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Center for Autism


Four times per year SECA pauses for Teacher Work Week (TWW).

The purpose of TWW is to continually educate the staff regarding the latest methodology

concerning SECA’s five foundational principles of: Understanding the Diagnosis, Applied

Behavior Analysis (ABA), Teaching Strategies, Sensory Processing Disorder and Relationship

Development Intervention (RDI).

These five foundational principles ties into our mission of “…the respectful involvement into

the lives of families who have children with autism through education, advocacy, preparation and intervention….”

Some of the topics covered over the years have included foundational knowledge (i.e. ABA),

ethics for professional conduct, love and autism,

Central Reach for data collection, and trainings

to help staff with interactive problem solving. We have also reviewed: Universal Precautions

(health and safety), and MANE (Mistreatment, Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation).

As the field of autism continues to advance, so must our staff, which enables our clients to grow.

Enabling our clients to grow ties into the second half of SECA’s mission statement, which “…is

to always preserve the dignity, independence, and heightened self-determination of our clients.

We envision our clients and their families functioning optimally and coping effectively in our society.”

Since this is an ever-changing field, TWW is a requirement for our staff.


by Tina Armstrong

Since 2014, the Armstrong family has been actively involved with the Colorado AgrAbility

Project (CAP); they work with Project Manager and Rural Rehabilitation Specialists, Candiss


Steven enjoys being actively engaged in agricultural (AG) work on a friend’s ranch in Rye.,

Colorado. Even though he lives with developmental and intellectual limitations, with the assistance of CAP and his family he has built on his AG interests and has become more

independent and safer with work assignments in the caring for sheep, goats, and chickens. He

even donated a lamb to the Pueblo Zoo as part of his work and interest in AG.

Special Olympics is another activity Steven enjoys. He has medals in skilled basketball,

swimming, and bowling. The Olympics also provides social interaction too.

At Soaring Eagles Center for Autism, he enjoys going outside, has helped in the garden with harvesting the produce, caring it inside, and washing the produce. He also likes Disney movies.


A registered behavior technician (RBT) is a paraprofessional in the field of behavioral health.

They work under the supervision of a BCBA and work one-on-one with a client to implement the programs designed by the BCBA. The RBT also collects data by observing behavior and documenting the response.

To get to this level in the behavioral health field requires 40 hours of training, undergo a RBT Competency Assessment and exam.

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is a mental health and behavior specialist.

They develop treatment plans to improve clients’ behaviors and encourage positive traits. They analyze how a clients’ motivations affect their behavior and then create an environment that facilitates progress. 


It takes several years to complete the education and training to pursue a career as a BCBA. The requirements include a graduate degree, 2,000 hours of field work working under the supervision of an experienced BCBA and passing a four-hour certification exam.




“It’s a whole new world” (Aladdin)


Behavior Cusps are behaviors that open our client’s (your children’s) world to new

contingencies. These can be any behaviors, which when learned, result in accessing new environments, reinforcers and punishers and can produce significant life changes.

Think back to when your child first crawled, you may have had to “child proof” your home.

Why? Because now he or she can get into everything (they have access to new things in their

environment) that could be super fun, like playing in your baking flour (reinforcing) or super harmful/dangerous, like getting into cleaning supplies (punishing). 


With Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), behavior cusps are used for increasing learning efficiency by selecting behavior cusps as client goals such as reading, counting money, vocalizing things in their environment they may want, etc. Can you think of another behavior cusp?


Brenda Collins has been employed at Soaring Eagles Center for Autism for seven years. Prior to SECA, she was a licensed childcare provider in her home for 10 years; providing her with excellent qualifications for her first position at SECA.

each staff member to ensure that they are current on their CPR and First Aid Certification, keeps staff HR

binders current and organized. Additionally, she does vehicle inspections twice a year and files Respite and Community Connector paperwork twice a month. 


She is a graduate of Pueblo West high school and worked there as a paraprofessional. Brenda is married, has four children, one granddaughter and a grandson coming in the spring. 


When not working, she spends time with her children and granddaughter, shopping, and going on trips and vacations.


Her sister, a SECA employee, referred her and thus she began her career at SECA in 2017 as a Respite Provider. In the Respite position, she provided services to clients on a short-term basis due to the absence or need for relief of those persons who normally provide care for the client. In 2020, she transitioned to our Human Resources office. In this position, she tracks each staff member to ensure that they are current on

Brenda Collins

Our Leadership Team

Karen W. Colvin M.S.,M.D.-Exec. Dir. Lead Therapist
Mona Ortega-Medina, B.A., M.S., Asst. Director

Betty Nufer – Development Director

Lynzee Griggs B.C.B.A., M.S., Cert. Beh. Aut-Senior Therapist

Velvet Entz, B.A., M.Ed., Behavioral Consultant Assistant

Janet Baer, B.S., Administrative Asst., Editor

Monique Maes - Receptionist

Karen W. Colvin, M.D.
Betty Nufer
Mona Ortega-Medina, B.A., M.S. 

Martha Drake, M.S., CCC-SLP

Andrea Aragon        
Reggie Garcia – Vice President

Elizabeth Riffle

Vanessa VanEgmond

J.R. Chavez,

Shelly Harwood-Even, President

Vanessa VanEgmond


John Hardy, M.D.

Michael Jordan 



Susan Boyle

Scottish singer, Susan Boyle, rose to fame in 2009 after appearing as a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent television show. In 2012, she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, she is also epileptic.

Boyle took singing lessons and won several local singing competitions, she also attended acting school.


In 1998, she recorded, at her own expense, three songs and sent the professionally cut demos to record companies, radio talent competitions and local and national television. Stations. 

Her singing coach persuaded her to audition for Britain’s Got Talent. She made to the final but came in second but went on to achieve world-wide fame, due to her talent and artistry.

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