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International Pageant Queen and ABA Therapist : Michaela Austin

What do you do and why do you do it? 

I work with children who happen to be on the spectrum. These kiddos many times can have developmental and/or intellectual delays. I actually started working in this field because I am the mother of a child with Autism. I experienced so many hurdles attempting to get a conclusive diagnosis and treatment for my son that I decided to be the change that I wanted to see. 

How does what you do benefit others?  

Everyday I have the opportunity to not only see the difference Applied Behavior Analysis has on my clients but I see the data that clearly shows the impact I make. Its rewarding. 

Describe your career journey and how it led you to where you are now. 

My undergraduate degree was in Sociology/Psychology and then I went on to receive numerous certifications from the Illinois State Board of Education Certifications in: Autism, Social Narratives, Atypical DEVELOPMENT, Visual Supports for Social Emotional Learning and Tips & Tools for Homes & SCHOOLS. From the National Council for Behavioral Health I am Certified in Mental Health First Aid, and  certified through the Association House of CHICAGO; the Community HEALTH: Community of Practice (CoP), supported by USAID and UNICEF. The CoP which was an ‘open space’ aimed at gathering practitioners, policymakers, researchers, program implementers and other experts actively involved in the technical or policy development of community health programs in low- and middle-income COUNTRIES. I am Studying Neuroscience through Harvard’s online program and continuing my ABA journey towards licensure in the near future. 

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? 

Learning and growing in the field and working towards building my practice. 

Who is your favorite superhero and why? Do you relate to them? 

  My favorite Superhero is Nubia, Wonder Woman’s black sister. She is my favorite Superhero because like her, many have never heard of her yet she is a force to be reckoned with. Like Nubia I am a warrior and guardian of people. It’s said that she was placed in the world in order to protect justice, liberty and equality and I feel the same is my purpose here on earth as well. 

If you could have one superpower to help you further your purpose, what would it be and why? 

How would you use it? If I could have one Superpower to help me I’d like to be able to read minds. Reading minds would break the communication barrier many of my non-verbal clients have. I’d be able to better implement programming and increase data that could enrich their lives more simply. However, nothing worth having comes easily so I’m up for the challenge and ready to contribute my part in making the world a better place.