What It’s Like: Working as a Development Paraprofessional at Positive Development

June 5, 2024

One of the core tenets of the Positive Development approach to autism support is the client team. With all the relevant therapists and specialists working under one roof, our clients and their families receive holistic care without the burden of visiting different offices where speech, O/T, mental, and other therapists and developmental specialists rarely communicate to provide a full view of each client’s progress. 

This team-based approach is also crucial for building connections and supporting one another within Positive Development. We truly work together to build connections and shape futures through developmental therapy. 

Developmental Paraprofessionals

In this blog, we want to celebrate our developmental paraprofessionals (or developmental autism specialists, developmental client coaches) who work directly with our clients in therapy sessions. This is a part-time role where they set their own hours, and many of our DPPs are in college working on related advanced degrees. 

Each day for a DPP is a little bit different. They may be working with clients during in-home or community play therapy sessions. They receive guidance on what to focus on in therapy sessions from conversations with the care team and supervisors in 1:1 meetings, reflective sessions with clinicians and other DPPs, or debriefs for new clients. Between meetings, DPPs keep in regular touch through our messaging app. While this is mostly an on-the-road role, our DPPs often stop by their nearest Positive Development center to borrow materials for their sessions or to observe clinician’s sessions.

Meet Richard, a former DPP at Positive Development

Richard Perez is a DPP who worked from our Florida location. In this role, he worked one-on-one to deliver client-led, play-based developmental therapy sessions. Below, he discusses how he came to Positive Development and what his role has meant to him.

"Working with Positive Development has fully changed me." Watch Richard's PD Story.

Discovering Positive Development

“I found Positive Development through online job searches. I read through the description and it felt too good to be true because all of the skills that were needed for the position I had acquired in my past. I researched the Positive Development website and the therapy model, and I think what really drew me to Positive Development was the therapy model.

“We are promoting development through play, and it's very child-focused. I love kids. I've always wanted to immerse myself in pediatrics of some sort. And I thought that my role would have a significant impact and meaning on the families that I work with. The Positive Development philosophy fit into my philosophy.”

Onboarding with Positive Development

“When I started training and even after I started seeing clients, I had weekly and monthly supervision meetings with the company. Meeting with my supervisors and my colleagues was tremendously helpful in how I managed to work with my clients. I was given the opportunity to really grow while still learning. I was encouraged to talk about how the session went and how I felt and to really think and reflect on how my client was behaving. Through those meetings, I received help from my supervisors and my colleagues because we share our stories, which is really useful because we each provide unique experiences and perspectives.”

The therapeutic model

“What I love most — down to the core — is the therapeutic model because it's a way to provide therapeutic services in a fun way that is child-focused and child-centered. It really gives meaning to the work that we do here because we're trying to form emotionally meaningful relationships.

“Working with Positive Development has fully changed me. Once I started this job, I became much more reflective and thoughtful. I am much more observant because a lot of what I do is observe my client and learn from their behaviors. So I definitely feel like my mind has expanded.”

Working with the team

“Before Positive Development, I was working remotely and it was so isolating. Once I was hired as a developmental client coach, I was a part of a team. I realized how team-based this profession has to be because we all provide unique experiences. I always feel like I had support and guidance.

“At its core, that's what I love most about Positive Development. I knew that Positive Development was offering what I wanted when we had a year-end celebration

with my Florida team and my supervisor Dr. Lina took us to a meditation sound healing session in a botanical garden, followed by Mexican food and gift exchanges.

“That activity resonated so much with the philosophy of the company. They really want you to promote self-actualization. They really promote togetherness and bonding. They help promote development, not just with clients, but within each team member. We help each other grow.”

To learn more about working at Positive Development, visit our Careers page.

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