Susan Som – Sharing What a Direct Therapist for Kiddos Experiences at Hopebridge
April 19, 2018
April 19, 2018
If you ask the parents of Hopebridge why they trust the autism center with their children, most will tell you it is because of the care shown by the therapists. It’s because these therapists learn all about elevators during their off-hours, simply because one boy is fascinated by them. It’s because they choose to dress in matching superhero costumes with the kids for Halloween. It’s because they discover a beautiful singing voice hidden behind a child’s behaviors. And it’s because they smile, laugh and cry all at once when they get to see their kiddos graduate.
Hopebridge Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) Susan Som is the epitome of this reason…and has actually taken on all of these roles!
Inspired by three siblings she taught while serving as their nanny, Susan found her calling. All three children lived with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and being able to understand them and be a part of their world was incredible to her. She fell in love with their personalities and made sure to preserve them while also helping them become more functional, which led her on a path to Hopebridge.
“That’s my biggest selling point on Hopebridge’s ABA therapy – we cherish and cultivate our kiddos’ personalities, while creating a navigation system for the everyday world,” said Susan. “We’re not going to make these kids into robots or say that they have to ‘fix’ a behavior. We know each kid’s likes, dislikes, what makes them laugh and what doesn’t. We let them shine.”
So what has “shined” in her eyes? When asked to pinpoint her favorite day or one special moment, it’s hard to choose just one. Though there will of course be some “un-favorite days,” she believes there is at least one special thing that stands out in every day, rather than one memory overall. That’s why the job fulfills her and what keeps the smile on her face.
Here are a few of those special moments that stand out to Susan:
At Hopebridge, it may be all about the kiddos, but Susan feels the love does not end with them. When she first joined the Greenwood team, it was small and tight-knit. It felt like a family, and even though Hopebridge has grown quite a bit over the years, the team is still incredibly close.
“The culture was already there. We didn’t have to make it up. It was naturally tight and supportive from the start. That’s important when it comes to a place you’re spending 40 hours a week,” said Susan. “You want people who are not only bettering themselves professionally, individually and emotionally, but those who do it for the kids and the company overall. Those were the common interests that brought us all together.”
Interested in an experience similar to Susan’s? To learn more about joining the team, visit the Hopebridge job board for open roles in everything from RBT and BCBA positions to speech therapy and IT positions.
Hometown: “I was born and raised in South Bend and spent a lot of summers in LA. Fun fact…my family is from Cambodia.”
Spirit Animal: “Ok, short story time! My parents are Buddhist and every year or so, we go to temple and pray with monks. One particular monk told me I was a tiger and told me this cool story about how my strength and power should and could be used. I want to make it into a children’s book one day, so look out for that in the next 30 years.”
Pets: “I have this crazy 1-year-old Boxer named Yoshi who is spoiled rotten and has six toes on one foot. He snores, sleeps with his eyes open and has some decent ‘hops.’”
Favorite Quote: “This one is from one of my favorite books, The Alchemist by Paul Coelho: ‘When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.’”
*Informed consent was obtained from the participants in this article. This information should not be captured and reused without express permission from Hopebridge, LLC.