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Episode #093: ABA for SLPs (Joanne Gerenser)


love this power statement: “If you don’t believe in ABA, it’s like you don’t believe in breathing.” It’s a really impactful tidbit from my chat with Dr. Joanne Gerenser, SLP and Executive Director of the Eden II Programs. Dr. Gerenser and I discuss the importance of ABA in the field, as well as what that means for collaborating with other professionals; having SLPs and BCBAs work together with ABA to serve students with autism, especially those with challenging behavior.

There are some professionals and parents in the field that just really don’t understand what ABA is. There can be a lot of mean-spirited, negative, information online about ABA depending on where you’re looking. When you really look at it and understand the professionals working in the ABA field and the help it can provide to the autism community with serious learning and behavior challenges, you will see just how important it is.

When it comes to collaboration, you can’t paint every BCBA with the same brush just the same as SLPs. The worst therapists are not representative of the entire field and you cannot walk into an interaction with telling the other professional what to do; it erodes the professional relationship.

Whether props, books, flashcards, etc. be cognisant of your materials and the reflection of your client within them. It is important for black children to see themselves reflected in their learning materials to not only understand but also stay engaged. It is okay if you’re not an expert on every culture and every family. Ask questions, be open, and create a dialog so that you can continue to learn and support your clients in a culturally responsive way.

Dr. Gerenser’s techniques for communicating with hesitant professionals:

  • Build a professional relationship.
  • See the person beyond the technique.
  • Be humble, you don’t know all the answers.

You can find out more about Eden II and Dr. Joanne Gerenser, visit Eden II Programs online.

#autism #speechtherapy

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Today’s Guest:

Joanne is the Executive Director of the Eden II Programs in Staten Island, NY. Eden II is a set of programs providing educational, vocational, and residential services to children and adults with autism. She received her Master’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences at the Ohio State University and her Ph.D. Speech and Hearing Science from the City University of New York Graduate Center. She is Vice-Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council for the Organization for Autism Research. She is the founder and past president of the Board for the Council of Autism Service Providers, a national coalition of autism service providers. She also serves on the boards of the Interagency Council of Developmental Disabilities and the Staten Island Not for Profit Association. She is a founding member of the Executive Women’s Council of the SIEDC. Dr. Gerenser is Co-Editor of the book ABA for SLPs: Interprofessional Collaboration for Autism Support Teams, and has authored several book chapters and articles on autism and developmental disabilities. She sits on a number of professional advisory boards for Autism Service Providers nationally and internationally. She currently serves as an adjunct associate professor at Brooklyn College. She has been an invited keynote speaker for conferences in Sri Lanka, China, Ireland, Canada, and Australia.

What’s Inside:

  • Using ABA in Speech Therapy.
  • How to collaborate with hesitant professionals.
  • Serving students with problem behaviors as an SLP.

Mentioned In This Episode

Home – Eden II Programs (
ABA Speech: Home
Register for the free SLP in an ABA Setting Mentorship webinar

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