Caymanian therapist completes applied behaviour training

The Wellness Centre’s Samantha Sampang-McCoy recently completed her therapist training in applied behaviour analysis and joins the centre’s autism services team as a full-time ABA therapist.  

Ms Sampang-McCoy, a Caymanian, will be delivering ABA therapy to children with autism spectrum disorders in clinical, home and school settings.  

She is a past John Gray High School student who graduated with honours in 2012 from the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and health studies. She returned home to Cayman to gain practical clinical experience before setting a course toward graduate school. She started as a volunteer intern at The Wellness Centre last October, eager to gain hands-on experience in psychological services.  

After just a few weeks, Ms Sampang-McCoy decided that the field of applied behaviour analysis was an area she wanted to pursue. She embarked on a rigorous ABA therapist training programme, under the direct supervision of Sloane Pharr, board-certified behavioural analyst and supervisor of The Wellness Centre’s ABA services team. 

“We are thrilled to have finally trained our first Caymanian ABA therapist. This is exactly what our island needs. The availability of quality therapists to meet the needs of special children such as those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and be able to demonstrate and hone their therapeutic and evaluation skills on island,” Ms Pharr said.  

“It shouldn’t be up to employers or families to continue to bring therapists in from oversees when there are suitable, energetic, intelligent people here on island. Sam is the perfect example. She started as an intern, volunteering her time in exchange for experience and training opportunities and now she has successfully progressed from observing direct client work, to participating in our ABA training for parents and caregivers, to undergoing intensive instruction in Behavioural theory and the principles of ABA, to finally meeting criterion on applying her knowledge in supervised direct therapy,” she added. 

Shannon Seymour, director of The Wellness Centre, said, “We are so proud to welcome Samantha to our growing team. She started as a volunteer intern eager to learn and demonstrate her knowledge. She has worked diligently and demonstrated exceptional professionalism; it has been very exciting to watch her growth. I would like to thank Sloane Pharr, our ABA programme supervisor, for all of her efforts in training Samantha and to our entire ABA team of therapists who welcomed Samantha and assisted in developing her skills. “I encourage any interested Caymanians with a related university degree and previous experience in child care and or working with special needs children to contact us to enquire about training opportunities.” 

Ms Sampang-McCoy, whose parents are Baron and Desiree Jacob and Frank McCoy, plans to pursue a master’s degree in applied behaviour analysis specialising in autism spectrum disorders in September, but will continue to work with The Wellness Centre during her study breaks. 

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