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Hello! I’m Lauren. I’m a more recently diagnosed Autistic mom of two bright children. My son was diagnosed with Autism in 2015 at age 3, and my daughter is awaiting an assessment she will receive later this year at age 9. I’m a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), and I’m currently in school with the goal of becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). In December 2022, I decided to start my blog and Facebook page, The Autistic Behavior Tech, so that I can be more active and involved within my communities of Autistics and ABA professionals.

I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to share with you some of the best blogs, books, communities, and other resources I and others in the Autistic community have come across and recommend. Wherever and whoever you are in this world of Autism, there are resources out there for you. Whether you are Autistic, think you may be Autistic, or if you work with or love someone who is Autistic, I hope you will find community and other resources that will be helpful for you on your journey.

This is not an exhaustive list, as there are so many resources out there. These are ones that I and others I’ve reached out to in the Autistic community recommend, particularly for those wanting to learn more about Autism in general and for those who are more newly diagnosed or self-diagnosed/realized.

Please bear in mind that throughout this list of resources, there will be some that touch base on ABA therapy in a less than positive light. Remember that in any field there will be both excellent and lacking therapists, educators, etc. This is why it is of the utmost importance to research your chosen therapists’ practices, as well as remain informed throughout the duration of you or your loved one’s time receiving support services of any kind.

A child blowing bubblues with a parent or therapist


Unmasking Autism by Devon Price, PhD.

In this book, Dr. Devon Price lays out his experiences with masking and offers exercises throughout the book to help you along your way in your journey of unmasking. The book also uncovers the experiences of other people within the Autistic community throughout the text.

What I Actually Mean When I Say I’m Autistic by Annie Kotowicz

Diagnosed later in life, Annie Kotowicz unveils life from her perspective as an Autistic woman. Derived from stories told on her blog Neurobeautiful, this book will inspire both Autistic people and those around them who want to learn more.

Autistics on Autism by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Contrary to what the media often portrays, Autism is not a children-only neurotype. Autistics on Autism is a collection of stories told by Autistic adults. This piece of literature offers a look inside the experiences of 100 Autistic people in order to offer the world a better understanding of us.

Sincerely, Your Autistic Child by the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network; edited by Morenike Giwa Onaiwu, Emily Paige Ballou, & Sharon daVanport

Most books targeted toward families of Autistic children are written by Allistic psychologists, educators, and doctors, offering limited insight into Autism. This anthology is described as “part memoir, part guide, and part love letter.” The book holds a collection of stories told by Autistic people, making this an authentic resource for families.

Contributors to the book pause and reflect on what they have learned while growing up on the Autism spectrum, as well as provide insight as to how families can do best for their children by avoiding common mistakes. The book also provides information on how to overcome some challenges that may arise throughout their child’s life.

Divergent Mind by Jenara Nerenberg

Divergent Mind is an inspiring book directed toward women who have gone through life feeling that they are “different,” never knowing why. This book shares stories from a collective of Neurodivergent women, shedding light on the differences in how these brain variances present in women and individuals assigned female at birth (AFAB).

This book also serves as a guide to put the reader on a path forward, offering discussions on practical changes in how we communicate and how we can better support divergent minds. Divergent Mind is a timely and much-needed piece of literature dedicated to informing people about the differences in our brains.

Start Here: A Guide for Parents of Autistic Kids by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network

This booklet is an excellent resource for parents of Autistic children. It serves as a guide to help readers learn about Autism itself, how to understand their child better, how to find good services, and what particular rights children have in school. Most importantly, this book helps the reader learn how to best support their Autistic child as they grow older.

Blogs and Websites

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a nonprofit organization, run by and for Autistic people, dedicated to empowering those in the community and advancing the principles of the disability movement. On their website you can find a collection of over 100 pages of various types of resources as well as information on identity-first language and general information explaining what Autism is.

The Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network’s mission is to provide community support and resources for women, girls, trans and nonbinary people, Two Spirit People, and anyone of a marginalized gender identity. The website offers a resource library, blog, and webinars. Stay up to date by clicking on the Updates tab or by signing up for the AWN newsletter.

Neuroclastic offers a plethora of information and resources for Autistic individuals, their families, and their employers.

The website contains a section dedicated to educating viewers about Autism. From a drop-down menu you can find information about what Autism is and a list of Autistic traits broken down by category. This is a great place to start whether you are new to learning about Autism or if you already have a good amount of knowledge in your mental database. There is always more to learn.

The website also offers sections on culture and identity, justice, and health. Another drop-down menu will take you to resources such as infographics and directories as well as topics broken down by who needs them — those who are neurodivergent, families, educators, physicians, therapists, or employers.

Finding a specialist in diagnosing Autism can be hard, especially when you’re looking for one that specializes in adult diagnosis. That’s why Neuroclastic has a directory available that offers lists of diagnosticians so that people can locate one in their area. The lists are compiled of several different countries, so viewers are likely to find somewhere that is close to them.

Reframing Autism will soon offer a suite of Autistic wellbeing courses, tailored to fit three audiences — Autistic people, their families, and professionals. At this time, Reframing Autism is reviewing courses, so they are not yet available, but you can complete a form on the website to be notified of future offerings. The Autistic Wellbeing for Autistics course will be free!

Under the Resources tab you can find a collection of resources in a variety of formats primarily designated for diagnosed or self-realized Autistics. These resources cover a wide range of topics such as communication, diagnosis, masking, and many more. From blogs and videos to podcasts and infographics, Reframing Autism has something for you.

The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism is a one-stop source for information from Autistic people, their families, and Autism professionals. This website offers resources ranging from books, communities, and family perspectives to topics such as advocacy, accessibility, and communication. The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism also offers lists of Autism organizations they do support as well as ones they do not support. You can also find on the FAQ page a list of myths and truths about Neurodiversity.

Owned and operated by Annie Kotowicz, the author of What I Actually Mean When I Say I’m Autistic, this website offers both community and information about the authentic Autistic experience. The many blog posts available to read offer insight into the mind of an Autistic woman. If you’re not sure where to start, there is a button on the main page that will select a blog post for you to begin reading. I found this feature so handy as I sometimes get overwhelmed with deciding what to read first.

Annie offers three different levels of donation-based community you can get involved in by contributing your choice of $1, $3, or $7, depending on what you would like to see. This is a great way to support her work! The top-tier community level features her newsletter, advance notice of her live events, transcripts to all live events (including past ones), and an even more unfiltered look at her writing. All community levels come with bonuses, such as stickers and free chapters of her book. Annie also sells shirts and stickers in her shop.

Temple Grandin is one of the world’s most accomplished and well-known Autistic adults. She holds a PhD and is currently a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She is a prominent author and speaker on both Autism and animal behavior. She has written books such as Navigating Autism: 9 Mindsets for Helping Kids on the Spectrum and the national bestseller Thinking in Pictures. Her website offers articles, webinars, and a page where you can find all her books.

Recommended Communities and More

Joining communities is beneficial as you can offer help to others as well as receive help and friendship, rather than reading information from a static page. Both are great and serve their own purposes, but if you’re seeking to become more involved and active in your communities and want the interaction, here are some great Facebook pages, communities, podcasts, and YouTube channels that will keep you learning and communicating:

In Closing

On behalf of all of us at Waypoints, thank you, Lauren, for these fantastic recommendations! Amongst this variety of multimedia options for audiences of all kinds, you will surely find something to suit your needs. In addition to these valuable resources, I hope readers will also check out Lauren’s website, The Autistic Behavior Tech, and her Facebook page at this link.

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Get in Touch With Waypoints

Whether you’re looking for diagnostic testing, one-on-one in-home ABA therapy and skill-building resources, or simply want to learn more about our unique approach, please don’t hesitate to reach out! (We love getting mail.)

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LaFleur Web Developers

In a previous blog post, I discussed what registered behavior technicians (RBTs) and board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) do and what one can expect of common role responsibilities in the field of behavior analysis. In practice, though, a typical work day can vary a lot across companies providing ABA services depending in part on the setting in which those services are provided.

At Waypoints, we almost exclusively work with clients directly in their own homes. There are exceptions, such as when technicians and clinicians accompany clients during outings into the community, but this still results in a day-to-day schedule that involves visiting varied locations for a few hours at a time. It’s a lot different from a clinic- or office-based job where you’d spend your whole 8-hour work day in one building!

Like aspects of any job, this has its potential pros and cons. Clients may feel more comfortable getting to know you in their own homes as opposed to an unfamiliar setting, but at the same time, there may be extra distractions such as pets, family members, and favorite toys. It can be nice to experience some variety in where you work, but that also comes with additional commute time.

A white child playing with a green bus toy

Our Service Area

With that being said, we do take care to ensure that employees don’t experience more of a commute than they’re willing to take on! Preferred travel maximum per day is a question we ask applicants up-front during every interview, and clients are paired with technicians and clinicians based on both schedule availability and geographical location. (And, of course, expertise and compatibility!)

While there are a few exceptions – shout-out to our road warrior clinician joining us from Lansing – our clients and employees have a lot of geographical overlap.

Waypoints Clients’ Locations

Waypoints Employees’ Locations

(Not pictured: our wonderful administrative team over in the Detroit area, and me even further abroad in Evanston, Illinois. Hello from across Lake Michigan!)

Behavior Technicians

So, commute aside, what does a behavior technician’s job look like at Waypoints? One of our wonderful techs covered the format of typical sessions in a previous post, but here I will zoom out to what might be involved in a full work day.

Our technicians each work regularly with an average of two different clients, with a range between one and four. While sessions may occur at any time of day and on any day of the week, clients who are attending school predictably tend to need support during late afternoons, evenings, and weekends!

Below is an example of a typical schedule for a full-time technician, but a technician may also work as little as 8 hours per week with a single client. We’re able to accommodate many different schedules and preferred workloads.

Working one-on-one with clients can sometimes make for an unpredictable schedule, though! Clients and technicians alike may get sick, go on vacation, or need to cancel a session for any number of other different reasons. In these cases, technicians can use session time to complete professional development trainings, assist other technicians with their clients, or create materials to use during future sessions. Even if backup work is not available, technicians are paid at a cancellation rate for all sessions cancelled by clients, since we know that a consistent and reliable paycheck is very important.


If you’ve worked as a clinician in the past, you already know that summarizing a clinician’s typical schedule isn’t quite so easy! While technicians are responsible for direct service delivery, clinicians conduct assessments, develop skill-building and behavior-reduction programs, create program materials, supervise technicians, monitor and analyze data, communicate with clients and their caregivers… the list goes on.

Our full-time clinicians work with an average of 14 clients each, and as you might expect, part-time clinicians work with about 7. Clinicians create their own schedules, and work at times that are best for them; hours worked can vary quite a bit from day to day and week to week.

Currently, and especially since many accommodations have been made in the wake of COVID-19, a good portion of a clinician’s job responsibilities at Waypoints can be completed remotely. Supervising sessions via video call is often both less intrusive for the client, and more convenient for everyone involved! However, clinicians at Waypoints don’t interact with clients purely via telehealth. Most assessments yield much more helpful results when a clinician is able to get to know a client in their own home, and regular in-person contact with clients and caregivers can help with relationship-building.

For that matter, explaining to new technicians how to work with new clients is often best accomplished in person as well, depending on all parties’ preferred teaching and learning styles! Clinicians and technicians often meet up with each other at cafes or libraries, and for larger trainings and get-togethers we might book a conference room. All in all, a clinician’s role at Waypoints offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to both travel and timing, but shouldn’t be thought of as a purely remote position.

Collaboration and Community

With so much variability in schedules and without a central location where we can see each other every day, how do we maintain good communication and come together as a company? Thankfully, so far that hasn’t been a big struggle at Waypoints! Behavior technician jobs and clinicians’ workloads already require so much time on computers and tablets responding to emails, using our clinical management software, and typing up reports – we’ve found our “water cooler” together online.

Using a platform called Discord, we share recipes and pet pictures, give each other shout-outs, ask for help with session coverage, advertise upcoming professional development opportunities… and share our daily Wordle scores! While “hanging out” online is by no means required (I’m personally no fan of obligatory workplace socializing), this allows us to have that personal connection.

Technicians and clinicians also each decide amongst themselves how they prefer to communicate with each other. Whether you’re most comfortable with texting, calling, emailing, or video chatting, we almost always speak with each other in some way every day.

Want to Join Us?

If the workday as a technician or clinician sounds appealing to you, I encourage you to check out our previous blog post discussing how to become an ABA practitioner! You can also learn more about careers here at Waypoints at

Related Articles

Get in Touch With Waypoints

Whether you’re looking for diagnostic testing, one-on-one in-home ABA therapy and skill-building resources, or simply want to learn more about our unique approach, please don’t hesitate to reach out! (We love getting mail.)

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LaFleur Web Developers

If you’re reading this blog, perhaps you’ve already looked into applying to work with us here at Waypoints via Indeed, LinkedIn, our Facebook page, or even elsewhere on our website. RBT and BCBA jobs are widely available in Michigan and throughout the country, so on behalf of everyone at our company, I’m honored that you’re looking into what we have to offer for employment.

The links above describe the basics of job requirements at Waypoints, and those requirements tend to be pretty similar across all companies offering applied behavior analysis (ABA) services. To become a behavior technician, applicants must be a minimum of 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Clinicians must ultimately become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), which requires completion of a master’s degree, but we also support clinicians-in-training who are completing their fieldwork for certification or starting out as Qualified Behavioral Health Providers (QBHPs). Those are a lot of acronyms! You can learn more about different potential careers in ABA in an earlier blog post, How to Become and ABA Practitioner.

In this post, though, I will focus on the full process of applying for employment at Waypoints in particular, step by step. And anyone taking the initiative to read this in preparation for an interview is already impressing us!

Three children at a table filled with art supplies and activities

The Application Process

The first step, of course, is simply to send in an application. As someone who had to drop off resumes and applications in person back in the day, I’m pleased that sites like Indeed make this process much easier. Indeed will even create a resume for you based on your input, if you don’t already have one written.

While it’s always great to see past experience that would indicate readiness to work in the field of behavior analysis, or even more generally to work one-on-one with children and adolescents, a specific kind of employment history is not required. We are confident that the training we provide before any employee work with clients will prepare you well.

Perhaps you have volunteer or familial experience or feel that an applied behavior analysis job would be right for you based on something you’ve read, watched, or heard. No matter what draws you to apply for a position at Waypoints, we want to know about it! In your resume (and possibly a cover letter if you choose to include one), try to highlight what made the position interesting to you, as well as what you think might make you a good fit for the position.

If you’re not entirely sure whether Waypoints would in fact be the right employer for you, that’s okay too, and it’s something that can be investigated further in your interview!

After you apply, keep an eye on your email inbox for the invitation to schedule an interview time. Since we work with clients in their homes and do not have a central office location, everyone on the Waypoints team predominantly communicates with each other online. Promptly and professionally responding to emails is an easy way to stand out right away.

The Interview Process

Needless to say, attending the scheduled interview on time and well-prepared is always appreciated! In addition to online communication, we rely heavily on our employees referring to their schedules and calendars regularly, so this is another opportunity to demonstrate that skillset to us. And good news – by reading this blog you’re well on your way to being thoroughly prepared for the actual interview questions!

Naturally, specific questions will vary based on the position applied for and how the conversation between interviewer and applicant progresses, but we generally like to cover five major topics:

  • Professional communication: Are you prepared to respond promptly and clearly via email and phone? Are you comfortable speaking with coworkers and clients face-to-face?
  • Knowledge of and experience with behavior analysis:
  • Self-advocacy: Do you take the initiative to ask questions and request support that you need?
  • Responsiveness to feedback: How do you prefer to receive feedback from supervisors? How do you respond to critical feedback, or feedback that you disagree with?
  • Time management and organization: How do you maintain a good work/life balance? Will you be able to meet clients’ needs, without sacrificing your own?

If after the first interview we agree that we’d be a good fit for each other, we will then schedule a brief follow-up interview to give you the opportunity to meet more of the Waypoints team and ask any additional questions that may occur to you. This is an important chance for you to ensure that we will meet your needs in terms of workload, schedule, career goals, and company culture.

Career Paths

In order to determine whether we will be a good fit for your career goals, you might need to reflect on what exactly those goals are and what your options are!

While we don’t necessarily expect employees to stay working with us here at Waypoints forever, we want to make sure that the time you DO spend with us is rewarding and beneficial to you in the future. In addition to providing support for clinicians-in-training, we also provide diverse opportunities for our BCBAs to collect research data, present at conferences or in professional development workshops for fellow employees, and of course develop their supervisory and training repertoires.

Technicians also have a variety of options for growth within Waypoints. Before onboarding, all technicians must complete a 40-hour training to help set a foundation for understanding the science of behavior analysis and common applied procedures. That’s a common requirement within the field, so if you’ve already done this, you’re unlikely to need to complete it again! The next steps from there, though, are flexible.

To obtain the Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) credential, employees must then complete an on-the-job competency assessment and pass a certification exam. However, certification is not required for employment; as noted earlier in this post, we’re confident that our training will prepare all employees to work equally well with clients, regardless of whether they then choose to become RBTs. There are several career paths available within Waypoints, certified or not!

You may choose to take on more of an administrative role over time, helping out with creation of training and program materials or translating documents into clients’ preferred languages. You may also wish to grow into a training role yourself, teaching new technicians to work effectively with their clients and providing valuable feedback. If you would like to become a BCBA someday, you could work closely with our clinicians during fieldwork to learn the ropes of assessment, data analysis, and program development, and see firsthand what all goes into BCBA jobs.

Next Steps

I believe we have a lot to offer here at Waypoints, as a behavior analyst-run company that is dedicated to being client- and employee-focused. If we’ve caught your eye as a potential employer, you can learn more about our mission and values on our website at, and our rigorous clinical and professional standards in this blog post.

Getting started in a career at Waypoints begins with being responsive via email, attending interviews and meetings on time, answering questions honestly, demonstrating investment in care and support for clients, and asking us questions to show that you’re truly considering whether we would be a good fit for you. Seriously, be sure to interview us as much as we’re interviewing you! If you’re interested, check out our available positions on Indeed. And if you’d like to learn more first, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us through our website at

Related Articles

Get in Touch With Waypoints

Whether you’re looking for diagnostic testing, one-on-one in-home ABA therapy and skill-building resources, or simply want to learn more about our unique approach, please don’t hesitate to reach out! (We love getting mail.)

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LaFleur Web Developers

Having a support network in place plays an important role in improving and maintaining wellbeing for people of all ages. Even the most fiercely independent or introverted of us still has an innate need for social support. This is something that is basically hardwired into our DNA, likely from earlier times when humans needed to band together for survival. While we may not need to form tribes for protection against predators and other threats in the wild anymore, this trait will probably always remain.

Our social nature is part of the reason we have the common saying, “it takes a village to raise a child.” This is something that is consistently proven to be true, especially because many puzzle pieces come together to form a whole picture.

Along with the concept of raising a kid, socialness is important for a child’s health. Sure, children rely on adults for basic needs like food, water, and shelter, but it goes deeper than that. Children have social needs that can impact—positively or negatively—emotional and mental health and wellbeing. These needs can vary in degree, but they are present for virtually any child, including those who are autistic.

As we look at autism support networks and systems, it can help to break them into different social areas.

A child holding the hand of an adult and looking up

The Family Unit as a Support System

Families of origin are often, but obviously not always, the first kind of social support networks humans receive. In the case of support systems for autism, this can be a particularly valuable one. While providing basic needs (food, shelter) is a form of support given to any child born into a loving, stable home, autistic children can benefit even more from the home environment.

As we noted in our post, How to Support Autistic Loved Ones at Home, there are possible physical supports that might benefit an autistic son or daughter at home. These can include visual aids and reminders, sensory activities, and proper lighting. More than that, though, the social support from home life can really benefit an autistic youth by having what is likely the deepest understanding of the child as an individual.

In the same way that all neurodivergent people are different and have their own preferences and ways of doing things, so too is the case with autistic people. And, as we talk about support networks, family members can have the greatest insight into what their sibling or child needs for structure, downtime, sensory experiences, and communication.

Support Systems in School

For autistic children who are enrolled in school, they have opportunities to have support networks there. Within this context, special and general education teachers, social workers, administrators, and even parents call all be part of a support system for autistic students.

If you have an autistic child who is taking classes, it is highly recommended that they have an IEP (individualized education plan). These plans provide structure and guidance so that students receive what they need to be in the best possible position for success. The individualized element is quite important because, as was noted, not all autistic students have the same needs. By ensuring that your child has an IEP in place, you should be able to know that their unique nature is being taken into consideration.

With this kind of tool, autistic students should have (and be able to receive) everything they need to thrive in the educational environment.

Community-Based Support Networks

Another way to build a support network for your autistic son or daughter is to research activities and programs they may be interested in. While a school-based support network can play its role in your child’s wellbeing, this branching out can be quite beneficial for developmental purposes. After all, it is quite helpful to be able to interact with the world around us as humans age into adulthood. And building networks within the community can create safe, positive environments where your child can thrive while surrounded by people who understand them and what they need.

Parents, you can team up with other parents who understand the struggles and access to resources. All it takes is spending some time with your child on the spectrum and paying attention to what they take interest in and how they interact with it. Those small observations can lead you to finding activities and resources that align with your observations. Despite the network in the school setting, you will be establishing a network within the community.

In addition to finding community-based options for your child, you may find support groups to be helpful for you and other family members. Many individuals find these to be beneficial resources where they are surrounded by other families who experience the same kinds of situations they do. This can really ease any sense of isolation, loneliness, and frustration you may be feeling.

Beyond that, you will find that participants often help each other out by sharing information on medical or educational services, programs, and other resources available in the community, county, or state. And you can get advice from others who may have experienced similar situations or problems and share your own coping techniques that worked for you (, 2022). While it might be easier to see the benefits of getting advice from others, being able to share and know that you are helping others is a wonderful feeling.

As an assessment specialist, support groups are one of the resources I always suggest to families because most feel alone in the situation. Exposing them to others who share similar experiences will help alleviate those feelings and they can learn more effective ways to assist their child.

Support Here at Waypoints

Waypoints provides follow-ups to help parents understand and to link to other resources that help build a positive support network. With an open-door policy, families can reach out to us anytime they have a concern or just need to vent about a situation. At Waypoints, we do our best to find a solution and link families to tools that can help reduce negative feelings and promote positive change and support.

If you ever want or need to get in touch, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (616) 251-8162 or send an email to!


How to Build a Support Network as a Special Needs Parent. 2022.

Related Articles

Get in Touch With Waypoints

Whether you’re looking for diagnostic testing, one-on-one in-home ABA therapy and skill-building resources, or simply want to learn more about our unique approach, please don’t hesitate to reach out! (We love getting mail.)

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LaFleur Web Developers

In a previous blog post, Find the Best Autism Services in Michigan for Your Family, I reviewed many of the therapeutic and disability-accommodating resources that our state has to offer. At the time, Waypoints was operating exclusively in Ottawa County, and so I focused on that particular region when rounding up recommendations. However, many options in and around Grand Rapids were listed there as well – I encourage you to take a look, if you haven’t yet!

And good news – Waypoints is now contracted with Network 180 in Kent County too! This means that individuals and families in the greater Grand Rapids community will receive information about our company when seeking out services through their insurance providers. But why go with Waypoints among all of the options available?

A parent playing with a child

Timely Services

Oftentimes, the choice of company to provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services is simply a matter of which one has availability of both care team providers and session times that accommodate everyone’s schedules.

At Waypoints, we are currently hiring additional Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and behavior technicians to help support clientele in our new geographic reach. Currently, we maintain an average of just 15 days between receiving a client referral and beginning assessments, and 60 days between that referral and the start of in-home services.

As described in our blog post regarding barriers to ABA services in Michigan, part of that wait time is governed by waiting for approvals from insurance providers, but our scheduling team works hard to be ready to hit the ground running as soon as we get the green light.

Our Values and Goals

As is the case with many similar companies, Waypoints offers one-on-one in-home ABA sessions, which can help with goal-setting, education, self-help and -advocacy, and skill-building in general. What we believe sets us apart is our client-centered focus on assent during all steps of services, and our celebration of neurodiversity.

Unfortunately, ABA can be used in harmful ways, and that is something that we always keep in mind when applying the science of behavior analysis. While we do provide behavior reduction support upon request, we do so only with direct client input and with the use of least-restrictive techniques.

As part of our wholehearted support of the neurodiversity movement, we assert that autism is not something to be cured. Instead, our focus is on offering learning opportunities and support to help navigate a world that is often lacking in accommodations. To that end, we actually do not conceptualize our use of ABA as therapy in the usual sense of the word, but rather as a skill-building tool.

If you would like to learn more about our use of ABA, please feel free to visit our ABA skills training services page, as well as previous blog posts such as Applied Behavior Analysis in Simple Terms and What ABA Therapists Do!

Our Qualifications

Waypoints is owned and operated solely by BCBAs, two of whom are doctoral-level. We strongly believe that client-centered services are often hindered by the impact of financial interests of people who are not prioritizing clinical needs, so this is an important distinction.

While each client’s case is overseen by a clinical supervisor, employees in the role of behavior technicians are our direct service providers. Each of our behavior technicians complete a minimum of 40 hours of training before onboarding with us, followed by another 30 hours on average of training and feedback from experienced practitioners, all before they ever work independently with a client.

Technicians also receive a raise for formalizing their qualifications by becoming Registered Behavior Technicians – we greatly value ongoing professional development! An excellent description of what ABA sessions look like at Waypoints, written by one of our technicians, can be found at this blog post.

While technicians are the backbone of ABA services, we believe that a high level of contact with our clinical supervisors is also critical. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) requires that at least 5% of session times be overseen by a BCBA, but at Waypoints we aim for a minimum of 10%, and in the past two months I’m proud to say that we’ve averaged over 15%.

Get in Touch!

Above all, our mission is to provide our clients with highly trained, well-supported staff in pursuit of optimal outcomes in meeting their goals. Back in February of 2022, we received preliminary accreditation by the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE), and are now on track to earn full accreditation in the new year – all of our support documentation was submitted yesterday, as of this writing! We’re proud and honored to be able to make our services a part of autism support in Kent County now, along with continuing to support autistic clients and their families in Ottawa County.

If it sounds like Waypoints would be a good fit for you or your loved one, I hope you’ll reach out to us at, or take a moment to learn more about the services we provide at

Related Articles

Get in Touch With Waypoints

Whether you’re looking for diagnostic testing, one-on-one in-home ABA therapy and skill-building resources, or simply want to learn more about our unique approach, please don’t hesitate to reach out! (We love getting mail.)

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

LaFleur Web Developers

If you (or a family member or friend) are a part of the autistic community, you are almost certainly aware of the organization Autism Speaks. Founded in 2005, it is by far the most prominent autism research organization in the USA. You may associate it with the movement to “light it up blue” in support of autism awareness, or its fundraising activities, like its annual walks held in many cities nationwide.

You also may have heard, though, of controversies surrounding this organization. The autistic community has raised several serious concerns with their practices, which I’ll review in this post for consideration. While some improvements have been made in more recent years, the history and underlying principles of Autism Speaks continue to bear scrutiny.

A child putting stickers on a window

Concerns with Autism Speaks

The reasons why people don’t like Autism Speaks are well-documented, and in this post my focus will be on amplifying autistic voices on the topic. Bear in mind, though, that “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” Perhaps ironically, that quote is from Dr. Stephen Shore, an autistic board member of Autism Speaks. No community is a monolith, and there will always be mixed opinions about this organization as well as any other topic.

With that being said, the most serious concerns with Autism Speaks revolve around three main topics: the goals of the organization, how they communicate those goals, and how they allocate their significant funding.

Ableist Goals

While the mission statement of Autism Speaks currently states that it is “dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families,” the organization has its roots in the anti-vaccine movement with the intention to identify the causes of autism and then prevent or end its occurrence.

As I’ve written about in a previous blog post, autism cannot be cured, and attempts to do so are harmful in and of themselves. Much of the research funded by Autism Speaks is in accordance with the medical model of disability, seeking to discover “solutions” to autism rather than supports for autistic people. As autistic rights activist Paula Durbin-Westby put it, Autism Speaks treats autism as a disorder or disease, which has different connotations than treating it as a disability.

Autism Speaks also provides ongoing promotion and support for the Judge Rotenberg Center, an institution that continues to practice contingent electric skin shock (CESS) with autistic and other disabled patients, despite its demonstrated risks and harm. In spite of Autism Speaks removing its goal of curing autism in 2016, this is yet another action that demonstrates an underlying goal of changing autistic people to fit in with the norm. Incidentally, support of the JRC is a problem within the field of ABA as well, which I’ve covered in another post.

Harmful Language

Again, the goals and actions of Autism Speaks have in part changed over the years since its founding, but much of the language used by the organization in advertisement of its initiatives is still deeply problematic.

Language and actions must be considered side by side with each other, but ableist terminology can be an indicator of ableist beliefs, whether conscious or subconscious. Our most recent blog post, How to Support Autism Awareness and Acceptance, discusses some facets of language to keep in mind when working to become a good advocate for the autistic community.

Perhaps the most high-profile example of this issue was the “I Am Autism” promotional video which originally aired in 2009. It premiered at the United Nations World Focus on Autism Conference, and while Autism Speaks no longer hosts it on its website (due to the massive backlash against it), the video is still available through many sources online. Frankly, it is hurtful enough that I’m hesitant to link to it directly. Suffice it to say that it frames autism as a harmful and insidious force, blaming it for everything from bankruptcy to divorce.

A ten-year retrospective of the video and other harmful forms of “outreach” by Autism Speaks was published by Shannon Des Roches Rosa in her article Things Left Unsaid. A review and critique of the video that was published in Time can be found at this link, and the full transcript can be found here – but please be aware that the content may be troubling to read.

Even outside of this one prominent example, Autism Speaks and its founding members have continued to compare being autistic to disasters, diseases, and other threats, as reviewed in this joint letter to the sponsors of the organization platformed by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) here.

Financial Concerns

It can certainly be argued that regardless of the history of Autism Speaks and concerns with how its values and goals are communicated, the organization’s actions should speak louder than its words.

Whether the actions of Autism Speaks have done enough to combat these other concerns is a matter of opinion. This flyer provided by (ASAN), updated annually, reports that only 1% of the budget of Autism Speaks is allocated toward providing supports for autistic individuals and their families. The biggest slice of funding goes toward lobbying for “awareness” of autism, but awareness alone is not enough.

Research accounts for 24% of the budget, but as mentioned previously, the goals of said research are often suspect. According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Inter-Agency Autism Coordinating Committee, 1% of money allocated for research goes toward investigation of methods for improved service quality, and less than 0.25% toward topics related to the needs of autistic adults.

A New Way Forward

Some improvements to Autism Speaks have been achieved since its inception in 2005. One huge historical concern has been the lack of representation by autistic people on the board of the organization.

In 2015, Autism Speaks did announce its appointment of two autistic people to the board of directors. However, ASAN notes that this in and of itself does not address the remaining concerns of prioritization of the medical model of disability with “an imbalanced budget which allocates the majority of their finances towards biomedical research and fundraising… investing little towards services and supports” and “profoundly harmful language and rhetoric in their advertising, fundraising, and ‘awareness’ campaigns.”

As an example of how more inclusive and neurodiversity-affirming research can be pursued, ASAN is a supporter of Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR). In a nutshell, CBPR entails community involvement with both the creation of research questions and agreement upon its goals and methods. The Academic Autistic Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education (AASPIRE) provides more information about CBPR on its website.

Overall, the “branding” and outreach of Autism Speaks has shifted to more prominently feature the voices of autistic people, and also to provide resources for autistic adults rather than marketing strictly to parents of autistic children. This year, the senior social media manager of Autism Speaks (who is autistic herself) wrote an article in support of the organization. A more detailed level of disclosure of the research and fundraising goals of Autism Speaks, along with de-platforming of harmful organizations such as the JRC, would likely go along way toward rehabilitating its image.

Alternative Supports

In the meantime, there are so many other organizations offering resources for and by autistic people that can be celebrated and supported instead of Autism Speaks. Here are just a few:

Michigan’s council and The Arc chapter can be found at and respectively!

It can be difficult and even dangerous for autistic people to speak up and be heard about their concerns regarding Autism Speaks as an organization. Katie Miller wrote about just one example of the exhaustion involved in in self-advocacy and protest in a blog post hosted at ASAN.

I hope that this post helps to ease that burden, even if just a little, and also allows you as the reader to make an informed decision about supporting Autism Speaks or not. Is Autism Speaks bad? That is a complicated question to answer, but at the least there are improvements that can clearly still be made by the organization.

You can learn more about our mission and values here at Waypoints at, as well as via our frequently asked questions page. We are explicitly supportive of neurodiversity and focused on individualized changes to the environment to help support learning – never suppression of autistic traits and voices.

If you would like to chat more with any of our team about Autism Speaks or anything else regarding the neurodiversity movement, we would love for you to reach out to us at

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