Meet Our Team: Valeria Hinojosa ABA therapist

Give a little background information about yourself:   I was born in Rio Grande City, Texas, and moved to Mission, Texas, where I attended school at the University of Texas – Pan American. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Rehabilitation Services and started volunteering for CASA of Hidalgo County as a Court Appointed Special Advocate. I also volunteered with special needs kids in college by assisting them with attending class and tutoring after class time. I plan on going back to school for my Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Special Education and becoming a BCBA.

What brought you to this field? When my brother was in kinder I remember seeing a boy in his class who stood out to me, at the time I was only eight, so I didn’t understand why he did things differently than others. However, this little boy has always stayed on my mind. Then when I started third grade a saw another little girl who reminded me of him they both didn’t socialize with the rest of the class, at times they would get really frustrated, and I remember going home and wondering how someone, or I, could help these kids out. It wasn’t until high school where I saw that some kids still struggling with situations in the same way that I had seen when I was younger, that I decided to ask and research what this all meant. Also, being raised in the valley I now realize that a lot of people either didn’t know how to explain this to me or weren’t properly educated on the subject. Finally, entering college I started my core classes not really knowing what I wanted to do for my bachelor’s until I took an elective on Childhood Development and got to talking to the professor about children who are diagnosed with autism. It felt like everything I had seen when I was growing up came together like a puzzle piece and I just had too know more. So, the next day I talked to my guidance counselor about moving over to the Rehab Department and I loved every minute of it. I realized that by educating myself on this diagnosis I could help my community by educating families, so they are able to provide better opportunities for their children. Now realizing there is still so much more to learn, has been my motivation to go back to school to further my education.

What are some of your favorite parts about this job? One of my favorite parts of this job has been interacting with the kids and having the chance to be silly with them! In the time that I’ve been here I’ve also seen a lot of children grow and its very exciting to be a part of that. I can’t put into words the rush of emotions you get, as a therapist, when the kids say their first words or make progress in any way possible. It’s a great feeling and it helps you realize that, at the end of the day, you are making a difference somewhere.

What are a couple interesting facts about yourself? I enjoy refurbishing furniture and going to the flea market and seeing what others have refurbished. I also love to watch Fixer Upper to get ideas on how to decorate a home, I’ve gone to the Magnolia Farm a couple times now just to steal Joanna’s designs! I’ve done some traveling where I went to visit Paris, Amsterdam, and London. I am planning to do more of that as well since it’s a fun way to experience different cultures. Lastly, I love spending time with my family so I try to make as many trips over to them as possible and sometimes I ask them not make me do the drive so I beg that they come see me!