Tonya S
Specializing in autistic speech

Carey S.

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My Work Style

I have a very collaborative work style and consider all factors in the client’s life and family when developing treatment plans. I break client goals down into manageable, attainable steps and provide their families and caregivers with support and guidance throughout the entire process. I believe in patient and family-centered care and encourage decision-making between clients, families, and all providers.

Area of Expertise

Verbal behavior, early learners, natural environment teaching, home and community-based delivery of services, non-vocal learners, functional/adaptive skills, parent/caregiver collaboration and coaching, potty training, and collaborating closely with Speech and Language Pathologists to maximize the therapeutic results of these complementary therapy modalities for the client.

BHCOE Accreditation

What I Do To De-stress In My Free Time

I de-stress by taking walks with my senior rescue beagle Betsy, hitting the weights at the gym, doing yoga, playing/composing music, or just getting out in nature. I also volunteer with a local Equine-Assisted Therapy program and will pretty much do anything just to be around horses!

Why I Became a BCBA

ABA had been “knocking at my door” my entire professional career! I first started down this path as a music therapist at Florida State University, where I was trained in a music therapy paradigm rooted heavily in the foundations of applied behavior analysis. During my career as a music therapist, I worked closely with one of my supervisors, Dr. Hakam Khair, who was a BCBA at the Shafallah Center for children with Special Needs in Doha, Qatar. Together we conducted research on increasing purposeful hand movement in a client with Rhett syndrome using music therapy, the results of which Dr. Khair presented in a poster session in Chicago at the 2005 annual Applied Behavior Analysis International conference. When I became a special education teacher in 2009, my school district hired a BCBA who mentored me in applications of ABA in the school setting. Becoming a BCBA was the next logical step for me professionally. I realized the positive impact I had seen from ABA across so many settings over the years and that I wanted to also be a facilitator of such change!

What Previous Clients Would Say About Me

Previous clients would say that I am all about having fun, being positive, and programming skills for generalization in the natural environment! I listen to families, and break goals down to manageable steps that are attainable for my clients.

What I Love Most About What I Do

What I love the most about being a Behavior Analyst is seeing clients experience mastery of a new skill for the first time. There is nothing more rewarding than those “aha” moments when it is apparent that things have “clicked” and the client’s life will be forever changed in a positive way from that moment forward.

Most Challenging Professional Moment

My most challenging professional moment was when I took the leap of faith to leave my position as a teacher and pursue becoming a Behavior Analyst! I am so glad I did it and would go down the same path again in a heartbeat.

Most Rewarding Professional Moment

My most rewarding professional moment was when one of my previously non-vocal clients began to vocally communicate by saying “bow” to ask for one of his peers to jump and bounce him on the trampoline!

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