Passion for seeing the children and adults grow, that is what makes this work so great.
In Europe, I was working with children who are emotionally and behaviorally challenged, and often diagnosed with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder or related disorders. Seeing the difficulties with the children who are diagnosed, but also them not feeling understood and knowing how to communicate to others, which singled them out. That was different, different compared to children who are not diagnosed.
About 13 years ago I moved to the USA, where I came in touch with ABA. A child that heavily inspired me to continue, started off like this (see reviews clients)…
I worked with the child as a behavior therapist, 5 days per week, for at least 3 hours per session. The child was 4 years old, very non-compliant, had a lot of tantrums and aggressive behaviors, was non-verbal and mainly watched TV. When we first started, I was trying to build a relationship with him, and engage in play. However, the only thing he wanted to do was walk away from me, eat and watch TV. I had to apply a variety of antecedent and consequence strategies, that involved reinforcing him when he was approaching me, providing very short instructions with consecutive praise, blocking him from hurting me, himself and walking away. Soon his tantrums started to become worse, which is called the extinction burst. Meaning, the more we use extinction (to not provide attention to the tantrums), the more tantrums he was displaying.
The tantrums evolved, when he first would occasionally hit, scream and cry, he would now kick me, put his fist in his mouth until he would gag (while looking at me), crying with lots of tears, and finally even urinating in his pants. His mother watched, and watched, every day. It felt like the movie Karate Kid..going through the motions of pain, and practice, but trusting that it will go into the right direction.
And it happened. One day, after approximately 3-4 weeks, he decided that his tantrums were not providing him access to escape or anything else.
From that specific day, many things moved into the right direction. He sat with me at the table, doing board games and taking turns, attending to the visual stimuli (such as showing cards of animals) and identifying them, using more vocalizations, using eye contact for lengthy amounts of times, waiting for access to preferred items and more. He would dress himself, brush his hair, go on walks while staying with his parent. He learned to move his legs while on the swing, and swing by himself. He also was intrigued by the environment I was pointing out, such as the colors of the leaves, and the ants that were walking in a trail. His world opened up. Mother continued to watch the process, and smiled more and more. She participated in the parent trainings I was providing. After about 2 years of services, he was able to attend a typical school, and continued with just speech therapy for his articulation.
Shortly after this client, I continued to work as a behavior therapist, but also started to work as a clinical supervisor. I collected my hours as a Marriage and family Therapist, and got my license. Inspired to learn more about using behavior strategies, I took on more classes in ABA and soon sat for my exam to become a BCBA. In the meantime, I was promoted to the position of a clinical director, and was able to develop many programs for children and adults, oversee all the various processes and work on a macro level. After also gaining more experience in the field in a few other local and national companies, I decided to spread my wings and do what I always wanted to do: integrate my knowledge and wisdom, and use my inspiration to set up an agency that will incorporate everything that I have learned that really works with our clients.
ASPIRE was initiated and soon was growing rapidly. The vision for this agency, is that we have staff who has utter passion for what they do. That the clients we work with, feel and see and notice, how our staff cares for their family. That they know, and trust, that our staff does everything they can do, to help this family succeed. The help the child succeed in all areas they need to succeed.
A successful company comes with amazing staff, who are passionate and want to grow and learn. We want leaders, supervisors, how are on top of the latest research, who want to continuously learn and grow, are open for feedback and apply this right away. Staff who knows the importance of being committed and consistent, because that is what families need.
Having seen many companies, who did not provide parent training, ASPIRE wanted to do it differently.
Working on parent training, during each session. Training staff in parent training and developing programs in where the parent becomes the expert. This way, we create independence, and a continuum of learning. Using technology, to make the time efficient, so we can work as an efficient team. Integrating knowledge from Occupational Therapy, in where we use sensory items and input, so we can help the client be more balanced and open for learning. Observing speech therapy sessions and observing classrooms, so we can integrate learning in our sessions. Informing families about resources, that they can connect to, when we witness that families are struggling, and are not available or have the space for ABA sessions due to the harshhips.
All of that and more, was the inspiration to put all together in one agency, and to create an international agency, that serves the world. ASPIRE is a World Citizen, who wants to work in any areas. The vision for ASPIRE is to be that agency, that anyone can approach, wherever in the world, and to train people worldwide in ABA, so people can become independent and self-sufficient, and learning will continue and continue.
You can read more about our agency, in the ‘about us’ tab.