At Innovative Behavior Options, we’re proud of our team, and we feel honored to work with some of the best Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapists out there. We’ve been spotlighting a few of our all-star staff members over the last few months, and today, we’d like to introduce you to Denise, one of our talented BCBAs!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a native of St. Louis, Missouri. I worked in the social work field for approximately 10 years prior to moving to Georgia, overseeing 8 and 16 bed extending living facilities. The facilities were Community Living Arrangements for individuals with diagnoses such as mental health issues, autism, cerebral palsy and bipolar disorder. I was also a Special Olympics coach for 10 years for gymnastics, soccer, and track and field. When my son was born and diagnosed as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (about 8 years ago), I decided to pursue my Master’s Degree in Psychology/ABA and become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. I continue to use my skills to help my own child and other children like him to thrive.
How long have you been part of the IBO team?
I started as a Registered Behavior Therapist (RBT) while finishing up my Master’s degree. I have been part of the IBO team for 8 years.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is different. I usually visit two clients per day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Sometimes I do face to face visits. and more recently, sometimes I do Telehealth visits, depending on a family’s comfort level during the ongoing pandemic. In between visits, I check email, make phone calls, develop resources for the RBT’s to use, and review and develop goals clients. I also manage and address any concerns from RBTs and parents.
What interested you initially about this type of work?
When I was about 12, I attended Girl Scout camp where I was assigned a buddy with a disability (she was blind). I discovered that I really enjoy helping people. I continued to attend that camp and was able to work as a buddy for another Girl Scout with a disability, and I learned a lot from her.
I get a lot of satisfaction when I develop treatment plans that change a person’s behavior in a positive way. I like being able to provide people with the tools needed to be successful.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy working with early intervention clients (ages 1 to 5 years) the most. It’s so rewarding to watch them grow and develop from where they started before ABA therapy and how far they have come after receiving ABA services.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned recently?
There have been a few:
- Autism is genetic, just as I always suspected.
- Toddlers with autism have unusually strong connections between sensory areas of the brain, and the stronger the connections, the more pronounced a child’s autism traits tend to be.
- The severity of core autism traits changes substantially in nearly half of autistic children from ages 3 to 6, according to a new study.
What puts a smile on your face?
The joy my children bring to my life each and every day! Olivia is 16, and Brycen is 14. I also just enjoy making other people happy and bringing joy to someone’s day. I like sharing a smile to make another person smile.
Denise’s passion for and commitment to helping individuals with autism and her love of learning and research are just two of the many aspects that make her such a valuable member of our team! If you’re interested in learning more about ABA therapy or working with one of our wonderful ABA therapists, check out our website or give us a call at 770-250-0093.