Sekeria Volece Bossie, LBSW, MS, LPC, EdS, NCC, CAMS, CAS
City/State: Prattville, Alabama
School/Organization: Behavior Education Consultation and Training Services
I have worked in the mental health field with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and with their caregivers. Since obtaining my credential as a Certified Autism Specialist, there has been more opportunities for me to provide services to those individuals independently. Additionally, there has been more receptiveness regarding my feedback on cases with other professionals. Professionally, obtaining my credential as a Certified Autism Specialist has been very beneficial with being taken more seriously related to my expertise and capabilities. Having worked with this population since 2000 but not having pursued a BCBA, the CAS has allowed my experience to be recognized and valued. Personally, it has been very rewarding to be able to acknowledge that I am a Certified Autism Specialist. I am a Licensed Bachelor Social Worker, Licensed Professional Counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor. With this Certification as Certified Autism Specialist it allows me more leverage to be able to work with the parents of individuals along with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the field as a counselor as I understand the concerns the various behaviors exhibited by their children and the level of stress they are enduring . Lastly, I have found it important to continue to develop my skills and knowledge in this field so as a PhD student I am planning on my dissertation being relevant to autism in hopes that this too brings to light the skill set that Certified Autism Specialist may bring to the profession.
1) How has earning the Certified Autism Specialist been meaningful and satisfying?
I enjoy working with this population and enjoy working with the family members. Obtaining my CAS has allowed me to be taken more seriously as a specialist in my field despite not having a BCBA. Currently, I am the only Certified Autism Specialist in Alabama that I am aware of.
2) How has the CAS credential affected your professional growth?
In an effort to continue to gain knowledge and enhance my skills I put forth even more effort to stay current on emerging or improving practices. I am even planning on conducting my dissertation in the field of autism.
3) What changes need to be made in your work environment?
There are no changes that need to be made in my current work environment outside of the fact that would love to be able to work with more youth and their families that are impacted by the disorder. Behavior Education Consultation and Training Services (BECT-Services) is my own business. I believe that often much effort is placed on providing services to the child but very little is addressed related to their families: the parents and the siblings.
4) How do you like to be recognized, acknowledged and rewarded for a job well done?
I am not one that requires recognition or large amounts of acknowledgement to feel I have done a good job on something. My rewards are more intrinsic. I am pleased when I see progress with the clients that I am working with, be it parental coping, academic, skill acquisition, or behavioral.
5) What is your greatest challenge or roadblock?
I had not thought about what my greatest challenge is at this point in detail but if I had to identify one it would be being able to get information about the services that I am able to provide out to the people that actually need the services. While typically one can see the benefits of having an CAS as a teacher it is important for me to acknowledge there are specific benefits for mental health professionals. Helping families understand the need for them to obtain counseling to assist them through their grieving process, to assist in the management of anger and the development of coping skills and expectations is paramount. Not only is my LPC beneficial so is my Anger Management Specialist Certification.
6) What makes you feel like a valuable contributor?
When I can assist parents and families in decreasing their level of stress and improve their tolerance and ability to work with their child I feel valuable. Additionally, I feel like a valuable contributor when I see progress, no matter how small, as long as I am moving toward guiding an individual or their family within improving their quality of life.
7) What support, tools/resources, skills or empowerment do you need to be more effective?
In order to be effective a primary support I need is honest communication related to parental strengths’ and needs and the goals they desire to establish. For me, it is paramount that I have a willingness from the parents to be open minded about the concepts and their diligence and transparency in applying the strategies developed and processing the interactions between them and their child to gauge progress or regression on all of their behalf.
8) What strengths or talents do you possess that aren’t being used?
There are not any talents that aren’t being used. However, I would say I don’t get to use my talents enough. I do believe some of my strengths are my abilities to assist parents in developing achievable goals and decreasing their level of frustration, and my ability to teach parents and other professionals how to respond to maladaptive behaviors, how to address academic issues , how to work on social skills and how to teach adaptive skills among other concepts. I am a very patient, creative, and detail oriented mental health professional. As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Anger Management Specialist I listen very well, understand the manifestations of anger/aggression and am effective with addressing communication skills. I think my greatest strength is my ability to understand the strengths and needs of each person or family individually and work with them in the context of their goals by creating strategies that they are willing to employ and that are practical.
9) What de-motivates you?
I cannot actually think of anything that demotivates me. I can say there are things that makes me pause, reorganize my thought process and intervention methods to be more effective; I don’t give in or give up.