Los Angeles Autism Specialist Credits Higher Education With Career Advancement
Behavior Frontiers, a local non-profit that helps children with autism, has now expanded its services to include Pasadena and its surrounding areas. Behavior Frontiers works with families, schools, regional centers and insurance companies to ensure children with autism are receiving the best treatment possible so they can reach their full potential. The non-profit even offers online training programs for families and behavioral therapists featuring videos of research-based methods performed by behavior instructors like Kathy Lykke.
Lykke received her master’s degree in early childhood education and is now working on getting her BCBA to become a licensed behaviorist. Lykke currently works as a case manager for creating and implementing programs for children with autism after working as a behavior interventionist for five years while working toward her master’s. In her current management role, Lykke trains behavioral therapists in applied behavioral analysis, provides consultations for school districts, conducts parent trainings for families and reports on the children’s behavioral progress throughout the program.
How has your education helped contribute to your overall success?
Having a master’s gave Kathy the opportunity to get promoted from a behavior interventionist to a case manager who now trains the behavior interventionists that work directly with the child. “Since we’re a non-profit, our funding resources require at least an MA for managers so my education helped increase my income and has given me the opportunity to live where I want and live a more comfortable lifestyle while doing something I love,” says the 29-year-old. Her pursuit of higher education has even opened the doors for a wider spectrum of job opportunities in the future.
What was the most memorable class you took when earning your degree?
The class that Kathy seemed to get the most out of during her course of studies was a class about the psychology of emotions. “As humans, we all struggle to express our emotions in an appropriate manner,” says Lykke. “This class taught me a lot about body language, facial expressions and how to read other people’s emotions.” Another class that Lykke really enjoyed was a class about the psychology of addiction in which she learned quite a bit about the impact of drugs on human behavior.
What advice can you offer others in terms of education and career advancement?
The biggest piece of advice Lykke has to offer is for others to take time some time off before pursing a master’s. There is only so much that is taught in school. The rest can only be learned through practical, real-world experience. “I was working in the field for at least three years before ultimately deciding to go to grad school,” says the case manager. “Make sure you get your masters in something you love, which I did. Go after your passion,” she says. “Don’t just do what pays the bills. Find a job that doesn’t feel like a job.”
Niki Payne is a freelance writer covering all things Entertainment in Los Angeles. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.