Meet our Team: Dania Prieto


1. Give a little background information about yourself: 

I was born in Havana, Cuba and raised in Austin, Texas. I received a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016. Recently, I was accepted into the University of North Texas where I will be working towards a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology.

2. What brought you in to this field? 

After graduating from UT, I decided to take a year off school and focus on gaining more work experience. Through an extensive google search for potential jobs in speech therapy, I stumbled into the field of ABA therapy. Upon further research, I felt convinced that ABA and speech therapy form an interdependent relationship. For example, by way of decreasing challenging behaviors through appropriate reinforcements, a child can concentrate their attention on more suitable ways to communicate. I’m so excited to be able to use what I have learned as an ABA therapist and apply it throughout my future career as a Speech-Language Pathologist.

3. What are some favorite parts about your job? 

I love my job because it doesn’t feel like a job. It’s a privilege to be able to play, or “work”, with some of the most intelligent children I’ve ever met. At the same time, I get to help them meet their receptive and expressive language, cognitive, and social goals. I’m always in awe at how quickly the kids accomplish certain goals and acquire new skills. I may be a lot more excited than they are when they finally master a matching/sorting goal, for example, but any kind of success is always worth celebrating!

4. What are a couple interesting facts about yourself?

I love to cook as a way to relieve stress. I tried yoga but it didn’t stick.
I lived in Madrid, Spain for six months and got to travel to 11 countries, including Morocco. I have a ton of Disney original films in VHS. I also once dedicated a full 24 hours to watching all 8 Harry Potter films!

Meet our Team: Jennifer Swinbank M.Ed., BCBA, CTRS

 

Give a little background information about yourself:

I grew up in Buda and never left the Austin area! Why would you leave this amazing city?!
I went to Texas State University for my undergraduate studies, graduating with a degree in Recreational Administration with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation in 2005. After graduating, I provided recreational therapy services for the CLASS program for about 7 years, assisting individuals with disabilities with accessing their community to participate in recreation and leisure activities. In 2011 I went back to Texas State University to obtain my masters in Special Education with a specialization in applied behavior analysis and autism.
I currently live in Austin with my husband and 3 year old daughter.

What brought you in to this field?

While working as a recreational therapist, I attended a workshop on applied behavior analysis. I found the concepts of ABA to be applicable to my job as a recreational therapist. I started to apply some of the concepts to challenging behaviors I would sometimes encounter. It was amazing to see an almost immediate response from some of my clients, so I decided to further pursue ABA.

What are some favorite parts about your job?

Each month Building BLOCS presents a theme around which stories, art, and games are focused. My favorite theme recently was our “pretend” theme. Our group spent the entire month learning about and working on pretending! We had so much fun and the kids were so creative! Watching the kids learn and apply their knowledge to the world around them, you feel a lot of pride when this happens.
I also enjoy that in this job, you never stop learning. I learn all the time from the kids, from the families, and from my co-workers.

What are a couple interesting facts about yourself?

I am a registered massage therapist, though I currently only provide services for individuals on the CLASS program. I have been providing massage therapy services to individuals on the CLASS program for about 15 years.

I love llamas and hope to someday own several llamas with which I can provide “animal-assisted” therapy services to nursing homes, schools, children’s shelters, etc.