Employee Spotlight - Jennifer Luu - Look What Happened to Me!


“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Or an even more ominous way of posing the question: “What are you going to do for the rest of your life?” I had no idea until I happened to stumble upon the field of ABA through an internship requirement for my undergraduate program.

During my internship I led group circle time in a clinic setting and had the opportunity to observe behavior technicians conduct one-on-one therapy. I just loved the interactions I had with the clients and wanted to be in position where I could be more hands-on and make a difference.

After deciding that a BCBA was what “I wanted to be when I grow up”, I enrolled in a master’s program and began my search for an ABA company that would foster my skills, offer the BCBA supervision hours I needed, and provide me with opportunities to advance my career and to provide quality services to those in need. I was fortunate to find Behavior Frontiers!

I began my journey at Behavior Frontiers as a Behavior Instructor in May 2016 and quickly advanced to a Senior Behavior Instructor by August of the same year. I was given ample opportunity to apply what I was learning through my coursework and from Behavior Frontier’s internal trainings. And, as I worked with clients, putting theory into practice, I got continuous guidance and support from my Behavior Frontiers’ supervisors.

After completing my master’s degree in December 2017, I was promoted to a Case Manager position. And now, I’m proud to say, I have obtained my BCBA certification and have been promoted, yet again, to Behavior Supervisor.

I am thankful to Behavior Frontiers, to my supervisors, and to my colleagues for supporting me throughout my professional journey! I continue to grow, gain proficiency, and develop and hone my skills every day. I just love the positive, supportive and friendly environment at Behavior Frontiers!

To anyone who is considering a position with Behavior Frontiers, my advice is: Go for it! You’re assured quality in-house training, on-going support, and daily opportunities to gain experience and practical skills, all in a company with real room to grow – just look what happened to me!

The field of Applied Behavior Analysis is not always easy, but the joys of playing an active part in the clients’ progress and the heartwarming things they say and do are truly the highlight of my day. I once asked a client, “Where do horses live?” to which to which he responded: “Disneyland!” Can you really say he was wrong? 

Jennifer Luu joined Behavior Frontiers as a Behavior Instructor in 2016. She rose through the ranks to her current position as a Behavior Supervisor at Behavior Frontiers San Gabriel Valley location. In her current role she managed her own caseload, conducts assessments, and develops individualized treatment plans.

A Crash Course in Naturalistic Teaching Strategies


Along with Discrete Trial Teaching, Naturalistic Teaching Strategies (NATS) is amongst the most widely utilized strategies in a well rounded ABA program. NATS involves using the child’s current interests and activities to guide instruction.

Below are several components of Naturalistic Teaching Strategies that make it unique to each child:

  1. Unstructured: unlike DTT which is typically done in a more rigid manner, NATS are largely unstructured and “loose”

  2. NATS can be conducted in the child’s daily environments such as home, school, or in other community locations

  3. You can mix it up! NATS can be used to teach a variety of instructions, questions and responses, which makes each session different

  4. The rewards are specific to the child’s current motivation. This also means that to keep you NATS session going,  it is of the utmost importance that you recognize when the child may want a different item

There are several things we want to increase in Naturalistic Teaching Strategies which are important to keep in mind:

1.     Goal is to increase:

a.     Natural antecedents before behaviors
b.     Appropriate responding (e.g. appropriate manding, intraverbal behavior, tacting, etc.)
c.     The people and settings involved: You want your client to be able to perform their skills with a variety of individuals in a multitude of places! This makes for more well-rounded communication and works to avoids rote verbal behavior
d.     Motivation to learn: We want NATS to be FUN! Motivation is a key component of NATS. Without it, you will not achieve a high number of independent responses from your client
e.     Independent use of new behaviors in novel settings

How do you run a NATS session? The first key is to be aware of when your client wants something. Once they are engaged in a behavior, such as reaching towards an item or pointing, you can use that moment to require your client to engage in a target response such as a mand or echoic response, depending on your client’s programming needs. You can create these opportunities by placing things out of reach, only giving them part of an item, by placing things in a container they need assistance to open, or by implementing a time delay, such as pausing before opening a cabinet. Be proactive about setting up your environment in a manner which requires assistance in order to get items, and avoid giving away items for free. By doing so, your client will have an increased number of opportunities to work on their communication skills or other target skills in their natural environment.

NATS are often more difficult for people to understand because they are innately less structured. This is a skill set that requires a high degree of attention to your client and to their indications that they want or need something.

If you’re struggling to find opportunities for this form of teaching, ask your Behavior Supervisor or Case Manager for additional modeling of this skill. Asking the right questions is of benefit to both you and your client, and your NATS sessions will be more effective (and fun!) for everyone involved.

Jaclyn Colvin, M.Ed., BCBA
Associate Clinical Director,
Tuesday, April 16, 2019




The Behavior Frontiers’ Team Wants You to Succeed!


Believe it or not, I got into the field of ABA because of my mom. She told me stories about how she had worked in a group home for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities and how much she wished she could go back to it. She suggested that I look into a similar job and try working with kids with autism. So, I did, and it was the best decision of my life. I found a job opening at Behavior Frontiers, interviewed, and decided to go for it.

I was incredibly nervous when I first started. I felt inadequate in my knowledge of ABA and had no clue what to expect. But, I had great trainers and the further I got into my training, the more confident I felt.

When I started working with clients on my own, I took the reins and put everything I learned into practice, but I wasn’t alone. I had – and continue to have -- a wonderful support system. When I was just starting out, one of my case managers took me under her wing. The more I worked with her, the more feedback I received, allowing me to practice, learn and gain confidence. And, as my confidence grew, I realized that this was the career I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life.

So, I set a goal for myself to obtain my master’s degree and eventually work my way up to become a BCBA. I quickly became a senior instructor, and then a training coordinator. I am now halfway to my goal: I’ve been promoted to Case Manager and have started my supervision to sit for the BCBA exam. I could not have started down this path without the support and encouragement of my first Behavior Frontiers’ case manager, and the ongoing support of my supervisors and clinical director.

“Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” describes how I feel about my job at Behavior Frontiers. I love the camaraderie and especially enjoy the collaborative team spirit. The company’s social events were a great way to meet the other employees and to get to know everyone, as well as to “talk shop” with people who actually understand what I am talking about. Not to mention the fact that the social events are incredibly fun.

My advice to those just starting out with Behavior Frontiers is: Give yourself a chance to really experience the job. Everything you do here is an opportunity to learn and grow.

If I have learned anything, it’s that the Behavior Frontiers’ team wants you to succeed -- your success means your clients’ success! I am proud to say that I have found my home and my career path here with Behavior Frontiers.

Justine Hernandez started with Behavior Frontiers as a Behavior Instructor in 2016, was promoted to Senior Behavior Instructor, then to Training Coordinator, and now she is a Case Manager supervising clients in Behavior Frontiers’ San Jose, CA region.

ABAI 2018 Wrap Up

Several members of our leadership team got a chance to attend ABAI 2018 May 26-28th. The annual convention was held in San Diego, CA and was filled with presentations, panels, lectures, professional development, workshops, and networking events. The program contained contributions of 1,713 participants from nearly 50 countries. The annual convention attracts researchers, clinicians, and students from around the world for continuing education and behavior science dissemination. In addition to our team presenters, Behavior Frontiers hosted a booth offering information about our treatment services, training opportunities, and employment information for our offices in over 20 locations. For more information about the convention, visit abaiinternational.org.


Autism Speaks Walk - 2018

Meeting new people, cheering on the participants, and helping everyone make sand necklaces - always a great time at the Autism Speaks Walk at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. 

Lancaster, CA Parent Workshop

Disability Rights Legal Center attorney, Elizabeth Eubanks, will be presenting at the Consortium of Advocates, Parents, & Parent Partners on Monday, September 26, at 11:30 a.m. at the Lancaster Library. She will be sharing information and answering questions related to special education rights and responsibilities. Space is still available! We recommend this informative evening to any parent or caregiver interested in finding out more about Individual Education Plans (IEP).

Halloween Contests - Door Decorating & Pumpkin Carving

It is quite clear we have some very talented people on our team! The Social Committee would like to thank everyone that took the time to participate in the Door Decorating Contest and Pumpkin Carving Contest. They received some fantastic entries! Please join us in congratulating the winners!

Door Decorating Contest

  • First Place: Mariah Keys - Dallas Office
  • Second Place: Jocelyn Bennett and Danielle Acevedo - Riverside Office
    Special Note from Jocelyn and Danielle: "The ghost door is full of our Spooktacular kids handprints. They also wrote what they are going to be for Halloween! The B and the F (to represent Behavior Frontiers) - we glued individual eyeballs!"
  • Third Place: Colleen McKenzie - San Diego Office
    Special Note from Colleen: "There is a bat for each of our clients and staff here in San Diego"

Pumpkin Carving Contest

  • First Place: Omar Rodriguez - Long Beach Behavior Instructor
  • Second Place: Patrick Ebrahamian - Pasadena Behavior Instructor
  • Third Place: Mary Points - San Jose Case Manager

Thank you for everyone who participated!

The Gladiators of Orange County


Our amazing Orange County office team ran, slid, jumped and crawled their way through 5 kilometers of mud and dirt...all to help raise autism awareness by supporting TACA (Talk About Curing Autism). Hardwork, dedication and teamwork at its finest! They spent the epic day working together and supporting each other to get to the finish line and we couldn't be more proud to have them on the Behavior Frontiers team!

Grace and Cindy Celebrating 10 Years at Behavior Frontiers!

Congratulations to Grace Gomez and Cindy Williams (Santohigashi) who are celebrating 10 Years at Behavior Frontiers!

Grace Gomez
Grace Gomez began her employment with Behavior Frontiers on June 25, 2005. Early in Grace's senior year of college, Helen passed out employment flyers outside Grace's psychology class at UCLA. Grace held onto this flyer and remembered our company throughout the rest of her senior year. Grace joined Behavior Frontiers shortly after graduating from UCLA. Grace continued her education while at Behavior Frontiers and received her masters from Cal State Long Beach.  Subsequently, Grace took the additional BCBA coursework, passed the BCBA exam and became a Behavior Supervisor at Behavior Frontiers. In 2010, Grace told us that she was moving to Texas with her fiancé, Charles, who is now her husband. We did not want Grace to leave Behavior Frontiers, so Grace decided to open a Behavior Frontiers office in Dallas as a clinical director. This was our first additional office. We did not have any clients in this area, so Grace did all the groundwork to set up the new office, get new clients and hire and train new instructors. Although it was not always easy, Grace maintained a positive attitude and was willing to do whatever it took to ensure that the office succeeded. Grace has continued to grow the Dallas office and allow us to provide exceptional services to children in Texas. We are proud of everything that Grace has given to Behavior Frontiers and our clients.

Thank you Grace for all that you have done over the past 10 years! We look forward to your continued journey with Behavior Frontiers!
Cindy Williams (Santohigashi)
Cindy began her employment with Behavior Frontiers on July 6, 2005, after graduating from UCLA and shortly after we had moved into our current (although a lot smaller) office in LA as the administrative assistant. The office was so new that we did not even have a chair for Cindy to sit on in the lobby when she came in for her interview. Although she had no chair, Cindy could still see the vision of Behavior Frontiers. After Cindy started working at Behavior Frontiers, she got a shiny, new, black Honda Civic. Cindy's role quickly expanded as we grew and she became the office scheduler and then the scheduling coordinator. As we hired additional schedulers, Cindy began to take on billing, HR and compliance tasks. In recent years, Cindy has focused more on the billing and compliance tasks, but still knows almost everything about almost everything in our company. It would be shocking if there is anyone in the company who does not know who Cindy is. Cindy has been the backbone of the company for so many years, and we truly are grateful for everything she has given to the company. The success of Behavior Frontiers is due in large part to the efforts of Cindy over the years. And through it all, Cindy still has her black(ish) and not-so-shiny-and-new, Honda Civic!
Thank you Cindy for all your hard work, long hours, great attitude, smiles and laughs over the past 10 years! We look forward to your next role within Behavior Frontiers!

Help move SB 479 (Behavior Analyst Licensure Bill) through its first hearing in the Senate!

The first hearing has been set for April 27th, 2015 in front of the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee.

Help move SB 479 (Behavior Analyst Licensure Bill) through its first hearing in the Senate.

THE GOAL: Generate 200 letters of support for SB 479 by April 20th.

The voices of practitioners and families receiving our services are especially important right now. We need everyone to write a letter of support by April 20th!

Here's how to do it:
1.     Read and share the Call To Action from CalABA.

2.     Use the following letter templates to get started:

3.     Ask families explicitly to write a letter of support.

  • The letters should emphasize why SB 479 is personally important and should avoid getting too technical. Remind them to use the templates to get started.
  • Practitioners should use care and caution when approaching families to write letters of support. We don't want families to feel coerced into supporting our bill. Our first professional obligation is to our consumers and their families.

4.     Send 1 copy of each letter to EVERY member of the Senate Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development.

  • Contact information can be found on p. 2 of the Call to Action handout.


Medi-Cal Coverage for ABA Talk - April 13th in Hermosa Beach, CA

Save the Date! Our Executive Director, Helen Mader, will be presenting at the Kiwanis Club Hall (2515 Valley Dr, Hermosa Beach, CA) on Monday April 13th. She will discuss the latest updates regarding Medi-Cal coverage of ABA for autism in California. She will provide information regarding Medi-Cal eligibility, comprehensive diagnostic evaluations, required qualifications of providers, continuity of care requirements, regional center client transitions, co-pays, rates, local Medi-Cal health plans and managed care plan options, and state complaint contacts. She will also discuss how parents can take action to fight for the best Medi-Cal options for their children. Q & A will follow.

Reducing Holiday Stress for Families of Children with Autism

With the holidays rapidly approaching, families start to prepare for the onslaught of copious amounts of food, time spent with family, family visitors, shopping, decorating, school vacations, and all the expected hustle and bustle of the holiday session.

Not only do the holidays emphasize good times, Yule tide, and cheer the season also brings along elevated levels of stress for families, this can be especially true for families of children with autism.

Schedule changes, unexpected transitions, unstructured time, and even a break in services can lead to children experiencing increased stress and can lead to their parents and families feeling increased amounts of stress. Here are some tips to help reduce the holiday stress for your child and hopefully yourself as well:

Planning and Preparation – Help your child prepare for the holiday session. Make family trips, school end/start dates, and other important events on a calendar that the child can see. Help count down or review upcoming events so your child will be prepared.

Limit Surprises – Limit unexpected events or visitors, remind your child of what to expect, what behavior is expected, and what will be occurring during the day.

Reinforce Behavior – Establish what the child can earn daily or throughout the day for engaging in appropriate behavior. Explain what is expected and what the child will earn to increase positive behaviors.

Small Changes – If you are anticipating decorating the house, do it in small steps instead of changing the environment all on one day. Perhaps hang lights one day, decorate interior the next, then the tree, and then final trimmings.

Keep a Consistent Schedule -  Even if school or services pause over the holidays continue to have the child wake up around the same time, complete the daily dressing routine, follow the same eating schedule, and keep the night routine as consistent as possible.

Practice, Practice, Practice – Create opportunities for learning; social stories, role-play, model what is polite and appropriate behavior when receiving gifts, waiting for others to open gifts, or when visiting another adult’s house.

Relaxation Strategies – Practice calming and relaxation strategies if you or your child is experiencing increased levels of stress or if they are over stimulated.

Be Flexible – Many times things won’t go as planned or simple events like shopping take longer than expected, that is ok, remember to remain calm and go with the flow

Enjoy Your Child – Make time to enjoy your child by sharing a fun activity or just being with your child, remember sometimes things are hard for them but with some forethought and planning you can help to reduce the stress that comes with the holiday session.

New Tools for an Autism Friendly Halloween

It's time of year again. It's time to start prepping for a fun night of Trick or Treating. We want to help you make sure everyone has a safe and fun experience. We created this post for creating an autism friendly Halloween and we have also updated this helpful print out to use for non-verbal children or children who need a little assistance trick or treating. Happy Halloween! Download the free printable here.


Preparing for the School Year

Time to go back to school! It is a very exciting time of year, full of possibilities for all of our young students.  This time of year can also be a little stressful, as schedule changes tend to be. Here are some tips for making the beginning of school awesome!

  • Label everything with your child’s name or initials (clothes, backpack, lunch boxes, etc.)
  • If your child is going to a new school or new class, schedule a meeting (in-person or phone) with the school personal to talk about your child and specific strategies that will help make the beginning of the year successful
  • Keep open communication with the school support staff throughout the first several days of school to see how you can help your child
  • If you know ahead of time, take photos of your child’s new classroom, teacher, support staff, playground, office, etc. and make your child a photo book

Here is an example of a photo book you could name and label for your child to review:


Summer Water Safety

Summer is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy some new activities. One of the best ways to beat the heat but enjoy the weather could be in a swimming pool, the beach or at neighborhood splash pad. Many children with special needs are fond of water but don't always understand the risks and dangers involved. If your summer plans call for water play and/or swimming, here are some helpful tips to remember.

The best way to keep anyone safe is to never lose sight of the swimmer. Always be within arm's reach in any situation. Older kids may need some independence - and building confidence is extremely important - but staying close is always the best approach to take.

The right life jacket or flotation device that meets the size requirements and needs of the child is critical. If you have any doubt about the jacket (adaptive or otherwise), you can visit this page for guidance.

To help find the right gear for water safety, whether it's flotation devices, earplugs, or toys, visit this page for a comprehensive list of products available here.

Splash pads are an innovative way to stay cool in hot weather and is a great alternative to a pool or body of water. Play structures with water play can be stimulating and interactive but safety precautions should be as important as open water safety guidelines. Children should wear protective clothing and the right footwear. Splash pads can be slippery so the right non-skid water shoe will help avoid any missteps or falls.

General safety reminders:

  • Always drain small pools when not in use, put safety gates around all hot tubs and pools or motion sensors around water features.
  • Keep a supply of sunscreen and protective headwear.
  • Start swim lessons early and if your child struggles with swimming, look for adaptive swim lessons in your area. Taking the class together will help you understand the techniques and survival skills to make the experience fun for everyone.

Enjoy your summer and stay safe!