Christine Scarborough, LSW, CAS
City/State: Xenia, Ohio
School/Organization: Summit Academy
1) How has earning the Certified Autism Specialist Credential been meaningful and satisfying?
The CAS certification has been meaningful and satisfying in so many ways! It has given me a sense of self-confidence, greater awareness, and a wonderful sense of pride! Earning the CAS title gives reassurance to our staff and families that I do possess a more in depth understanding of our students with autism. It has also allowed me to provide more staff development trainings and my principal can assure families we have a CAS member on the administrative team at our school.
2) How has the CAS credential affected your professional growth?
The CAS credential has given me so many more opportunities in expanding my professional growth and opportunities working with students with autism. I have had the opportunity to not only utilize my Intervention Specialist license, obtain my Licensed Social Work Degree, but have now obtained a new position this year as the Autism Lead Intervention Specialist at our school. I now have the opportunity as being part of our administrative team to make changes “happen.” I have worked collaboratively with our administrative team to promote and create change in our school environment by utilizing and “revamping” our Positive Behavior Support System (PBS) and providing a positive and safe learning environment for our students. I feel that I am now in a higher level in my field of expertise thanks to the CAS title.
3. What changes need to be made in your work environment?
Some of the changes that need to be made in our work environment is expanding our training opportunities to our teachers in the area of autism to help them better understand and support our students in the classroom and in the community.
4. How do you like to be recognized, acknowledged and rewarded for a job well done?
It has been so rewarding for me this year at Summit Academy-Xenia, being a part of the administrative team and playing a role in creating a successful learning environment for our students. It is so gratifying when I am able to help a student by creating a schedule or a checklist that they can use throughout the day. Seeing the success and the progress they have made is very rewarding to me. It is also gratifying when I can assist teachers and help them develop strategies and interventions that work for our students. When an intervention works and seeing students success that is by far, the best reward!
5. What is your greatest challenge or roadblock?
The greatest challenge for me is scheduling time to meet with students and teachers due to time constraints and various classroom schedules. I also would like to have more time working with teachers directly to demonstrate and model interventions and strategies that I have used and/or have learned to be successful and apply them effectively in the classroom. That has been one of my goals this year to increase my time in the classrooms teaching social skills/strategies in collaboration with the teachers.
6. What makes you feel like a valuable contributor?
It is so nice to know that I am an added resource for my school when planning for students with autism, and that the teachers feel comfortable and are able to ask me for suggestions and resources for their students when they are unsure how to handle a situation/issue a student may be struggling with. It has also been wonderful this year getting to know our students parents/families and when they thank you for helping and taking time with their child, and that has to be the biggest sense of joy and feeling that truly shows that I am making a difference!