SJV Center for Autism staff share pivots in education model at state conference

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When Governor Northam ordered the physical closing of every school in the Commonwealth due to COVID-19 on March 13th, 2020, the Villa’s Sarah Dooley Center for Autism (SDCA) rebooted as a virtual private day school the following Monday. All of our resources pivoted to providing the best online learning experience we could.

We knew that many of our students would not be able to simply sit in front of a computer and access instruction, so we immediately mailed home paper materials to complement our online activities. We launched Google Classrooms and built libraries of YouTube videos. Along with real-time video instruction from our teachers, our entire educational and clinical team held dozens of live webinars for parents. We learned as we went and continually refined our processes in order to continue meeting the unique needs of our students and provide uninterrupted support to families.

Just over one year later, four members of our outstanding SDCA team will present lessons learned at the CA Human Services annual statewide conference, Vision for the Future, on March 17th, 2021:

Brittany Leggett, MS, BCBA, LBA

Brittany has been working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) since 2007. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University and received her Masters of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism from Sage Graduate School. Brittany became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in 2013 and is licensed to practice in the state of Virginia. In her 13 years of experience in the field, she has had the pleasure of working with individuals with autism and other related diagnoses between the ages of 15 months and 38 years of age, as well as serving families and schools on a consultant basis. During her career, she has worked in private school, outpatient clinic, and in-home settings. She currently works as a Behavior Analyst at the Sarah Dooley Center for Autism at St Joseph’s Villa in Richmond, VA.

Additional accomplishments by Ms. Leggett include a case study contribution to the social work text book, The Recovery Philosophy and Direct Social Work Practice. She has presented as a guest speaker at the Virginia Association of Independent Specialized Education Facilities (VAISEF) Conference in Spring of 2018, and has provided professional training for continuing education credits to other professionals in related medical and human service fields.

Kasey O’Neill, MEd, BCBA, LBA

Kasey O’Neill is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the Sarah Dooley Center for Autism in Richmond, VA. Kasey began working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in 2014.  He held the credential of Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) while pursuing his Master’s Degree in Special Education with a graduate certificate in ABA, which he earned in 2019. That year he was also awarded the provider Innovation Award at the Sarah Dooley Center for Autism. In 2020, Kasey received his board certification and became licensed to practice in the state of Virginia. His professional interests include applied verbal behavior and employee performance management.

Hollie Rhodes, MAT, BCBA, LBA

Hollie Rhodes is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) at the Sarah Dooley Center for Autism in Richmond, VA. She graduated from James Madison University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and in 2018 with a Masters of Teaching in Early Childhood Special Education. She has a passion for serving children with autism and related disorders and their families and has been working in the field since 2013.

Sunshine Selby, MS, CCC-SLP

Sunshine Selby’s current role is Speech Language Pathologist at The Sarah Dooley Center for Autism. She received her M.S. from The Medical University of SC in Communication Sciences and Disorders where she won the Clinical Award  for Excellence and the Rowley Award for Academic Enhancement in the Rehabilitation Sciences. She also has her B.A. from University of Mary Washington in English and is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy. She is an ASHA certified speech language pathologist, and a former English teacher. She has 19 years of professional experience working with people with disabilities ranging from ages 2-22.  She has worked in schools, medical settings, private practices and home health care practices across the United States. She started a YouTube channel, Speech with Sunshine, to help parents during the pandemic.

In their workshop titled “An Autism School’s Transition to Teaching in a COVID Environment,” they will:

Discuss the challenges encountered while providing educational and behavior analytic services during a pandemic.
Identify the ethical codes which guided decisions and practices as our service model changed.
Identify the persisting ethical challenges of delivering services in person during a pandemic.

We are so proud of our SDCA team and staff across all Villa services for their dedication to finding creative solutions, and to forging meaningful connections with students and families – no matter what obstacles may stand in the way.

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