Susan Thomson is the Clinical Administrator for Patterson Behavior Services. In this role, she acts as a liaison between our providers, families, and health insurance companies.
Susan completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Arkansas and has worked in a variety of healthcare and administrative settings. In particular, her background as a pediatric occupational therapist provides special insight into the challenges that our families may face.
Can you tell us about your background?
Sometimes I feel like a Jack-of-all-Trades! I used to be a pediatric OT, I’ve taught parenting classes, worked for non-profits, I’m a military spouse, and a parent. I’ve worked with children and their families most of my adult life whether in a professional or volunteer capacity and also have had many administrative roles. When I saw Ally’s job posting, I immediately thought it was a good fit for my administrative skills and experience with families.
Tell us about your role and responsibilities. What is your main strength in your job?
I take care of the behind the scenes administrative responsibilities so that Ally and her team can focus on providing top notch services! My main strength is that, while I can accomplish administrative tasks, my background equips me to be understanding of a parent’s needs as well.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy being outside! Taking my dog on long walks, hiking and gardening. I like to cook and try new recipes. Doing any of those with family or friends is even better! I love to read and am very interested in health. Lately I have been learning about nutrition and the impact of food on our overall health.
How did you learn about behavior analysis? Was there anything in particular that drew you to the field?
My first exposure to ABA was through a friend who is a Behavior Analyst in Virginia Beach. The approach was intriguing to me. The evidenced-based approach to changing behavior, primarily involving the guardians in the home, seemed to be practical and effective. When I practiced OT over 30 years ago, this information would have been so life changing for families!
Have you ever created a behavior intervention plan for yourself? How did it go?
Ok, I’m a huge sugar addict so I was trying to decrease the amount of sugar I was consuming each week. Because I knew that I couldn’t totally eliminate it, I would reward myself twice a week if I had been able to maintain a “no sugar” policy the rest of the time. I found that just the reward didn’t do the trick. I also had to come up with some strategies to interrupt myself when reaching for that treat at work! It usually involved some self-talk and a walk around the office. That did the trick and I was able to change my behavior and still enjoy the occasional treat.
You are the first person a parent will speak to when they call to find help for their child. What do you want these parents to know?
I see you!! I may not be in your shoes, but I understand that you are working hard on your child’s behalf to help them be the best they can be. I want to assist you in getting the help you need.