Are you aware that some of the most famous inventors, entertainers, scientists, athletes, musicians, and writers were diagnosed with autism? Albert Einstein, Dan Akroyd, Emily Dickinson, Armani Williams, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk.
My next guest, Tahra Cessna, understands that no matter what traits of autism you or your loved one may have, a person with autism has their own unique strengths and abilities. People without autism often have a range of interests and can easily switch focus from one topic or activity to another and may not commit to excelling at one particular thing; people with autism may have a limited and narrow range of interests.
This characteristic may contribute to the success that many people with ASD experience in life. By focusing on and maintaining one core interest for years or even for most of one’s life, the person with ASD can use this interest to accomplish great things.
Tahra Cessna is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and the Chief Clinical Officer for Positive Behavior Supports Corp. She received her BCaBA certification in 2008 and her BCBA certification in 2016. In the 13 years that Tahra has worked with the agency, she has supported growth from a small pocket in South Florida with less than 150 clients to serving individuals with unique needs across 24 states and Canada with nearly 7,000 active clients. Tahra has used a model as a springboard to develop new leaders and expand the organization from 1 region to 71 regions. Tahra’s work with the agency and nearly 20 years of working in the field of applied behavior analysis have led to multiple publications on the topics of transitions, quality of life, and sexuality education and afforded more than 100 speaking opportunities at the national and international levels.
A former educator, Tahra recognized the deficits of public and private schools in her area, which led her to open the Treasure Coast Autism Project or TCAP, a private, non-profit school for children on the autism spectrum. The school began in August of 2011, serving 11 students ages 8 to 11 in one classroom, and has expanded to help hundreds of elementary through high school students.
Before her work with Positive Behavior Supports Corp. and The Treasure Coast Autism Project, Tahra was the Director and founder of Behavioral Building Blocks, where she and her team provided wrap-around Applied Behavior Analysis services within a clinic and home and community settings to over 75 individuals with special needs over the course of four years.
Tahra is passionate about enhancing the quality of life for her clients and her team and uses the principles of organizational behavioral management to improve individual and group performance to guide Clinical and Regional Directors in attaining their personal and professional goals.