17. Growth, Diversity, and Cultural Humility, with Brandy Collins and Crystal Thompson

Discover what’s possible when cultural humility prompts curiosity and understanding. 

This week's guests are Brandy Collins and Crystal Thompson. 

Brandy is the founder and owner of Guiding Light Concepts, an autism center in Killeen, Texas. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, or BCBA, and a Certified Brain Injury Specialist with over 12 years of counseling experience. Brandy has dedicated her life to advocating for children and young adults in her community. 

Crystal is the founder and owner of Believe Autism in Jacksonville, Florida. Also a BCBA, Crystal combines her passion to help children with autism and their families with her love for dance, as well as provides various opportunities through art classes, tutoring, and support groups. 

Brandy and Crystal are members of our SkillCorps® Alumni community, having traveled with the Global Autism Project on SkillCorps volunteer trips to several of our partner sites, including SOREM in India and Rumah Tiara in Indonesia — which you may remember from episodes 6 and 16. 

The Global Autism Project provides sustainable clinical, administrative, and leadership training to autism centers seeking guidance. SkillCorps is an opportunity for self-advocates and professionals to travel to our partner sites around the world and work directly with their local teachers and therapists. For more information about our SkillCorps program, please listen to episode 4, featuring a round table discussion with three members of our community. 

As a SkillCorps alum myself, it was really fun to hear Brandy and Crystal describe how they’ve grown both personally and professionally from participating in our volunteer trips. We talk about their takeaways on supervision, teamwork, and cultural humility. 

You’ll hear us mention Leadership Academy, which is a workshop our organization provides to prepare future SkillCorps trip leaders. Another term I use in the interview is RBT, which stands for Registered Behavior Technician. This is the direct-care level position that usually works 1:1 with clients. 

In today's episode, Brandy and Crystal candidly share their experiences as Black women in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, their views on how the stigma around disabilities makes it harder for families in under-resourced areas to access services, and some of their ideas to make the field more diverse. 

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