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“It’s really just about observing and working with the children to help them become more independent,” explained Diane Grzekbyk. Diane received her Master’s from Long Island University and will be the school’s first Board Certified Behavior Analyst. In this position, Diane is responsible for the implementation of the school’s ABA curriculum, which includes compiling case notes on the students, mentoring staff on how to handle student behavior, as well as data collection and analysis on student outcomes. Diane also has her BA in Speech Pathology from LIU. Diane started working as a paraprofessional at the school a few months after it opened.
Diane leads a team comprised of behavior specialists, school psychologists, special education teachers and social workers, who write the behavior plans for those students. Diane described how progress is made. “We offer positive reinforcement. If a child demonstrates the desired behavior, she can have use an iPad for two minutes, for example.” Over time, the reinforcement is minimized and the student’s attention is held for longer periods of time. “A behavior can be triggered by almost anything,” explained Diane, “but it’s our job to observe, ask questions and figure out how to work with a child to improve his or her quality of life.”