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Elika Shahrestani is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® with over 10 years experience working with children and adolescents with special needs.  She obtained her Masters of Science in Counseling and Applied Behavior Analysis from CSULA, where she developed expertise in Positive Behavior Supports, Pivotal Response Treatment, and the implementation of Functional Behavior Assessments.  During her course of study, she wrote her Master's thesis on the effects of social stories and reinforcement on prosocial behaviors of children with autism and subsequently presented her findings at numerous conferences and forums throughout the country.


Elika was first introduced to the field of behavior analysis during her undergraduate coursework at UCLA.  Under the inspirational guidance of Dr. Ivar Lovaas, Elika immersed herself in the field.  Lovaas’ coursework included fieldwork experience utilizing his groundbreaking methodology, Discrete Trial Training (DTT).  She obtained her B.A. in psychology and minor in Education from UCLA in 2003 and dove further into the field of working with children with special needs.


Since graduating from UCLA, Elika has worked for various behavioral agencies and has significantly contributed to the growth and development of each of them.  Encompassing this development include her role as staff trainer, parent trainer/educator, program developer, supervisor, and clinical manager.  Elika’s primary interest has been teaching social skills to children with autism, and she channeled her interest by developing curricula to teach these critical skills.  She has developed Theory of Mind curricula to teach perspective taking and a comprehensive peer-mentoring program whereby typical peers taught children with autism prosocial behaviors such as initiating and maintaining conversations.  While contributing to these agencies, Elika simultaneously completed her graduate coursework at CSULA under the advisement of Dr. Jennifer Symon.  She was accepted into Project PASS (Preparing Autism Spectrum Specialists) and obtained her Autism Certificate prior to graduating.  She obtained her BCBA shortly thereafter.


Elika has presented at numerous conferences and venues throughout her career, including presentations at the California Association for Behavior Analysis, the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the annual Pivotal Response Treatment Conference, at Head Start meetings in Los Angeles (significance of inclusion in preschool settings), Cal-TASH, SELPA, and at the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Parent Advisory Council.  She has collaborated with school district and regional center personnel as well as families, service providers, and staff.  She is most passionate about inclusion and regards it as the key element in ensuring meaningful gains are achieved when teaching social skills to individuals with special needs.


Certification:

Board Certified Behavior Analyst®

Autism Specialist (Preparing Autism Spectrum Specialists)

CPR and First Aid Certified (American Red Cross)


Professional Memberships:

Association of Professional Behavior Analysts

Autism Society of America

Cal-TASH

California Association for Behavior Analysis

Association for Behavior Analysis International

 
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