If you have been following us on social media you know that our BCBAs and a few of our ABA therapists attended the TxABA conference and are so excited to share some of the new and exciting research presentations that we were able to sit in on while there. A team favorite was Francesca degli Espinosa’s presentation on verbal behavior: Teaching verbal conditional discrimination: a framework for organizing language curricula to establish generalized question-answering in children with autism. Francesca degli Espinosa also presented her research on verbal behavior at the National Autism Conference in 2015 and more recently across the globe before making it to TxABA. If you are at all interested in expanding verbal repertoire or even learning more about verbal behavior in general, take a look at Espinosa’s presentation linked below.
Hala is currently one of our BCBAs at BLOCS, we wanted to give you all a better idea of why we love having her around so much!
Give us a little background information about yourself…“I am originally from Houston and moved to Austin in 2002 for school. I graduated from the University of Texas Austin with a degree in Special Education in 2006 and immediately worked afterwards as a teacher for children with Autism in Pflugerville ISD. There I was able to implement an infusion of ABA strategies to help children learn functional skills, access their curriculum, and promote inclusion. My teaching experience fueled my desire to further my knowledge in the field and I entered into the Special Education Graduate program specializing in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. I graduated in 2011 and became a BCBA.”
What brought you into this field? “Two experiences pulled me like a magnet to the field of autism. This first was my experience working with a child with autism at a summer camp when I was 15 years old. I did not know much about the disability. The second was as an undergraduate during my teaching practicum. I had decided to pursue becoming a resource teacher until I worked in a classroom designed for children with autism. The program facilitated small group and 1:1 time to teach social and communication skills for part of the day and provided inclusion support for the children to generalize their skills into the mainstream classroom. IT was my first experience seeing ABA in action and I immediately fell in love with the children and implementing the program.”
What are some favorite parts about your job? “One of my favorite parts of this job is not only providing children with the tools they need to communicate and utilize language effectively but also learning each child’s unique talent and skill. I love being able to capitalize on a child’s unique abilities to help them shine. Another part of this job I adore is working directly with families. This was something I was not able to spend enough time doing.”
What are a couple interesting facts about yourself? “My second passion is fitness. I teach fitness classes on the side and participate in CrossFit inspired classes. I can also speak a little Arabic due to my Lebanese background and I am planning to learn how to play the guitar.”
Briana is currently one of our ABA therapists at BLOCS and we wanted to give you all a better picture of who Briana is and why we love having her at BLOCS so much!
Give us a little background information about yourself
“I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. I moved to Austin, Texas, after graduating high school when I got accepted into the University of Texas at Austin; my Bachelor’s degree is in Special Education, and my Master’s degree is in Autism and Developmental Disorders. My short term goal is to pass the BCBA exam and my long term goal is to operate my own clinic one day.”
What brought you in to this field?
“As a special education teacher, I constantly found myself asking questions in regards to how to better support and understand my students who displayed challenging behaviors. It was this curiosity, as well as my interest in working with individuals diagnosed with Autism, that motivated me to pursue a career in ABA.”
What are some of your favorite parts of this job?
“I enjoy watching my clients learn new skills and accomplish new goals. I love working with families and supporting them as well.”
Name two interesting facts about yourself:
“I am super obsessed with Thor (the Avengers superhero): I enjoy collecting random Thor items. I am also a percussionist. I have been playing the drums since I was 10-years-old.”