About the Founder
In some way or another, I have been working with people with special needs since I was a teenager, and I feel totally blessed to have a career I love so much and find so rewarding. I have had the opportunity to make a profound difference in the lives of the many people I have been honored to work with.
It was during my time in high school when I began assisting in special education classes, that I first felt drawn to a career in this field. Then, in college, I had the fortunate experience of volunteering to work with autistic children. I found that I was able to connect to the children no matter how limited their communication and social skills were.
I first got my Bachelor Degree in Recreation Therapy followed by a Master’s Degree in Social Work. I then got my License in Clinical Social Work (LSCW) and later became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
I began my post-BA career as an Activities Director in a home for adults with developmental disabilities, and was promoted to positions of running programs, which I did in several different agencies. However, I realized that management and administration were not for me. I found that I wanted to work with directly with the people I was serving, not managing and supervising staff.
So, I began working as an in-home behavior consultant. This involved going into the family home, usually on a weekly basis. I collaborated with parents to address challenging behaviors and improve the overall functioning of their child (or adult living at home) which included autistic individuals, or those with mental retardation, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy. In addition to teaching positive behavior strategies, I was also able to address the stressors in the family, which resulted in improvement in behaviors as well as family relationships. I also consulted with group homes, schools, foster homes, and supervised other consultants. I have worked with hundreds of families, and have experienced a great variety of challenges and behavior difficulties. I loved that job, which I stayed in for over 20 years. I gained a great breadth and depth of experience as I have been there alongside parents, care providers and teachers, to face challenges, address problems week-to-week, and for the most part, witness significant progress.
WHAT I DO NOW
I have been working as a psychotherapist (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) for 20 plus years, with children, adults, couples and families for a variety of issues, including autism spectrum, depression, anxiety, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), abuse, parenting, ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), couples and family therapy, adoptions, women’s issues, and other relational problems. I also conduct assessments for autistic individuals. Developing this website has been a dream of mine for years. I am so excited to be online, so I can be a resource for others and share what I have learned over the years.
WHY I DO WHAT I DO
Since I was a child, I’ve always been the type of person that likes to connect and listen to others, and collaborate to find solutions. It was actually much later in my career that I realized my choice of working with autistic people most likely arose as a result of my personal experiences as a child. I was surrounded by neurodiverse people, including having some traits myself. But no one realized it. This caused confusion and significant self-esteem issues for me, because as children often do, I felt it was just me that was responsible for the relational difficulties. I was well into adulthood before I began to put the pieces together, and made sense of how it impacted me and who I am as a result. I’ve been drawn to autism in my personal and professional life, and feel a familiarity and affinity to neurodiverse people. I have an intuitive connection to both children and adults, and feel drawn to continuing to learn and to help others.
My unique perspective comes from my extensive training and experience in a humanistic approach to behavior analysis, as well as psychotherapy. I am able to address the needs of the whole person and family. Problems usually don’t occur in isolation. Looking at the whole person; strengths and challenges, family, friends, mental health, community access, school/work, sensory issues, spirituality and self-concept, all effect how we function in the world and how content we are in life.
Providing coaching on-line has been a dream of mine for years. I want to be a resource for others and share what I have learned over the years.
Contact me with any questions you have, or to schedule a free 15 minute introductory call. I would love to meet you!
Ellen “Jen” Slaton LCSW, BCBA