How would you approach learning a new skill, such as playing the piano? It would be impossible to jump right into Mozart or Chopin if you had never seen a piano before. You would need to break such a lofty task into small portions and start at the beginning. What are the names of the keys? What do the pedals do? How do I hold my hands? A little encouragement and practice, and you will be playing Heart and Soul in no time!
Brianna Pickel, BCBA, and ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Department Head explain ABA therapy with a similar and simple approach. It is the process of breaking down skills into small tasks in order to learn the skill as a whole. The smaller tasks build on each other with the help of positive reinforcement. It is a process that so many of us can relate to, but for children with Autism, ADHD, or developmental delays, ABA therapy can open up a child’s world.
ABA therapy is not only a tremendous benefit to the child, but to the family, as well. Self-care skills, such as brushing your teeth, communicating needs effectively, and learning social cues all have positive impacts on the entire family unit. Brianna and her staff of Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) use a family interview as their first step in the evaluation. Their mission is to be able to have each family accomplish their individual goals, even if it is as simple as going out to eat together or as specific as a rock climbing family vacation.
Brianna acknowledges that ABA therapy can seem overwhelming at first, as it can be intensive and follows an evidence based structure, but she stresses the importance of early intervention. Children that begin receiving ABA therapy around the ages of 3-4 years can see significant results. However, children of all ages have success stories with ABA therapy.
Brianna also uses naturalist teaching, meaning that therapy is done in a natural environment and learning is achieved through play. An individual treatment plan is developed for each child with their goals and needs at the center of the plan. Brianna’s confident and calming disposition will put any of your other worries at rest.
Brianna comes from a background that makes her an ideal fit for this role. During her time at the University of Iowa, she worked in the oncology unit of the children’s hospital. Normalizing the children’s experiences and helping them understand through play was the perfect foundation for her career. Being from Wisconsin and an avid Badgers fan, Brianna then attended Edgewood College in Madison where a friend introduced her to DIR/Floortime and working with children with Autism. Brianna always knew she wanted a career helping children, so her path became quite evident to her. After receiving her RBT, she went on to earn her Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University and became a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst).
Brianna spent the next seven years providing ABA therapy in homes and in schools across Chicago. Seeking a collaborative approach, she found Eyas Landing. Brianna is a natural fit with the occupational, physical and speech therapists that make up Eyas Landing’s growing clinic. Over the past year, Brianna has been developing a robust ABA program, exposing clients and colleagues alike to the benefits of ABA and founded the Merlin program. The Merlin program is dedicated to children who have graduated from Blue Bird Day but are not quite ready to transition to the public school system. She intends to keep spreading the word about the impact and importance of ABA and helping each child at Eyas Landing reach their full potential. Brianna has taken on lofty task of her own, but we couldn’t think of anyone better fit for the job.
Eyas Landing is a therapy clinic with a mission to provide evidence-based and family-centered therapy services for children, adolescents, and their families. The primary goal is to deliver relationship-based interventions within the most natural environments and to empower families to reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, our highly educated, compassionate staff dedicates time and expertise to create experiences that maximize therapeutic outcomes. The strength, determination, and perseverance of our clients are evident as they succeed in therapy, and ultimately in their daily lives.
Eyas Landing offers a wide range of comprehensive services including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA Therapy, Social Work, Family Therapy, and Neuropsych testing. Services are provided throughout the Chicagoland area via Telehealth, In-Home, and in our state of the art clinic.
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