I am looking forward to starting a monthly blog as an opportunity to communicate with you about events happening at The Discovery Centre as well as information about Applied Behaviour Analysis and strategies for incorporating ABA into your daily life. With The Discovery Centre opening about 9 months ago, I still occasionally have to pinch myself as a reminder that I have had this opportunity to develop an environment and culture that strives to provide high quality ABA services to kids and families. Our team has grown significantly and now includes 13 wonderful and skilled instructor therapists as well as a dedicated Lead and Senior Therapist. We also can’t forget about Dr. Bruce Linder who has supported this initiative from the very beginning and continues to support us wherever necessary. This team has been wonderful in helping to develop our clinical practices, training new staff, and establishing relationships with families and community partners.
I have had the opportunity over the last 13 years to see what good quality ABA programming can do for increasing independence, communication, and play and functional skills. Teaching kids the skills they need to be successful in school, at home, and in community settings is a wonderful privilege. Each time we see a child say their first word, learn to match, read and write, successfully use the washroom, or learn to play with their peers I’m reminded why I do this job. Similarly, helping kids learn to use functional communication and adaptive skills instead of using behaviours that could be harmful to themselves or others is equally rewarding.
Of course I didn’t realize that the timing of opening the Centre would be followed closely by the Ontario government completely overhauling the Ontario Autism Program, jeopardizing the future of all ABA services that we, as Behaviour Analysts, know to be essential for autistic children, youth, and adults alike. Advocacy for our families and kids will continue, as will the day to day work of teaching new skills, developing relationships with families and community partners, and mentoring and training our staff.
Despite the volatile climate that we are currently facing, The Discovery Centre will continue to provide a learning environment that is fun, motivating, and results driven. I look forward to publishing more content on topics such as incorporating ABA strategies at home, naturalistic teaching strategies, and functions of behaviour.
Mary Philips M.Ed., BCBA