Meet Our Team: Laura Rodriguez, MA, CCC/SLP

Give a little background information about yourself:
I grew up in El Paso, TX and got my undergrad degree at the University of Texas at El Paso in secondary education. I moved to Austin for grad school in 2012 and got my graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology at UT Austin. I completely fell in love with Austin so after I graduated I decided to stay a while. After grad school, I provided speech therapy services for children with a variety of speech and language disorders in the school districts. A year ago I came here to Building BLOCS and it has been such an amazing experience. I currently live in Austin with my fiancé and our two dogs.

What brought you in to this field?
I’ve always loved working with children and being able to help them overcome obstacles and make progress has been amazing. It is so rewarding to see how much my clients grow from year to year and helping them connect and communicate with those around them has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.

What are some favorite parts about your job?
I love the collaboration we have here between all the therapists. It allows us to constantly come up with new approaches and it has really helped me grow as a therapist. Since we all do the same theme for a month it really allows us to fully explore all the concepts and vocabulary that relate to a theme. We just wrapped up a community helpers theme and we spent the month talking about all the things community helpers use for their jobs, we made fire truck cookies, and played out going to the doctor. We even put out fake fires in the gym. This job is the best!

What are a couple interesting facts about yourself?
I love to make things, whether its crafts, sewing Halloween costumes, painting, or cooking. Being able to put hard work into something and then seeing the results of that labor is super satisfying. I can play the piano and the clarinet and I love playing retro video games with my fiancé. I love sloths and Harry Potter and I’ve reread the books a dozen times.

Meet Our Team: Katia Gonzalez Quiroga

 

Give a little background information about yourself: I was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, and came to the U.S. for school. I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the University of San Diego, as well as my California Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential (elementary school). Obviously, I love kids! I am currently working on getting my Master’s Degree at the University of Texas at Austin in Early Childhood Special Education and will be graduating this coming August. My hope is to become a BCBA within a year, and to open my own clinic in Mexico in the future.

What brought you in to this field? It all started out when I was in different elementary school placements as a requirement to obtain my teaching credential. There was a child with autism in my class and I fell in love! Scribbles instead of numbers on math worksheets, behavior tantrums, looking out the window during lessons, and constant motor stereotypy were a reality for this young boy. As I got to know him, I discovered an amazing and intelligent individual who led me to want to learn more about children who, for reasons yet unknown, live with this diagnosis. I was fascinated by the strength shown not only by the child, but by his parents. Having this little boy in class made me want to understand him, learn about his thought process and the way he was able to learn, while at the same time trying to control himself and be able to interact with other children in a school environment. I watched his growths, his setbacks, and became so enthused with his development that I decided to look for a job in behavior analysis.

What are some of your favorite parts about this job? My favorite part about my job is getting to see how beneficial ABA is to children with autism. Hearing a child’s first word, seeing them point in order to request, or waiting rather than having a tantrum, are all reasons for me to get up every morning. I also love our team. Never have I felt more at home and supported as an employee.

What are a couple interesting facts about yourself? I LOVE to travel! I have had the opportunity to visit over 30 countries. If I could do something every day, it would be just that. I love learning about different cultures and experiencing new things. I also love reading, knitting, baking, and skiing. Interestingly enough, my best friend taught me an original song on the piano which I can play really well. People would assume I’ve taken piano lessons for years, but, unfortunately, I cannot play anything else. Maybe one day I will.