Forging on in the Field: Perspectives Professionals Dedicated to Growth

By Sara Porcaro | March 24, 2020

When working in a field one loves, there's never enough information--never enough learning, growth, or experience--because the drive to do one's best, the dedication to one's work, means professionals are always looking to improve their practice. The professionals at Perspectives are a fantastic example of this passion to gain more knowledge and experience within their continuously evolving fields. Always looking for the newest information, their goal is clear: to provide cutting edge services to individuals we support. That's why Perspectives hosts leaders in the field, like Stein K. Lund, for periodic in-house lectures and research application to continue our professionals' education.

Stein, a former Clinical Director of Bancroft NeuroHealth's Center for Autism Research and Educational Services, is a leader in his field, one whose work includes a long history of service in early intervention practices for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Along with his work at Bancroft, he's also worked as a senior clinician both at Rutgers University of New Jersey and right here in Rhode Island with Perspectives, lending that expertise and leadership to new generations of clinicians and broadening the possibilities of clinical care within human services agencies. His work as a consultant for Perspectives, as well as his passion for research and education, mean that his in-house workshops for Perspective professionals are a valuable resource for clinicians in our Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) team, a part of the Youth and Family Services (YFS) department.

Some of Stein's publications include the book Early Intervention for Children with ASD: Considerations, co-authored with Alan Schnee, BCBA-D and published in 2018, and an article published in The Behavior Analyst Today, titled Content and Contingencies: Considerations Regarding Curriculum Development for Young Children with Autism, published in 2001. It was this article that the ABA team studied for one recent lecture; they drafted questions based on their reading and came prepared for the three-hour lecture, ready to delve further into the material with Stein. He discussed not only the paper he'd written, but the ways his work has continued to evolve, improve, and challenge both himself and his fellows in the field since its publication nineteen years ago.

"Perspectives is dedicated to providing quality continuing education for clinicians," Clinical Director Gianna Gray says. "There are so many different approaches in our field, so many different methods, that these workshops really help us express our approach here at the agency."

Over fresh fruit, Munchkins, and coffee, Stein provided an engaging overview of his experience in the field, including the methods of thinking he challenged and the different perspectives to approach early intervention from. As well, he encouraged clinicians to participate with questions, responses, and clarifications. Such an open, comfortable environment left the room sometimes silent with everyone's full attention, and other times humming with the clinicians' contributions--as well as jokes and laughter, creating a sense of camaraderie as everyone learned together.

However, these lectures are only part of the learning: another part includes extensive case studies presented in three-hour workshops, in which these professionals apply the concepts they learned in lectures to lesson plans to test their efficacy and see the results of Stein's analytical thinking for themselves. With Stein teaching the theory of language acquisition in youths with ASD, as well as helping clinicians better understand how to structure exercises to help youths learn the tools necessary to communicate and express themselves, being able to get the hands-on experience along with the lectures is immensely beneficial to all participants.

"The lecture-to-application method is really helpful, especially for our newer clinicians who haven't seen the Perspectives method before," Gianna notes. "It's a great way to apply theoretical practices to our work and lets us troubleshoot and problem-solve in real time."

Perspectives is dedicated to providing quality services to individuals of all ages. From treatments to supports, we're dedicated to helping individuals live the lives they dream of, and that means we make sure our professionals have access to the resources and tools necessary to never stop learning and growing. We appreciate Stein's expertise and the time he's taken to bring his knowledge to our professionals, and our professionals are excited to continue learning and bringing new material to their practice!