- Pacific Island Times Staff
Guam autistic kids get help from HunterSpeaks group
The HunterSpeaks Organization is offering applied behavior analysis for the very first time on-island, a significant step to improving the standard of care for autism treatment on Guam. According to the Centers for Disease Control, ASD affects one in 59 children in the U.S.
Since there is no cure, “behavioral therapy is the gold standard right now for treating autism and other developmental disorders… this will be the first,” says Tanya Duenas, mother of Hunter Duenas, the inspiration for HunterSpeaks Organization Guam. Previously, families had to relocate from Guam to Hawaii or the U.S. mainland to get treatment.
The nonprofit was inspired by Hunter Joseph Duenas, diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age two.
Behavior analyst Lola Brown
HunterSpeaks has recruited Lola Brown, a board-certified behavior analyst, who is also a Guam resident from Toto, originally from Sinajana. Brown obtained her bachelor’s degree in Social Science and Psychology at the University of Hawaii, as well as a Master’s of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University and has ten years of experience in the field. Brown will provide clinical treatment for autism utilizing methods to reduce problematic behaviors commonly associated with the disorder. There will be a focus on improving play skills, communication, self-care, academics, and social living. With early aggressive intervention, individuals on the spectrum can make drastic improvements which is our main goal.
Registered Behavior Technicians will perform daily therapy sessions under the under Brown's supervision and guidance. One-on-one direct treatment can be home-based or provided at the center. Brown also plans to provide parent training, sibling play and training, social group training, social group outings, and advocacy for working with families and the schools.
HunterSpeaks Guam is currently seeking eager high school graduates and college students who would like to become Registered Behavior Technicians to overcome the current workforce shortage in this area. Anyone interested must be 18 years of age or older and have a high school diploma. Training will be provided for qualified candidates. “They just really have to love kids and have a lot of compassion for individuals with special needs. The huge focus right now aside from treating children, is one-on-one training and educating the current behavior technicians so that they can eventually become behavioral analysts,” says Brown.
For more information, or to learn more about HunterSpeaks, contact Vince Duenas, CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and Instagram @hunterspeaksorg; Contact No.: (671) 487-5493 Please click here to subscribe to our digital online edition