Julie Miller is the clinical director and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) at Insight Behavior Partnership in Denver, Colorado, a group that provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for people with autism and other developmental disorders. Insight Behavior is part of Proof Positive’s Autism Wellbeing Alliance, a community dedicated to enhancing wellbeing outcomes for autistic people, providers, families, and caregivers.

Miller and her colleagues also attended Proof Positive’s Learning Institute, a professional development held for a select group of leaders in autism intervention. At the Learning Institute, Miller was trained on the science behind positive psychology skills for wellbeing and how they can be adapted for autism intervention, including ABA.

Miller’s work integrating wellbeing skills into her programming with clients demonstrates how wellbeing can and should be part of every intervention program, as we all need strategies that teach us how to cope and thrive in this world. 

In the short seven months since implementing the skill of Character Strengths, the scientific study of what’s right with us, Miller has seen the transformative power of the science and skills of positive psychology unfold before her eyes with her clients and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs), the support professionals who work directly with clients on her team. 

Whether they know it or not, her young learners are practicing big concepts— learning about who they are and how they can succeed. Guided by Miller, they try on big questions like, “What is the problem I’m having?”, “What are my strengths?” and “How can I use my strengths to solve this problem?”

Instead of letting problems stop their progress, learners realize they can use their strengths to help address challenging situations. Instead of being afraid of a difficult thing, someone versed in Character Strengths might think, “I’m going to art class, and art is tough for me. However, I know one of my Character Strengths is humor, and I can use humor to be successful in this instance. I know if I use scissors to cut, it might not look right, but because I’m funny, I can laugh at the funny shapes.”

“Proof Positive’s resources mapped so beautifully onto the services we are already providing. I think that’s one of the misconceptions—that teachers are afraid it’s another item on their to-do list when really it enhances what they’re already doing in the classroom,” said Miller. “Proof Positive’s resources offer a structured way to learn the science and skills of happiness, a pathway to what’s possible for our happiness in life.”

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