Headshot of BCBA Peggy O'Flaherty in Amherstburg, Ontario

My Story

Experienced. Certified. Supportive.

I started my first job when I was just 11 years old at a small daycare as an after-school cleaner. As I got older, my duties changed and I became a caregiver, directly supporting and caring for the children at the daycare. Thus, the roots of my passion for education were established and I continued to work there until I moved away for University.

I started my post-secondary education in the Concurrent Education Program at the University of Windsor. This unique program combined my undergrad in Psychology, my Bachelor of Education (aka Teacher’s College), and my Early Childhood Education (ECE) Diploma into one inspiring adventure. During my first year I had a teacher’s college placement in a grade one classroom which, amongst others, had 8 students on an Individual Education Plan (IEP), however, I was not aware of that during my first day on placement! At the end of my first day, the classroom teacher pulled me aside and explained that as she watched me, she noticed that I naturally gravitated towards the students who had IEPs, without me even knowing that they had them. She was also impressed that I was implementing learning strategies from their IEPs, again without knowing that these strategies even existed yet. She strongly recommended that I consider a career in special education. And so, my journey to the world of special education began!

 

My first job after graduating university was at a summer program for children/youth with autism and those children/youth captured my heart that summer. I fell in love with the world of autism. It was truly one of my favourite summers. After that summer, I found an inspiring position at a preschool for children with autism. I started by working directly with children as a Behaviour Therapist, implementing behaviour change programs. Three years later, I was promoted to a parent training position where I learned how to train parents on the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and used a parent-mediated training approach to support parents to implement behaviour change programs directly with their children. One year after that, I was promoted again to a Senior Therapist position where I began to learn how to write behaviour change programs myself.

 

In 2012, the Ontario government created ABA-based Services (which has now been amalgamated with other autism programs to create the Ontario Autism Program) and I had the pleasure of being one of the first professionals in the field to help create ABA-based Services in the South West region of Ontario. It was then that I combined my love of parent training and developing behaviour change programs. I learned how to develop parent-friendly behaviour intervention programs and support parents with implementing them at home for their own children/youth. I also discovered my love of creating and facilitating adult training workshops. I even ended up facilitating staff trainings for the summer program I had worked at when I first discovered my love of autism! In 2013, I decided to further my education, while working full time, and I completed my Master of Education at Arizona State University. I also completed the education and field placement hours required to sit for the Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) exam…. and I passed on my first attempt! Becoming a BCBA was a pivotal moment in my career. 

 

As the Ontario Autism Program began to change, my position turned to focus on developing behaviour change programs for front line staff and supervising their implementation. I continued to seize every opportunity to work directly with parents to train them on using ABA in their home. Since 2017, I have also been working as a part time instructor for the Autism and Behavioural Sciences program at St. Clair College.

 

As of 2020, I have over 13 years of experience in the autism field and am also currently an Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT). I meet all of the requirements to be recognized as a Clinical Supervisor for the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) and you can find my name on the Approved Providers List. I have completed PECS basic training from Pyramid and PEERS training from UCLA. I have extensive experience working with children/youth ages 0-18 with varying needs and developmental levels, with a primary focus on working with children/youth with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This includes the development, implementation, and clinical supervision of behavioural interventions based on developmental milestones. I have clinically supervised many front line staff working with children/youth with ASD in various environments, including clinical and home settings. I have a passion for parent training and teaching others, because parents are the experts when it comes to their children.  The impact that parents can have on their children's learning and development can be life changing. I have also mentored several BCBA Candidates working towards their BCBA credentials and am currently a member of the board of directors for Autism Services Inc.

 

I am very much looking forward to supporting you!

 

My Qualifications

​Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA)

Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (BACB)

(2014 to current)

Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Arizona State University

(2014)

Bachelor of Education

University of Windsor

(2007)

Early Childhood Education Diploma

St. Clair College

(2007)

Ontario Certified Teacher

Ontario College of Teachers

(2007 to current)

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

University of Windsor

(2007)

 

Parent training helps children achieve their goals

Take Control of Their Future

Graduation teddy bear on a table with Dr. Suess book and BCBA Peggy O'Flaherty in the foreground
 

Why parent training?

Parents of children and youth with autism can feel very overwhelmed and alone. Many times they find themselves sitting on waitlists for services and therapies, but not knowing what they themselves could be doing to support their child.


Working with parents to develop behaviour intervention programs can have a tremendous impact on a parent’s emotional health, and of course, on the development of their child. It is incredibly important that parents are not only involved in their child’s therapy but that they also have a voice in what is most important for their child.


Parents and guardians are the experts when it comes to their own children and it’s crucial that they feel that. In a world where they are accessing therapies and supports for their child/youth, they shouldn’t feel that their parenting takes a backseat. Teaching parents how to use Applied Behaviour Analysis to help work toward their highest priority goals can have an unbelievable impact on the lifelong learning of their child/youth.

Peggy removing a sticker from a sheet to reward goal attainment for her autism clients