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A Day in the Life: Maddie Theis, Comprehensive Behavioral Program Clinical Supervisor

A Day in the Life - Maddie Theis

Hello! My name is Maddie Theis and I am one of the clinical supervisors in the Comprehensive Behavioral Program (CBP) here at SARRC. I started working at SARRC in 2017. Prior to officially joining the SARRC team, I was a behavior therapist intern in CBP in 2016 as part of my Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) master’s program. Following completion of my master’s program, I joined the SARRC team full-time as a senior behavior therapist and now work as a clinical supervisor. 

What drew you to SARRC? Why did you want to work here?

I first heard about SARRC through a friend prior to starting my master’s program. I was in college completing my bachelor’s degree and looking toward the next steps when a friend of mine mentioned SARRC and some of the amazing things the organization was doing throughout the valley for individuals with autism. Once in my master’s program, I had the opportunity to intern at SARRC and knew it was the place I wanted to be. The work culture and environment align with my own personal values, and SARRC is full of passionate people who are all working toward a common goal. In addition to striving to create a more inclusive community, I was drawn to SARRC for the level of support and supervision provided to Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and therapists, as well as the opportunities for ongoing personal and professional growth and development. 

Can you tell us a little about what your job as a clinical supervisor in the Comprehensive Behavioral Program entails?

One thing I like most about my job is that every day is different. Typically, I will start the day catching up on emails, and any communication from parents or other stakeholders, prior to heading to supervision overlaps with my clients and their therapists. During supervision overlaps, I observe the implementation of interventions, probe new skills, and provide coaching and feedback to the therapist. One of my favorite parts of the job is completing supervision overlaps with clients because sessions can be completed anywhere in the client’s natural environment. Typically, sessions are at home or school, but some of my favorite session locations so far include a water park and the mall!

Outside of supervision overlaps, I spend time updating client treatment plans, program targets, scoring assessment results, identifying new skill areas to target, and reviewing client progress toward their current goals. Additionally, I have weekly one-on-one meetings with each of the therapists on my team. During this time, we address any client concerns, review video collected, and review implementation together. We also spend time discussing their personal and professional development goals and work together to identify the next steps for their continued growth and development. 

How does SARRC’s Comprehensive Behavioral Program differ from similar programs at other organizations? What is something that makes SARRC’s program stand above the rest?

SARRC’s CBP is unique in that we are dedicated to meeting our clients where they are and focusing on practicing skills in their natural environment. I love that we are not limited to specific locations to conduct sessions and are able to go with our clients into the environments that are most meaningful to them. Additionally, the incorporation of parent training in our program is such a vital key to our client’s success. Not only are we helping our clients to achieve their goals, but we are also teaching and guiding our client’s caregivers, teachers, and family’s vital skills and strategies they can use to do the same. 

What are the top three skills someone in your position should have/learn to be successful?

1. Organizational skills: As a clinical supervisor, there are many moving parts to manage. Being organized and keeping track of tasks helps me to make sure I provide the best supervision I can to my clients, families, and therapists. 
2. Communication skills: Verbal and written. Most of the time spent in my position is communicating with others; whether it be problem-solving with parents or therapists, coordinating care with other professionals, or simply sending along some kudos!  
3. Creativity and flexibility: Since every day comes with its own unique sets of new challenges and experiences, being flexible and creative help to overcome these obstacles in a way that sets everyone up for success!

What is the top trait you should possess as a clinical supervisor in the Comprehensive Behavioral Program?

As a clinical supervisor in CBP, the top trait I think you should possess is a tie between self-management, compassion and agility. As a clinical supervisor, self-management means being able to prioritize your goals and being responsible for accomplishing those objectives, which in turn, helps others to accomplish their goals. I also believe that great leaders recognize the importance of being able to approach challenges with a sense of compassion and agility. Being able to adapt to changes and know when to continue or pivot directions are crucial and knowing how to incorporate compassion and empathy into those decisions sets everybody up for success.

What is the biggest thing you have learned in your position at SARRC?

During my time at SARRC, the biggest thing I have learned in my position is the importance of individualization! In the field of ABA, this is something we always emphasize and talk about but is so important to put into practice and utilize every day. Not only is individualization important for our client’s needs, but for their families and our staff as well.  

Tell us about one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve encountered at SARRC.

There are so many rewarding experiences to choose from while I’ve worked here at SARRC!  Every day I am overwhelmed with the opportunity to share in my client’s successes and continue to work toward their goals. One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had was watching one of my clients take some of his personal interests and use that to facilitate his social interactions with peers at school. Previously, he only talked about his preferred interests with therapists during sessions, but with some guidance, he was able to take these interests and talk about them with peers at school and developed a small social circle. Being able to help facilitate those interactions and watch my client’s confidence increase was so rewarding! 


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