Tonya S
Specializing in autistic speech

Sasha Y.

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My Work Style

I value a relationship first, as we need to hear, accept, and trust each other in this work. So it is important to spend time with the family and understand how their life works, and what their struggles are. Then I like to discuss goals and to prioritize them. Even though it would be nice to fix everything at once, that’s not possible - so we prioritize, and then hopefully as we start seeing successes, we can take on more and more. I explain the work to the family, how we go about changing behavior, so that they understand but also so that they buy in. It’s so important for families to understand what we do. We as clinicians can come in and do our work - but when we leave, it’s the parents and family unit that stay and are living their life. If we can explain how we do what we do and coach them through doing it themselves, there’s a higher chance that they will be able to implement the plan when we are not there, which creates change so much faster.

Area of Expertise

Communication deficits, social skills deficits, verbal behavior, academic/pre-academic skills, functional skills, school-based supports, vocational skills, natural environment teaching.

BHCOE Accreditation

What I Do To De-stress In My Free Time

Snuggling with my bebe, walking to a restaurant, watching tv, listening to music or a podcast to distract myself or think about the bigger picture - and remember that my life and my problems are not as crucial as they may seem in the moment.

Why I Became a BCBA

I love working with children, especially kiddos with special needs; I love helping people; and I love problem solving. When I stumbled into the world of Applied Behavior Analysis and saw how it really works, it was a game-changer for me. ABA is exciting - it’s a science, it’s effective, it helps people. It can be used to help so many behaviors in so many aspects of people’s lives - which can be life-changing and even world-changing.

What Previous Clients Would Say About Me

I think they would say I am very empathetic and fully invested in how I can best help them. I believe we are all doing the best we can with the skillsets we bring to the table. I try to meet people where they are and figure out how we can problem-solve -- and work and grow together.

What I Love Most About What I Do

Problem solving - finding answers to issues that have been making people’s lives tough, and being able to offer some solutions and alleviate some pain.

Most Challenging Professional Moment

I have lived and worked in other countries where there is less understanding of ABA and overall less understanding of people with special needs and especially people with autism. The focus in that situation was on teaching parents, as well as other professionals and an entire community, how to work with and to accept people who engage in our world a bit differently than most.

Most Rewarding Professional Moment

When a client begins to speak - or to do whatever it is you have been repeatedly practicing with them. It’s amazing. And perhaps the moment just before has been super frustrating for everyone (clinician, parent, and of course the child) - and then she or he says/does something and you want to cry and scream and laugh all at once!

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