by Ambar Picazo, a member of the SkillCorps DR October 2015 team
After arriving and settling in, we were supposed to meet with the Karla and Lia, Clinical Psychologist and the future Clinical Lead from Aprendo. Unfortunately we were not able to connect so instead we had the opportunity to have some down time. Down time turned out to be a pretty amazing, several-hour, getting to know you session! We told stories of preferences and aversions. Of our families and the events that helped to shape who we are. During this bit of bonding we also got on the topic of…what else…behavior analysis! It has been a long time since I have been in a room with such intelligent woman who were also knowledgeable about, and as passionate as I am, about our field! We told tales of our triumphs and challenges. We talked autism treatment, behavior plans and special education. Teresa even taught us a thing or two about the lesser-known operant jems in BF Skinner’s book Verbal Behaviour. Suffice to say, we got a good sense of what each other’s thoughts were on several aspects of behavior analysis as well as other types of evidence-based and non-evidenced based practices and disciplines.
The following day, we had the pleasure of meeting Karla and Lia for breakfast. What a couple of wonderful women! Over some of the best coffee I personally have ever had, we learned about their educational and clinical backgrounds and more about the Aprendo centre. Lia was sweet and personable and filled with stories about the Dominican Republic and the state of education and autism treatment there. This woman has some great experience in the field and has some serious educational aspirations in the near future. Karla, the Clinical Psychologist who also owns and operates the Aprendo centre, was the quieter of the two, but when she spoke, there was real insight in what she said. As I watched the table of women discussing autism and education, sharing stories about cultural differences in education and the treatment of autism, I became really inspired. Inspired by the work that they have already been doing. Inspired by the passion that was evident in the way they spoke about their experiences and their work.
By the end of lunch I realized that, although I had come here to be inspiring to others, I was the one that was being inspired. By the end of breakfast I had the real feeling that we are going to make a difference here and we are going to make that difference together!