The real self is such an elusive concept. Can there really be something inside of all of us that defines who we long to truly be? (“Flips the script)

(Clear’s throat from coffee and continues)…Let’s get back to the real narrative. Real is what you make of it. People are always going to be attracted to goal-getters. But sometimes goal-getters are not attracted to themselves. Thus having an aura around them that can manifest as validation seeking, co-dependent, and pessimistic.

I hate to break it to you as I’m still attempting to break it to myself but there is no one that’s going to put you back together the way you want to but yourself. So if you hate yourself and don’t start learning how to re-invest in yourself you’re never going to get your power back.

This is when routine can be your saving grace because everybody has one even if they don’t think they do. For example, a depressed person’s routine can look like this:

Wakes up and showers (if that) 11:00 AM
Eats food left over on the counter from last night and continues to avoid the dishes 12:00 AM
Gets back in bed and watches Netflix 1-5PM

Wakes up after receiving enough rest to conquer their priorities for the day while still making time for things that light up their spirit and adds value to others by respecting themselves and their boundaries.

Time management is key and consistency is the door to new opportunities.

This manifests differently in everyone’s life because everyone has 24 hours in a day but we all get to decide how we want to utilize it.

Remember, time is a resource.

Use it wisely…

Now go make that coffee and enjoy the day

Mermaid Model


There is nothing wrong with some good ol’ modeling but Applied Mermaid is so much more than that. It’s the ability to collaborate with community, give back to the environment, and help people undergo a transformational process through learning. In fact, I would view Applied Mermaid as being a model for the world. I AM an Applied Mermaid because I care about the Earth and I hold myself accountable for her.

Protect Your Brand & Voice: Your Website Keeps your Brand in Control. Your Blog is your Voice.


Whether it’s a shadow ban, conflict of interest, deemed inappropriate by an unknown standard, or simply not being up to par with fixing internal web issues, it seems that social media is not the golden standard in promoting your brand to grow your audience anymore.

Lets begin with this important statement:

Social Media is not a democracy run platform. The same protections you may get from the constitution may not apply normally to your posts, such as freedom of speech.
Essentially your post, product, and entire account can get removed from a platform with little to no reasoning justifiable to your standards or even that of the law.

Think of social media platforms such as instagram, twitter, and even etsy as the maritime law of the web. 

Comment if you fall into any of these categories: 

1. Working hours on quality posts and doing everything by the book just for instagram to block the hashtags you carefully selected and made sure were not banned. – How many hours are content creators losing in this arena? The price is hefty. Want to test this? Hashtag your own name in full (including your middle initial) and see if it pops up on recent posts. If it doesn’t pop up you are most likely shadowbanned.

2. Algorithms changing with little to no transparency, reducing your exposure to likes, comments, and following.

3. Platforms such as etsy suspending your account for being in minimal to no association with a banned account with little to no ability for you to protect your brand from falling victim to their scrutiny. 

3. Platforms such as Twitter deleting your account because you are posting their version of “FAKE NEWS” despite freedom of press and independent thinking.

4. Powerful company platforms such as Amazon wiping out your profits as one of the biggest online retailers in the world working with small business with minimal government regulation on their appeals process if something were to go awry.

This is all pretty scary stuff considering the direction of most businesses spreading brand awareness through web advertising, building online communities, followings, and marketing on social platforms that well, are not so social anymore given the regulations and controls that are simply not regulated or transparent enough for us to have a chance at keeping up. 

On the other hand when you own your domain name and decide who gets to host your channel you are much more in control of what happens to your brand, content, and ultimately run your own voice. 

With this comes great responsibility as what you post becomes live the moment you publish not just to a particular platform, but to the World Wide Web ready to make an impact for better or worse on those who fall upon it. 

Sure, your exposure starts off slow and you may want to learn about SEO and other ways to add traffic to your blog such as adding tags, pictures, videos, and overall optimizing the pages you create. But this channel you build from the ground up not only can be shared to social media channels you are already on, but it stays put with little to no input of anybody else primarily because – You control it.

So, what’s the verdict? If you do not maintain a public web presence with a blog or vlog, (by embedding video footage into posts, photos, and of course the sharpest knife in the book), then you will always be at the mercy of the mysterious algorithm, bots, and moderators whom may not have the same views as you. You risk being taken down or even more frustratingly not have any of your efforts met for the exposure you worked so hard to get because it was out of your control.

ABA Path: Welcome to The path to RBT📊 BCABA📉BCBA📈


With all the chaos that has been bestowed upon us at the very start of the 2021 New Year, I am thankful that 01-11-2021 launches the path to #rbt📊#bcaba📉#bcba📈

as I commence my graduate program in Applied Behavior Analysis at @floridatechonline

Lennon Grey 🐱 is happy about this too because she gets to cuddle alongside me as I complete my modules.

When I was checking out of a store the cashier gave me some kind yet starling words, “it’s crazy out there, be safe okay?”. Never in my life have I felt true uncertainty about my country’s future…

I had to asked myself, “would I move out of the U.S.A. if I see it taking a turn towards the worse? Then, I became even more thankful that the BACB is an international credentialing body.

During this pandemic we have also gotten to see the importance of quality online programs and just how efficiently necessary they have become to educate the next individuals who will utilize their higher learning skills to make an impact in their communities.

More than ever we need to give online programs the respect they deserve as they can oftentimes be even more rigorous as we witness the aptitude of self determination in the students that complete them. (But let’s leave this topic for another article, okay?)

Till then my friends, BE KIND! Coming together to shine our light bright enough to pathe a path of hope is our biggest strength.

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For more micro blogging posts follow me on my instagram @cherylpastrana


Dear Bilingual Therapist, even though you are not valued by the average Employer, I’m here to remind you how AWESOME you really are.


Attention job employers, if you are searching for a bilingual therapist or anyone to work for your company at that, then understand that you are asking for an additional skillset that not everyone has and merits additional compensation…and no, not just an additional dollar per hour.

Ask me to put a price on being able to target an entire new demographic for you to provide services to and profit off of by (my additional skillset) of being able to connect to an entirely new culture and build trust equals priceless…so it’s time to pay up and give the respect that bilingual therapists deserve. But oftentimes what really ends up happening is bilingual therapists are offered the same pay while providing more value to the company and working harder to provide more services to a larger pool of customers. How is it that we have allowed this to happen time and time again?

Is it our fault for not seeing our value and working for belittling companies or are we just trying to put food on the table? I believe it is about time to have a governing body that represents bilingual therapists and other employees being used instead of valued for their fluency to provide services in another language. As a matter of fact, people in the workforce have been known to be bullied or discriminated against just for even using their first or second language! From my own personal experience when I have asked for additional compensation for being bilingual most companies simply told me there isn’t none. Work for us or don’t. That seems to be the motto, when really what they’re saying is, “let exploit your additional skills and not pay you for that special service you bring to the playing field.”

Quite frankly, the only way this may change is if there is some kind of bilingual strike. But we all know that’s probably not going to happen, while very few bilingual therapists are going to deny a good job opportunity. There shouldn’t be an ultimatum to have to do so! Therefore, having a bilingual governing board may help in representing and even getting more bilingual therapists recognized so that we can begin to create a standard pay upgrade for bilingual therapists and employees as a whole.

Learning a new language doesn’t just entail proficiency to be able to reach more customers, it can quite literally make you a more diversified and better person because you are able to recognize and interact with people of different backgrounds. These are the type of leaders that we should strive to have in our companies.

So let’s start paying more attention to what we can offer our bilingual therapists, or us clever bilingual therapist may have to resort to creating a coalition of some sort to gain the respect that we earned and deserve.

ABA Beyond Autism: The Future of Applied Behavior Analysis is Bright!


So, you love the field of ABA therapy and all the data taking techniques that come with it but autism is not the only demographic you want to work with? Maybe you just don’t want to work with children all together or would like to diversify the clients you provide your services for. What are the steps you need to take in order to take your skillset and rebrand yourself as an ABA therapist? Hmmm…well, a big part of this responsibility is going to lie on the overall Applied Behavior Analysis community to advocate for the expansion of different areas of expertise ABA can be applied to and this begins with you.

You don’t have to feel bad about wanting more from your credentials. Working repetitively in any given field can be daunting. It may feel like you are not growing as a person. The best way to begin leveraging your skills to other areas of interest is to sit down and write a list of all the things you are good at or would like to learn more about. Essentially, you want to see what you are truly passionate about and are willing to take the time to see how you can “apply” the principles of ABA into that field.

Areas of ABA that are already expanding due to the advocacy of passionate ABA therapists in different fields are ABA Sports & Fitness, ABA in the fight against Obesity, ABA Life Coaching and Counseling, ABA targeting disruptive and destructive behaviors such as OCD and Addiction, ABA Animal Behavioral Patterns & Communication, ABA Criminology, ABA Consumerism, and ABA Organizational & Planning Skills, along with so many more untapped areas of expertise! The beauty of our profession is that it has been built on sound research and science so it’s not going anywhere.

Ultimately, we are able to analyze the data to allow us to create programs based on factual evidence to produce a change. The data we provide as skilled behaviorist is essentially our voice to provide back to those who can benefit from its conclusion in order to help them produce new behaviors that gain satisfactory results! Does that sound like something that is only useful to autism patients? The reality is that everyone can benefit from the the subfield science that stems from psychology better known as behavior analysis from a well trained clinician.

If you would like to learn more about how ABA is shifting into more areas to help save the world make sure to subscribe to this blog!


What is Structured Play
ABA and Voice (blog)

In therapy you may have come across your supervisor explaining that structured play is required in the plan of care for your patient or client. What this simply means is that the activity is driven by you, the therapist, in which it should lead to a specific learning outcome. Unstructured play means that the child can play as they please without any specific requirements involved in reaching any set goal, if no goal at all. Although all play promotes healthy brain functioning and activity, structured play produces intentional learning results.

For example, think of this…you are playing a video game that requires a controller, (think, super smash brothers). But you have absolutely no idea what any of the buttons do. Therefore, you continue playing by smashing into each and every one of those buttons as you get to see your favorite character swoop and fall, and kick, and fall down the playing scene to its impending death in which you see it hover backup and rejuvenate again leading to minimal consequences. Then, if you head over to Twitch (if you’re into that kind of stuff) and you turn on a super smash brothers tournament game, you can tell that the level of playing is strategic with every single movement of their fingers coding in a move on their controller in order to defeat their opponent.

Another example would be when we use the keyboard to type or text a message to our friends. A guilty pleasure that seems effortless, but requires quite a good amount of neural functioning and coordination. We have to encode a message that is intentional for the decoder to receive it’s intentional meaning. Even though we sometimes generate an unintentional secondary meaning taken out of context. That is why I’m giving you a friendly reminder to always read your messages twice before sending). CLICK (oh no!)…But, our brain isn’t just passing over each of these letters without having programmed ourselves to do this in such a way that it is now effortless to produce the results of a message waiting to be received.

Imagine if we could trick developing young brains to learn through play? Hence the term “structured play”. We do this through structured, fun tasks in which the goal of the therapist is for the learner to like the props or activity at hand enough in order to facilitate learning outcomes. Structured play allows us to teach skills that are crucial for cognitive functioning in which the learner practices mastery of them with the hopes of using essential cognitive processing skills to last a lifetime.



The first time I’ve ever heard about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) was from an amazing Speech Language Pathologist I had to opportunity to shadow. She didn’t seem to have the greatest things to share about the profession due to a “feeling” of ABA overstepping scope of practice. Therefore I became incredibly curious what this profession that was “competing” in working with children who have autism on communication goals was all about. She had referred to it much to the likes of “dog training”. Need I say more…

As a prospective SLP grad student at the time, I too, was concerned that the ABA field could limit my ability to work with kids who have autism and even went as far as to share the petition going around not allowing the ABA profession to bar SLP’s from working with this demographic by needing more training to be qualified. An SLP’s academic life is already full of vigorous preparation in which ABA qualification may seem minuscule in regards to getting children to produce speech and language goals. HOWEVER…

“Cheryl, whose side are you on anyways…Isn’t this a blog about ABA?” Yes, but as a dual licensed Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) and aspiring ABA therapist I have to share some light of my experience working in an ABA setting as an SLPA first.

An ABA therapist spends about 20+ hours a week with their patient and should be preparing their behavior goals to prepare them for a speech therapy session to be as productive as possible for communication learning outcomes. Otherwise, that time will essentially go down the drain due to defiance or unresponsiveness to the task at hand.

Now, from my observation working in a behavioral setting as a speech therapist, no matter how skilled of a therapist we are, learning how to control a tantrum from an autism child exhibiting extreme defiance such as biting, kicking, screaming, and overall dangerous behavior is simply not a class taught in the average communication and sciences disorders curriculum. An SLP’s curriculum is heavily focused on the anatomy, physiology, and technique of producing speech and language outcomes through early intervention and pathologies, often life saving in regards to swallowing or receiving a tracheostomy procedure in a hospital setting whereas the behavioral side in typically left to be learned independently.

But who’s to judge at which profession needs additional training? Should an ABA therapist even be aloud to aim at communication goals when there is an entire profession ready to provide this or is it quite necessary given the minimal amount of time an autism or developmental disability patient may spend with an SLP on these goals? It appears that we will see these two professionals needing to become allies quite quickly and begin to see each other as a supporting part of each other’s plan of care (POC) team.

The best gift I was given at my first contracted speech therapy job was the ability to have a full ABA staff to observe & learn techniques from to stabilize behavior and increase communication learning outcomes. Now, I am able to stop a tantrum from getting out of control and optimize the therapy in my session to produce true results! That’s true collaboration and the journey has just begun.

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Thanks for reading!