Moving for the Cause: Hopebridge BCBA Answers the Call to Serve
July 25, 2022
July 25, 2022
At Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers, we are grateful to have thousands of team members who dedicate their careers to enhancing the lives of others. While all of them deserve a spotlight, there is one special clinician who has been able to make her mark exponentially, helping hundreds of children and therapists around the country – and counting.
Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Alex Peters consistently shows up wherever she’s needed most, both for the children she serves at Hopebridge, as well as with the goal of advancing applied behavior analysis (ABA) for future generations.
If you know Alex, then you know it seems like a job in ABA therapy was made exactly for someone like her. She’s had experience working with kids since junior high, which included teaching a dance class to children who have developmental disabilities. Then, she was in high school when she began noticing her younger brother displayed signs of autism, which she had only learned about in child development classes. She urged her dad and stepmother to have him tested and ultimately diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and there’s no doubt he’s been a huge motivating factor in where life took her next.
Alex is the epitome of a “hard worker,” taking on three jobs while putting herself through college … which all fell into place when she swapped one of those jobs for a role as a behavior technician with AIM Clinics (now Hopebridge) during her junior year.
She started with AIM during its beginnings in Bryant, AR, taking on responsibilities that would now span multiple positions, like Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), case manager, center manager and scheduling coordinator all in one. Her momentum didn’t stop there, however, as she went on to help the company open multiple clinics in Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas. Then came more clinics in entirely new states; staffing, training and providing services for new facilities in Tennessee and Oklahoma, where she currently resides.
“From the moment Alex was introduced to the world of ABA, her dedication to our mission was clear,” said Hopebridge Chief Clinical Officer Jana M. Sarno. “Her passion for the care of children goes beyond her caseload. She made a point to grow and travel alongside the company by taking her craft to areas that have been historically underserved, all to be part of a larger impact.”
According to Alex, if she wanted to learn more, she needed to go out and see more.
“I love moving around and appreciate AIM and Hopebridge giving me the opportunity and flexibility to do it. I like to go where the children and autism population need us, rather than having them come to me,” said Alex. “For those working in autism therapy who have the chance to relocate with the company—absolutely take advantage of it!”
Alex believes the exposure to a variety of supervisors, facilities, states, communities, insurance coverage, family interactions and challenges is what has brought her to where she is in her career today.
“Being able to work at so many clinics and learn from the styles of so many supervisors has been the number-one most beneficial part of my experience. Every client you encounter is a different culture, an embodiment of their own life and environment. The same is true for each state you work in,” said Alex.
“There are so many things I can refer to now from my experience that I could not have learned by only staying in one place. I’ve been able to point my colleagues in the right direction just because I’ve had so many different experiences. I can share how I had a similar case somewhere else, who I talked to, and how we got through it.”
There was a point in which Alex had opened, staffed and/or provided therapy at every clinic on the provider’s roster. She knew every employee. With the company growing at an exponential rate, that knowledge of every team member was impossible to sustain, but she’s since found other ways to make her mark.
“To me, it doesn’t feel right to remain in one clinic and serve one caseload when there are so many more kids out there. My goal is to move around and expand my reach to more children by training more members of our staff,” said Alex. “This is what reinforces me, over and over. One person in one place can reach a few people, but if I can get the people I train to hold onto these ideas, we can pass them along to future generations of behavior analysts and the families they serve.”
Able to offer a unique perspective, Alex combines knowledge from her time traveling as clinician with that of her background as an autism sibling. She often pulls from her family’s experiences to her own work and looks forward to continuing to pass this wisdom along to others.
Now Alex will have an even bigger platform to share her knowledge, as she just passed her BACB exam (congrats, Alex!), which wraps up her time in Hopebridge’s fellowship program as a Case Manager. By becoming a BCBA, she’s excited to take her career to the next level, understanding that it is an even greater opportunity to collaborate and expand her reach further into the community and future generations.
“I have all these thoughts and ideas, but on an RBT level, it can be more challenging to disseminate them. Now that I have my BCBA credentials, I’ll be able to advocate for my kids on such a different and unique level,” said Alex. “Collaboration and training are some of my top priorities. I recently joined the grand rounds committee and love the ability to discuss solutions at this level. These are the people I want to learn from.”
As a mentor to others, Alex wants to encourage other RBTs and BCBAs to think toward the future, too.
“We can be a powerful generation of behavior analysts if we harness what has been given to us. We have more resources at our fingertips than our mentors did. We have an advantage and it’s our responsibility to use what we are given to make the field better overall,” said Alex.
From transferring to new locations, to serving in new roles, to taking on new projects, there are a range of opportunities and experiences available for our clinicians to amplify our mission as well as their careers.
Are you ready to join the mission, too? If you’re eager to play a role in clinical innovation and advancement while giving more kids the chance at a more independent, fulfilling life, check out our open positions in locations across the country. From Hot Springs in Arkansas, to Memphis in Tennessee, to Phoenix in Arizona, you might just find a new place to spread your wings and call home.
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