment that I was to presume I was an expert and think I have no need to expand my skill set, both I and my family would be at a disadvantage because I would not be able to operate to my fullest potential if I’m not able to listen, learn and collaborate with both supervisors and family members. As a student of life, I am aware of and appreciate the experience and expertise of the team members I work with. Also noteworthy is that while I presently contract work for three separate companies, the BCBAs and office staff I have with GCT have not only been inspirational in my efforts and practice as a therapist but also have served as a support system where I too can find comfort and solace in the team effort that takes place when coordinating services for with GCT and numerous families.

  • What do you find the most challenging in your work as an ABA Therapist?  

Scheduling! To date, managing all the various personalities and responsibilities of each child and their family can be a challenge at times when trying to create and maintain a consistent and stable work schedule. This is even more compounded by the fact that most of the children we serve spend most of their day in school leaving only the early afternoon hours for ABA therapy at home. So, while there have been times that I would have loved to work more morning hours I am aware that outside of clients receiving early intervention morning and early morning hours are highly unlikely instead, the families need me to come and provide services within the 3:00 – 10:00 PM time frame in order to accommodate the child’s school schedule and parent work schedule. 

It is because of the high demand for afternoon hours that I have been pursuing my master’s degree in family counseling online and completing most of my studies and assignments in the morning hours so I can see clients during that afternoon timeframe. While situations may arise and changes may have to be made, I have found that as long as I am open, honest, and flexible with my families and the companies I work for  I will be able to provide a high level of professionalism and support amidst the uncertainty and confusion in the various phases of treatment for children with ASD.

  • What drew you to Golden Care originally? And how has Golden Care changed since? 

I began contract work for various companies about four years ago, however, I feel as though my level of commitment and professionalism have been strengthened because of the culture within the GCT organization. The support, and guidance that I receive from GCT staff Have helped me to coordinate a realistic schedule where I can commit and follow through with all my responsibilities in the Professional, academic, and private sectors of life. And while I am experienced in working for several companies at a time, GCT has provided me with comprehensive professional Opportunities while also attending to any questions or concerns I may have. the efforts and support found at GCT have made it easier to fulfill my own expectations of professional practice in the therapeutic environment as well as personal satisfaction in my abilities as a Seasoned therapist and academic student. This has allowed me to provide the families I serve with knowledge, understanding, and suggestions over the course of the care provided.

  • What have you gained from working at Golden Care?  

While one can argue that there are various companies that provide ABA services and help to build the amount of clientele, personally I feel confident that I have and will continue to have the support, guidance, structure, and stability needed in order to provide comprehensive care to my clients while maintaining a high level of professionalism in all my efforts and encounters.

  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?  

“The only thing constant in life is change’ over the years within both my career and personal affairs, I have found that comfortability and becoming complacent will work against me in my efforts to provide effective services.  This is true because it is when a person becomes bored or complacent, their professional efforts may lack the excitement, motivation, and pride in work habits. Sometimes, however, it is a small change we may even be forced into that can ultimately alter or modify every aspect of our lives.

 For instance, I was very comfortable working 50 to 70 hours a week building programs, providing therapy, meeting with school administration, and counseling families but then a major change in my life occurred…. The birth of my first Child!. It was that change in my level of responsibility and understanding of human connections that helped me to stay motivated towards growth, that caused me to revalue my daily schedule. Ultimately helping me to pursue and accomplish various professional goals and academic excellence as I continue to nurture and expand my levels of professional knowledge throughout many years in practice.

  • What’s the one thing you’d tell your younger self?  

Although planning and structure are the cornerstones to a productive lifestyle, it is the things we do not plan for such as loss, love, and commitment where the experience helps us to achieve healing and excellence needed to fulfill the various roles and perspectives we adopt. As individuals in the journey of life understand that it is sometimes a plan of action that will change us and this is not immediate, rather growth happens in a step-by-step process over the years of experiences, changes, and circumstances we endure that shape our perceptions, and provide the necessities needed to live a happy and healthy lifestyle. 

  • What is your favorite part of your work as an ABA Therapist/ of working for Golden Care?  

Even with almost 30 years under my belt in the field, the clients I have gained with GCT have proven to be some of the most rewarding circumstances I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of. I thoroughly respect, understand and appreciate the feedback I get from my BCBAs and supervisors helping to make my job as an ABA therapist smoother and helping me to eliminate various obstacles that can and may arise when in this profession. The collaborative effort and teamwork provided has allowed me to concentrate and enjoy my efforts at work.

  • What is your proudest moment at Golden Care/ in your work as an ABA Therapist?  

Upon my hire at GCT, I was assigned to a family who had two children on the autism spectrum with my client being on the lower functioning end and nonverbal. The sessions we shared proved to be a foreign concept for this child regarding his understanding and comprehension of where and how instruction is given, and goals are obtained. Therefore, one of the first goals we worked on was one-step directions where the SD was to “touch your head”. It took this client over six months to grasp the concept and practices of ABA and to respond in an appropriate and familiar way so that he could flourish in his acquisition of the skill. Now, almost two years later that same client has learned sign language And a PEC system in order to communicate. It is also evident that he has a profound understanding of the expectations ABA brings to his daily life. Now when the new target for a one-step direction is to touch your nose, close the door, sit down, etc. He’s able to reach the target in a considerably shorter amount of time with fewer tantrums or aggressive outbursts. 

When I started with him, he presented as a child with hyper-focus on the tablet and computer games with no interest in communicating or engaging with his environment. However, as of now, we engage in social skills training, academic preparation, and replacement behaviors for his frustration and anger associated with his inability to communicate. The proudest movement was not just when he finally did touch his head in that first one-step direction but when the parents kept me after a session in order to express their gratitude, excitement, and commitment to the ABA process and my relationship with their child. The expression of their appreciation solidified all my hopes that the language barrier between child and parent could be compromised in a way that frustration is less likely to occur and maladaptive behaviors less likely to be seen.

  • What is one thing that you wished people knew about your job?  

As I’m sure is true in most professions, there is so much that lies under the surface in the therapeutic community of ABA practices. For instance, ABA therapy is much more involved than just discrete trial teaching, social skills training, and adjustments to environmental stimuli but often serves as the backbone to gaining and maintaining a broader understanding and patience for the therapeutic process. What it is like for the low-functioning nonverbal child, I would imagine it is like being in Italy and not speaking a word of Italian. I couldn’t fathom just how frustrating it must be from their perspective to hear myself speaking and nobody understanding what I’m trying to say or being able to accommodate my wishes or attending to my needs. In most cases, The frustration in a lack of understanding of language both given and received, ultimately leads to aggression and temper tantrums as this is the only way the child has been able to communicate effectively in the past. Therefore, ABA is much more than just teaching academic skills, personal hygiene practices, and daily schedules it also provides the framework for a deeper understanding and stronger commitment to the therapeutic process to which the nonverbal child can learn to communicate in a way that the adults around him understand.

  • What does the day-to-day of your job look like? 

During the early morning hours, when school typically starts, I drop off my children at school and then head over to my first client. By 1:00 o’clock, I take a short lunch break before becoming immersed in my studies Where I can conduct research, gain knowledge, and ultimately achieve academic excellence across all my courses. By 3:30, I then pick up my children and transport them home, set them up with their homework and snack, and then I’m off to my clients by early afternoon. In some instances, I will not get home until late at night because of the distance I must travel for my clients but I’m a firm believer in Silver Linings and it is the drive home that helps me to take time for myself and reflect on my day and all I have encountered as well as plan for the upcoming day. 

 

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