Jasmine Payne Builds Career and Friendships at Autism Center
August 12, 2020
August 12, 2020
Many of those who work in the autism community will tell you they sought out their job to change lives. Most of them will also tell you their reason for continuing their career in autism is because it changed their own lives.
Jasmine Payne knows this well. While attending nursing school, she quickly realized the emotional toll of caring for individuals with illnesses was not for her. Instead, she searched for jobs more like her previous position at a daycare for children with disabilities.
“Serving others remained important to me. During my job search, the role of a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) at Hopebridge caught my attention,” said Jasmine. “Working one-on-one with a child with autism seemed more intimate than working in a classroom with 20 kids, so I felt I could have a larger impact here. Once I shadowed the job during my interview, I knew that was it. I instantly fell in love with the kiddos.”
Jasmine joined the Hopebridge Louisville South center in July 2018, where she received on-the-job training to become an RBT. By the time she finished the training for her certification, she was sold on a career in applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy).
“Hopebridge has done so much for my career path,” said Jasmine. “This job helped me find my purpose on Earth.”
After two years of dedicated, meaningful work with Hopebridge, Jasmine recently transitioned to Hopebridge’s Jeffersonville center to become the ABA trainer. Now, in addition to helping children lead their best lives, she supports other therapists to become the best RBTs possible.
Jasmine is passionate about the autism population and her team, so the new role is a natural fit. She enjoys being the first touchpoint for her new RBTs and helping them make a difference in their everyday lives.
“There is no better feeling in the world than when we get to celebrate the little wins. I love being able to help others experience those same feelings,” said Jasmine. “Having worked with kids who have high magnitude behaviors, I also know how mentally draining the job can be at times, so I also enjoy serving as a support system for my fellow RBTs.”
Her career aspirations do not end here. Jasmine is continuing her university education to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
Jasmine wants others to know that people who are diagnosed with autism are not any less than their peers. They are individuals who each have unique qualities and tons to teach. From teaching patience and how to deal with emotional burdens, to how to be yourself and a good friend, Jasmine feels the children she works with at Hopebridge have given her just as much as she has contributed to their lives.
“I have delved into a lot of my internal feelings because of how I deal with theirs. If I can teach them, I can teach myself. I cope with anxiety in my own personal life and working with these kiddos has taught me how to deescalate and calm down,” said Jasmine. “It’s amazing how ABA can benefit someone who is neurotypical, in addition to those on the spectrum. It helps me deal with my own feelings, understand why I feel certain ways, and how to deal with all of it.”
In general, the children are Jasmine’s favorite part of working at Hopebridge, but there is one child who put a stamp on her heart. Higher functioning but also high behavioral, this kiddo started at Hopebridge without knowing what to do with his anger. Together, he and Jasmine worked hard to practice “pausing and planning” rather than hitting, kicking or destructing property. First he would pause, then figure out a solution, such as to walk away, take a deep breath or work through it.
Their special moment took place on the child’s graduation day at Hopebridge. It was a rewarding and bittersweet day for Jasmine since she would miss him, but was excited for his growth that led him to transition onto bigger things in life.
“The trainer asked what he learned from me. I was expecting him to say, ‘nothing,’ but his response shocked me,” said Jasmine. “He said, ‘yes, Jasmine taught me so much. I now know how to pause and plan at school whenever my friends make me upset.’ I lost it! When he said this, it helped me understand it clicked and will stick with him. I know he will be fine in school because he has the tools I taught him.”
This sweet sentiment was not the only surprise. While crying and hugging him, the boy gave Jasmine a piece of hope and advice that seemed to come from someone well beyond his 6 years of life: “Remember, just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”
Jasmine still gets emotional when she thinks about this special time.
Beyond the kiddos, Jasmine believes friendship is one of the key work perks at Hopebridge. Since autism is still not as widely understood in the broader community as it should be, she enjoys working with others who share her passion, understand her feelings, and celebrate together.
“Hopebridge is an awesome place if you want to work with people with special needs. The team will work with you to get your credentials and serve on the floor within four weeks,” said Jasmine. “Besides learning about the autism community while making a difference, Hopebridge also supports growth for those who wish to continue their career as a BCBA, psychologist or special education teacher.”
Fun Fact: “My boyfriend and I are really into racecars. We build our own racecars and spend our weekends taking part in the hobby. Our friend has a Camaro he races, so you could say we are also part of his ‘pit team,’ traveling with him to race in different cities.”
On her playlist right now: “Queen is one of my go-to bands to pump up my day. If I want to go in a different route, I love to listen to Cardi B.”
Currently binge-watching: “‘The Office’ 24/7. It is usually on as background noise for whatever I’m doing. I have probably watched it 20 times from start to finish. I connect with the characters. It’s familiar and relaxing to me; it means I’m home.”Favorite place to vacation: “My boyfriend’s family goes to Madeira Beach, Florida every year and it’s become like a second home to me. I love to be by the beach.”
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