Maintaining a Level of Stability and Professionalism

Yesterday put me to the test. It tested my patience, my compassion and my ability to put self doubt aside. I love my job, I can honestly say I would not trade or pursue anything else. This job, this choice I have made to support children experiencing Autism has helped me to push aside my own anxieties and be stable. As with any job though, the beuracracy and lack of general knowledge can be overwhelming at times.

yesterday my client was having a very rough day, he was not maintaining his optimum level of performance by any means…which is hard to expect at times for an 8 yr old kid who would rather be at home and not at school. We had worked through some issues during the day, but just were not able to make it to the very end.

As I stood, keeping my client safe and shielded from peering eyes of teachers at the end of the hall, I thought about how sad I was that he had not been able to make it, with only 3 minutes before heading home on the bus. I thought about how to keep him safe, how to keep the other students safe,I was not thinking about what other teachers would be thinking. That is not my job.

I am a behavioral therapist, I am not apart of their world. I made that choice a while ago when I decided to become a Master of Psych and Applied Behavior Analysis. I am trained to make decisions on the spot about behavioral interventions that will effect my safety, the safety of my client and those around us.

I am however a therapist who is in a school placement. And maintaining my own optimum level of performance for the sake of my client and my colleague, that is my responsibility. All of the work we put into scaffolding appropriate responses in difficult social situations came into play yesterday for myself. Maintaining my cool as I turn and see a gaggle of teachers watching in horror as I take yet another hit or another kick, that was my test. Maintaining my cool when I see people stopped and staring at my client in the moment of crisis, that was my test. But most of all, being able to walk past them and respond with a smile, Awesome, Great Thank you to their questions of my status…that is a test I will always hate but continue to pass.

It’s Handled: Olivia Pope’s ‘Scandal’ Style On The High Street


Anybody who knows me will know that to say I LOVE Scandal is a bit of an understatement. From the incredible pace of the show to Olivia Pope’s enviable crisis management skills, I was hooked from day one (and for any Scandal fans out there, I am 100% Team Fitz).

But aside from the drama and the romance, the other thing that totally lured me in was Olivia Pope’s AMAZING wardrobe. If there’s one thing that woman knows, it’s how to do workwear. With an impressive collection spanning from White House-appropriate to sumptuous business casual, she’s just TV’s answer wonder woman; or as the show likes to put it, ‘a gladiator in a suit’.

InStyle recently rated Olivia as the best-dressed TV character, and it’s not hard to see why, but not all of us have the luxury of her designer labels. So, with this in mind, I have put…

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Weekly Rant: Living in the Age of Irony

Queerly Different

A couple of years ago, the always-inflammatorySalonran a piece entitled “The 15 Most Hated Bands of the Last 30 Years.” Included on the list were such hate-favourites as Nickelback (hatred of them has become so common as to be ubiquitous), but also many of the bands whose work came to define the sounds of the ’90s. Think Goo Goo Dolls, Dave Matthews Band, and Hootie and the Blowfish. Surprised to hear that they are the most hated band? So was I. But then again, in many ways I really wasn’t. Though I was incredibly annoyed at rediscovering this list a little over a week ago, I saw it as just another sign that we are indeed still living in “The Age of Irony.”

At first, I couldn’t quite figure out why the list annoyed me so much. Was it simply because they had listed the Goo…

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We Don’t Need No Thought Control

A Buick in the Land of Lexus


Our kids are in CRISIS.

I work with teenagers in an affluent suburban area.

They don’t comprehend what they read. They use calculators to multiply 10 x 10. The average high school junior has no clue what the word “diligent” means.

They write essays resembling those of a 5th grader. About how Albert Einstein discovered electricity.

In tests administered in reading, science and math to 15 year-olds globally, we are behind TWENTY NINE countries in math. And our kids’ performance in reading and science is  not much better. And yet, American investment in education is unrivaled, globally.

Are you scared yet?

We lead the world in the consumption of illegal recreational drugs. And one of the chief sales outlets?


Our teenage suicide rate is the highest in the world.

EVERY DAY there are over 5,400 suicide attempts by kids in grades 7 – 12.

NOW are you scared?

The two places teenagers…

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Involving parents

Fresh off a very successful parent training I organised…I am thankful and proud of the parents who showed up prepared and ready to further their own knowledge in order to champion their children’s  IEPs.
Parent involvement is always such a crucial aspect in a childs educational success, but when there is an IEP or 504plan involved, along with ABA therapy; it is crucial.
Last night’s parent training was focused on the important elements of an IEP…if your child is on an IEP please educate yourselves through community-based and online resources the best you can. Many parents came with questions about procedures, IEP content, and the biggest and most common concern was how to advocate for their child.

Paddington’s dangerous cousin


Arctodus simus by Sergiodlarosa via Wikimedia CommonsArctodus simus by Sergiodlarosa via Wikimedia Commons

North and South America were the last continents to be conquered by humans. We have been in Africa since we first evolved, Europe and Asia for over a million years, in Australia for about 60,000 years, but in the Americas for only about 15,000. Considering that reaching Australia required a treacherous ocean voyage but you could walk to Alaska without getting your feet wet via the flat, treeless, mammoth steppe of Beringia (with plenty of game to hunt en-route), why did it take people so long to reach the promised land? Some researchers have suggested that perhaps people did reach Beringia much earlier, but what they met there prevented them from penetrating any further. Along with the mammoths, cave lions, bison, and horses, Beringia had something else. Something that would have been completely unfamiliar to the humans who encountered…

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Integrated learning

I have been giving the idea of naturally integrated learning and teaching a lot of thought lately. Coming in April, May, and June, I will be co presenting for community education with the clinic team from BASICS NW.
The topic I am most excited about is Natural Environment Teaching and naturally integrated teaching and learning approaches. Being aware of the surrounding environment and the available teachable moments can truly enhance your ability to integrate socially relevant learning experiences for your child.
More to come on this topic 🙂

Life Long Learner

I am in my last year of my graduate program, MS of Psychology and ABA. If all goes well, this time next year I will be beginning my career as a BCBA in the state of Washington. I have learned a lot, about myself, my shifting professional orientation, and how I want to execute my career in a way that will allow myself to shine as bright as possible.

My undergrad work was done at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. A beautiful campus surrounded by more than a thousand acres of PNW rain forest, where walking through the campus, I was often made speechless by the glowing green of our environment. Moss and lichens lining the towering trees, the earth soft and full of life, layers upon layers of leaves becoming mulch providing nutrients and food for the wildlife. Spending four years in this space, always aware that I would be leaving some day to venture into the world, praying I would glean as much wisdom and knowledge as I could to become a contributing life long learner in the global community.

Life long learner, it became a mantra of sorts during my time at Evergreen, the goal of not just leaving my four year with a GPA and a diploma, but leaving it with the tools to apply to some sort of social change, to contribute to the greater good, to really ‘do something.’ I am sure all schools wish this upon their graduates, but as a third generation ‘Greener’ grad, I had been brought up with the idea that contributing was not limited to finding a career and making money. No, contributing was finding your niche and being passionate; whether it was writing poetry, painting murals or miniature scapes, being a marine biologist or a fisherman or a farmer, or a teacher. When passion becomes the most important aspect of your life, other pieces can fall into place because you will never be short on inspiration to find a way.

I spent some time in Germany, where I became fascinated by the man Rudolf Steiner. As a burgeoning interest in psychology and behaviorism grew inside me, I was interested in his educational philosophy of Waldorf or Steiner Education, which has an overarching goal of developing free, morally responsible, and integrated individuals all equipped with a high degree of social competence. With my own background in supporting those individuals who experience Autism, I began swirling the ideas of a Waldorf approach to the integrated support of my own clients.

It has been almost 5 years since I started thinking about this, I have researched other models such as the Camphill Communities, and Montessori. I am excited to now be at the point in my education and the cusp of my own career that I can start looking at these ideas in a way that is not just a ‘some time’ but a ‘very soon’ type of way.

It is my intention to chronicle my own learning in this last year, my own developing theories, and my journey as a life long learner in this beautiful global community we share.