By Daniel Burkhard, Public Health Intern, Purdue University
Autism Awareness month is a special time around Cornerstone where we celebrate the clients we serve and the growth we experience together.
This month, we also wanted to showcase our amazing staff and highlight how they have become incredible professionals within the field of Applied Behavior Analysis!
As a way to celebrate Autism Awareness Month and feature the wonderful staff who work at our centers, we created Cornerstone Connections. Using social media, we are showcasing staff members from across our five locations who are expressing how their education and experiences have shaped them into the professionals they are today! Read below about a few of our staff members. Make sure to stay updated with our Facebook page and our Instagram account to see more Cornerstone Connections.
“Purdue prepared me to become an ABA therapist through the Speech Language and Hearing Sciences curriculum. The work study opportunities also prepared me. I took an ‘Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder’ class where I learned about autism. Previously, I was a preschool aide where I had the opportunity to watch graduate student clinicians perform therapy. As a result of those experiences, I knew I wanted to work in a one-on-one therapy environment.”
“Franklin College prepared me to be an ABA therapist by cultivating a unique and diverse environment on campus. I had the opportunity to volunteer with the Joseph Maley Foundation during their adaptive swim program. In this program, I was paired with a child with autism who wanted to build more confidence to join the school swim team. Because of my positive experience with the foundation, I took a class called Exercise Testing and Prescription for Special Populations. In this class, students were paired up with students from the INSPIRE program. The INSPIRE program has been a program that helps college-age students with intellectual and cognitive disabilities develop self-advocacy skills. My experience from taking Exercise Testing and Prescription for Special Populations truly gave me the confidence and tools needed to become an ABA therapist.”
“Purdue prepared me to become an ABA therapist because I worked at a summer camp as a counselor where I was assigned to be one on one with a child with autism. Also, I took a class on ABA and a class about child development. Working at the camp was my first experience working with children with autism, which led me to take both of these classes and learn more about this field. The class about ABA prepared me and taught me about how ABA works along with definitions and terms I use on a daily basis here at Cornerstone. The child development class taught me about the development of children and what that might look like for children with ASD, which has prepared me to work as an ABA therapist.”
“Purdue prepared me for becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst by providing me with a solid foundation. While I was a student, they gave me knowledge in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, child development, and linguistics. I had the opportunities to apply these skills and gain experience with children with autism spectrum disorder. These opportunities came through clinic work and participation in the preschool language program. I also had the opportunity to work at the child development center on campus. That hands on application propelled me forward in the world of Applied Behavior Analysis where I continue to have the privilege of working with these individuals on a daily basis.”
“At Indiana University Bloomington, I was an exercise science major with a minor in psychology. One particular class that I took stood out from all of the rest called Abnormal Psychology. This course introduced me to autism. In another psychology class, I met a friend who recommended Cornerstone. At that time, she had recently taken a tour of one of the centers. After graduating, I never forgot what my classmate told me. Not so long after, I applied for the ABA therapist position. After coming in to see the space, I knew I found something I would love to do. IU blessed me with great professors as well as great people. I’m thankful to be an ABA therapist because of my time there!”
April 23, 2021, Daniel Burkhard