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LONGTIME THERAPIST BIDS TOMORROW'S VOICES GOODBYE

LONGTIME THERAPIST BIDS TOMORROW'S VOICES GOODBYE

Emma Martin, Tomorrow’s Voices senior verbal behavior therapist, has been an integral part of the puzzle at the Autism Early Intervention Centre.

For the past five years she has brought her international knowledge of working with children with autism and developmental disabilities, as well as her own varied teaching methods that has had huge benefits for Tomorrow’s Voices.

As Ms Martin leaves her role at the Centre, she reflects on her time at Tomorrow’s Voices and her hopes for the organisation’s continued success.

Ms Martin worked at The Jigsaw CABAS School in the UK, an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) school, where she was a therapist for four years and gained much of her training. She has worked with children and adults with mental health challenges, autism and learning disabilities and her brother also has a learning disability, so working in this field to support those with additional needs was always going to be important to her, she explained.

“My interest in the field of autism, and ABA in particular, began when I was 21 years old as I worked with a child with a diagnosis of autism in my last year at Bath University,” she said. “I was a member of a team that provided behavior analytic services to the child as part of a home programme.”

She came to Bermuda in 2011 with the hopes of continuing her work in the field of ABA, which led her to Tomorrow’s Voices, which had spearheaded providing ABA for children with developmental disabilities in Bermuda. Working alongside part-time senior verbal behavior therapist, Natasha Pedro-Petty, the team set to work providing their unique outlooks on working with children with autism.

“My previous environment in England was very much based on applying behavior analysis to a school environment. As such, the way that we conducted our teaching was a bit different to the way that we teach at Tomorrow’s Voices,” explained Ms Martin. “I think that by working within two different models it gives you the ability to draw on certain areas that you find really effective but to also see things through a slightly different lens. One of the things that Tasha and I have really enjoyed doing over the last five years is bringing our own experiences and training to the table and working them in to what we do at Tomorrow’s Voices. It has been a remarkable learning experience.”

During Ms Martin’s time she has seen some amazing changes at the charity, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. From increasing staff and programs to seeing staff continuing to develop in the field of ABA, the organization, as well as the services available in Bermuda, has steadily made progress over the years.

“In terms of the progress in the field of developmental disabilities within Bermuda, there has definitely been some growth in this area. In particular, it has been great to see agencies involved in the field collaborating and working with each other in order to better service this population,” she explained. “It would be wonderful to see partnership among agencies continue to grow and develop over the next couple of years. It would also be good to see those involved in this field continuing to highlight ways that we could improve the rights and services for people with developmental disabilities in Bermuda. There is definitely more work to be done in this area, so it would be good to see people coming together to try to achieve some progress.”

One of the greatest successes she has seen has been the development of the staff, which has doubled in size allowing for more clients to receive services both in the Center as well as in the community.

“I am also really pleased with how our staff team has grown professionally,” she said. “We have a fantastic team who are all working hard to become more knowledgeable about autism and the field of ABA. We currently have three staff who are in training to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts, one of whom is Bermudian. We have also been able to promote Bermudian staff internally, which has always been one of our goals.”

As she leaves the Centre after five and a half years, she said leaving the children she has worked with will be the hardest part.

“The time I’ve had at Tomorrow’s Voices has changed me immeasurably,” she said. “I have learned so much during my time here, and have worked with some brilliant people. It was a big learning curve for me when I very first began running the clinical side of things at the Centre along with Tasha. It was a totally new role for me and I had to learn a lot, fast. I’ve really enjoyed being able to build up strong relationships with the families we work with and learning about their experiences of bringing up a child with autism – they are an inspiration to me!”

For more information about Tomorrow’s Voices, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 297-4342.

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