Insights and Advice from Our Behavior Support Specialists

Wednesday, 2 March, 2022 - 7:29 pm

Behavior support specialists are vital to our programs as they provide coaching and support to our teen volunteers, help our participants meaningfully engage in activities, and create a stress-free environment. 


We have three amazing behavior support specialists: Sofia Carregha, Miranda Akins, and Anna Nguyen.


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Sofia is a student at the University of Washington getting her education specialist degree in school psychology. She got involved with Friendship Circle from our program manager Kimberleigh when they worked together at the summer camp Outdoors for All.
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Miranda works full time as a cancer researcher at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. In the past she worked as a behavioral specialist at the Academy for Precision Learning. She got involved with Friendship Circle from one of our families who recommended the position to her.
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Anna is an occupational therapist. She got involved with Friendship Circle by hearing about it from various FC families she works with.
On a typical day at one of our programs, such as Sunday Circle, our behaviorists either get paired up with a participant who doesn’t have a buddy or they provide support and guidance to a buddy who has a participant with more challenging behaviors. Due to their involvement at programs, our behaviorists witness first hand the incredible effect Friendship Circle has on participants. For instance, Miranda said, “When the kids participate at Sunday Circle you can just see the smiles and hear the laughter and that’s wonderful to see”. Our other behaviorist Sofia mentioned that people with special needs are not usually given a safe place to be themselves. She said that the fact that Friendship Circle is able to create a space for people with disabilities where they can have fun, interact with kids their own age, and participate in activities is truly amazing.
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Not only does Friendship Circle impact our participants’ lives, it also impacts our behaviorists. When reflecting on her time at Friendship Circle, Sofia said, “With me being in school, everything always seems so stressful and non-stop, but with Friendship Circle I’m given the opportunity to have fun and relax.” Our other behaviorist Miranda mentioned that Friendship Circle has taught her to be patient and always appreciate the little things. She also said that she loves how Friendship Circle allows her to get involved in the community and make a difference. 

We are so thankful for all the support our behaviorists give us. We love hearing their unique perspective on our programs, which reminds us that the work we do here at Friendship Circle is really something special. 

Advice from Our Behavior Support Specialists

Tips on How to Engage With a Person With Special Need


  1. Always ask for help
  2. Be yourself
  3. Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone
  4. Don't make assumptions about them
  5. Don't take anything personally
  6. Don't treat a teen or young adult with special needs like a child  
  7. Fully participate in activities with them



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