Marybeth Blanchette, School Psychologist, BCBA, CAS
Title: School Psychologist, In-Home Behavior Therapist
City/State: Providence, RI
School/Organizations: Providence Public School Department District Autism Team, In-Home Behavior Therapist for Northeast Behavioral Associates in Massachusetts
I am a school psychologist/BCBA for the Providence Public School Department District Autism Team. I also work as an In-Home Behavior Therapist for Northeast Behavioral Associates in Massachusetts, where the majority of my clients are on the Autism Spectrum.
May and June are the busiest months for me as the regular school year is coming to the end and there is a large amount of planning along with documentation for students in preparation for the next school year. I have worked with individuals on the Autism Spectrum since 2004.
I have learned so much from my students, clients, families, and colleagues, as well as, taking the initiative to participate in professional development to improve my knowledge and skills in order to provide my students and clients with effective interventions in school, at home, and in their communities.
I decided to apply for the CAS credential last fall in order to be formally acknowledged as an Autism Specialist. For years, families and colleagues have referred to me as an “Autism Specialist” or “Autism Expert”, which typically left me feeling uneasy as I was not credentialed as such. Since becoming credentialed as a Certified Autism Specialist, I find that I have a feeling of greater confidence consulting with teachers, support staff, and administrators; and in advocating for specific interventions, accommodations, modifications, and services for my students within my school district.
I also find that collaboration with other service providers and schools for my clients has been positively impacted as the credential indicates I have a deeper understanding of autism spectrum disorders, the impact it has on individuals and families, as well as effective interventions to provide meaningful change in the lives of those who are diagnosed with ASD and their families.
When working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum, it is important to first get to know each person, and allow them the opportunity to trust you. I find the best way to accomplish this connection is venture into each individual’s “world”, discover their interests, what motivates them, their dislikes, what stresses them. At their pace with careful attention on my part to be aware and respectful of each individual’s ongoing comfort level and needs, they will begin to trust me which will allow progress to begin and continue.