Today, we are talking with Michelle Vinokurov, who is a paraprofessional and RBT autistic advocate. She was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and was non-verbal until age six. Michelle’s parents advocated for her early on and got her involved with speech therapy, ABA, occupational and physical therapy. As she got older, she gained a lot more skills, including handwriting, and her services were gradually reduced. Today, she works with elementary school students with disabilities and started working as an RBT this year. Michelle’s own personal experiences inspired her to work in the field and it’s been fascinating for her to witness everything that’s changed.
Michelle talks about using food as reinforcers and how some of the foods people used in the past just weren’t healthy. The field has come a long way, including giving clients more of a choice when it comes to reinforcers. Making sessions fun for both the client and the practitioner is important, and RBTs should be encouraged to be themselves. We talk about the differences between school and home settings, how to clarify the benefits of ABA for parents, and advice for a new RBT or ABA professional.
- How Michelle’s personal experiences inspired her to work in the field .
- Changes in ABA practices over the years and how things have improved.
- Differences between therapy in the school and home settings.
- Advice on how to clarify the benefits of ABA for their children.