People

We believe in friendly expertise.

BeChange was established in 2011 by Jenna Cunneen and Erika Ford with a vision to support families and educators in helping children to reach their full potential.

We believe the way we interact with our children strongly influences both the child’s development and their ability to learn. That’s why it’s so important to us that we always retain our sense of fun!

Our friendly and passionate team of BeChange professionals includes Behaviour Technicians, Board Certified Behaviour Analysts, and Psychologists.

 

Meet the team

Erika Ford 

“When we are no longer able to change a situation-we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Director, Owner, and Clinical Supervisor

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), Registered Psychologist, PGdip Applied Psychology, B.A. Psychology, MA Psychology

“I’ve had 22 years’ experience working with children, teens, their families and educators across home, school and community settings. I’ve had extensive experience in assessment and individualised programming for early intervention, primary learners and teens.  I am passionate about developing ways to provide practical, proven and hands on training to parents and educators. I have a particular interest in using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with children and teens to help them understand emotions, build flexibility and achieve goals. 

I love the diversity of my work day and the people I meet. Sometimes I am spinning, jumping on trampolines and blowing bubbles with a very little person. Other days I am supporting parents in surviving the supermarket experience, feeding their fussy eater or toilet training. On another occasion I will be collaborating with teachers in classrooms to support students with a variety of social and emotional needs.

Our job brings challenges, ongoing learning and problem solving. Parents are opening their doors and their lives and entrusting us with their most valued possessions (their children). Being a part of this process to support a young person, whanau, teacher or school is something I truly value and take pride in. Mutual honesty, respect and communication are key to building good relationships and good interventions.

Outside of BeChange, I love being mum to our two busy little boys and our fur baby Buddy. I love good food, the beach and a catch up with close friends.”

Jenna Cunneen

Life doesn’t get better by chance, it gets better by change.

Director, Owner, and Clinical Supervisor

Board Certified Behaviour Analyst, Registered Psychologist, MA Applied Psychology (ABA), PGDip Practical Psychology

“I’ve been working in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis for 15 years, in both special education and mainstream education settings, as well as in home and clinical settings. I also have experience in training therapists, designing professional development workshops for educators, and parent support and coaching. I have extensive experience in designing individualised interventions for people of all ages and needs.

I enjoy supporting educators in using cutting edge, evidence-based interventions that help them and their students find success. I love seeing parents succeed and becoming a confident partner in their child’s development and learning.

I have a special interest and experience in using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) to support children, adolescents and teenagers with a range of difficulties. I enjoy integrating ACT into every aspect of my practice including parent & teacher training too.

I believe everyone deserves to make their own choices. Teaching young people independence and the ability to communicate is a very important aspect of what I do.

The best thing about my job is that I get to effect meaningful change every day. I get to be part of life changing success stories. What I do is so hopeful. It is also fun.

I have had so many success stories with past and current families! Hundreds! Seeing parents’ faces when their child tells them they love them for the first time, when months before their child couldn’t communicate at all. Teaching children to play and teaching parents to play, as it brings so much joy to their lives! Teaching a child the skills to make friends. Seeing that child laugh and play with their new friends. It’s the ultimate tearjerker!”

Aimee Houston, Clinical Supervisor

I’m passionate about giving children the tools they need to succeed. Hearing parents excited about their children is what keeps me going to work each day.”

Board Certified Behaviour Analyst, Registered Psychologist, MSc (Hons), PgDipAppPsych (Distinction)

“During my undergraduate studies I was first introduced to Applied Behaviour Analysis and after my Bachelors I started working with children and adults with developmental disabilities. From here, I joined the postgraduate programme at the University of Auckland and started working with BeChange as a behaviour therapist. I was so passionate about helping children and their families achieve success that I completed my BCBA internship through BeChange and have stayed on supervising programmes ever since!”

“The best part of my job is when parents, teachers, or therapists get excited about a recent achievement, even if it’s an achievement of the parents. There are so many breakthrough stories. When a child says their first words, or when a child starts to show enjoyment in playing, those moments to me are huge.”

“The best advice I ever received was genuinely just to have fun. I go into sessions ready for a good time, and if I’m putting all my effort into ensuring the session is fun, I can walk away knowing that the child hopefully had a good time too.”

Shona Dunleavy, Assistant Supervisor, Registered Behaviour Technician

The best advice I have ever received is ‘you only get back what you put in’. Hard work pays off!”

BA Psychology (University College Dublin) Msc Investigative and Forensic Psychology (University of Liverpool).

After graduating from university I became an Applied Behaviour Analysis tutor in a preschool for children with developmental disorders in Dublin and worked here for one year. I then went on to work under the Department of Education for two years as a tutor delivering home based early intervention programmes to children with ASD, providing both behaviour and educational support.”

 The best thing about my job in BeChange is the amount of support I receive as a behaviour technician. Any assistance I require is readily available from supervisors when I need it so I feel very confident running programmes at all times.”

“I have seen how ABA can positively impact a person’s life, both in the home and in school environments, and I want to continue being a part of that life-changing process for more children and families.”

Anna Roquer Beni, Registered Behaviour Technician

“Ko te ahurei or te tamaiti arahia ō tātou mahi – Let the uniqueness of the child guide our work.”

Master of Psychology specialising in Clinical Psychology and Healthcare, Master of Psychogeriatric Treatment, focused on Dementia and Neuro-Psychological problems

“For the past 8 years I worked as a Psychologist in the field of cognitive stimulation, diagnosis and treatment of people who suffered from neuro-degenerative diseases and psychiatric disorders. I also participated in research for European projects focused on social inclusion and empowerment of mental health service users, increasing the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families. Since studying applied behavioural analysis, I have felt totally aligned to the techniques on the basis of the science of learning and behaviour.

I absolutely love my profession. I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with children; they are constantly learning, genuine, sincere, and transparent. As a behavioural technician, being able to understand their behaviours and how learning takes place in their little worlds it’s the most encouraging and exciting way to start impacting in their lives.

At BeChange I am glad to see children achieving their goals and overcome challenges. This is one of the better gifts that a therapist can have. I am amazed by the kindness and professionalism here as well and feel so thankful to be part of this family.

Outside of work I love nature and most outdoors activities; hiking, cycling, camping, walking on the sand and swimming. I’m an enthusiast of Mediterranean food and love spending time with my partner, family, and friends. I really enjoy learning about new cultures and customs, exploring the diversity and sharing different ways to understand our world.”

Stephanie Xie, Registered Behaviour Technician

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Master of Science (current), Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (ABA), Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Psychology and Education. 

“2019 will involve a lot of research for me and work alongside children that have a fussy and restrictive eating habits. My aim is to help them move towards a more balanced diet through the use of behavioural techniques. I also support adults with intellectual disabilities over the weekends, along with my work at BeChange. 

I do what I do because I love utilising and applying behavioural concepts to everyday life. I live for those moments of realisation for when our clients do or say something their parents or friends that they didn’t see coming.

One of the best things about working at BeChange is being surrounded by so many passionate yet humble intellectuals. They are down to earth and always willing to share what they know.

A recent success story I’ve had is seeing a child I work with start playing with their toys functionally. I was so pleased and couldn’t wait to share it with the rest of the team and of course, their parents. 

Outside of my job I love exercising (in the pool!) and trying out a new recipe.”

Rebecca Clarkson, Behaviour Technician

“I love working with children and always hope that I can make a difference in someone’s life.

Bachelor in Social Sciences with a double major in psychology and human development, and Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology.

“I started out as a volunteer with RTLB to gain some experience of working in the field. I am currently studying at the University of Waikato in pursuit of becoming a registered clinical psychologist. I have a real passion for working with children and am excited to work with the families in order to ensure a bright and positive future for the kids.”

“I think the best piece of advice I’ve ever received was to always be open to differences. Being in this position opens you up to interacting with people from all walks of life with all kinds of difficulties. It is extremely important not to judge. It is often within the first 10 minutes of the initial interaction whether or not they will make the decision of trusting and working with you.”

“I have a little one who is 18 months and it is so exciting seeing her personality start to form. It is so special seeing her go through all her firsts!”

Larissa Cameron, Behaviour Technician

The client breakthroughs make it all worth it.”

Graduated in 2016 with a BA majoring in Educational Psychology from Massey University. In 2019 I plan to study at Waikato University participating in the postgraduate Masters in Applied Psychology (Behaviour Analysis) programme.

“I love that in this job we are helping families to make a massive difference in their lives. I once read a quote that said something along the lines of, “choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. This is so true. Seeing the smiles and genuine happiness from our clients each day is so special.

“The client breakthroughs make it all worth it. I’ve been a part of huge behaviour changes including children who were once non-verbal and now speaking, asking for things they otherwise would have been frustrated about because they weren’t able to communicate. Seeing the social connections these children are now making is priceless. 

Outside of work, I love to bake, cook and am guilty of spending too much time scrolling social media!”

Kristina Spasovski, Clinical Supervisor

Watching clients develop strong and passionate interests has been a huge highlight for me.

Board Certified Behaviour Analyst, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Post Graduate Diploma in Science (Psychology) (Distinction), Master of Science in Psychology (First Class Honours), Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Psychology (Distinction), Registered Psychologist

 “I have been working with children and young adults with developmental disabilities for over 5 years. I began my journey as a behaviour therapists/Inclusion support supervisor in Australia. A move back to New Zealand meant I could pursue my post-graduate studies in Applied Behaviour Analysis.

I began working for BeChange in 2015 and have gained valuable experience in early intervention, working with older children aged 6-10, and parent and staff training. I have developed a strong interest in working with clients with Selective Mutism as well as teaching through Natural Environment Teaching. 

My favourite thing about my job at BeChange is that I get to play! A lot of our teaching, especially with children, is through play. We make sure our learning moments are fun and tailored to the things our clients like, which makes our sessions so much fun. 

One piece of advice I love is remember to take time for yourself every day, whether it’s a minute or an hour. You must take care of yourself, so you can take care of others.”

Alex Vergos, Senior Registered Behaviour Technician

“The smallest act of kindness can have the largest impact on someone who needs it. You never know when you are given a chance to change someone’s life, so approach all moments with love and kindness.

Bachelor of Science (Psychology) with Honours

“My work history includes being a senior facilitator at the Ernie Els Centre for Autism in South Africa for 5 years alongside teaching roles at Alberton Remedial School and working privately with families. Working for the Ernie Els foundation afforded me access to a huge number of families that were living with ASD. It also allowed me to work closely with leaders in the field and learn invaluable lessons from my colleagues and peers.

I do what I do because of the look on a parent’s face when their child calls them by their name for the first time, for example. A parents’ love and commitment is one of the strongest forces I have ever seen and seeing the joy a single uttered word brings to them is why I go to work every day. 

The best thing about BeChange is that it structured very differently to what I am used to, and I am thrilled to be spending so much time with the children so regularly.

A recent success story I’ve had was teaching a child to greet their grandparents in their local language. This small utterance meant that the child was included in the family activities and celebrations for the first time.

I absolutely love reading fantasy and science fiction novels, as well as cooking and baking. I also try to squeeze in some hiking and miniature doll house building!

Courtney White, Behaviour Technician

BeChange has been such a positive addition to my life and I am extremely thankful to be part of this amazing organisation.”

Master of Education (Current), focusing on Mental Health and Well-being, and Education Policy, Bachelor of Arts, (Psychology and Education).
 
“I have worked as a swimming tutor for children with Autism for over four years and I loved the creativity and mental flexibility that this work required. Through this work I was motivated to learn more about how we can better support those with developmental disorders and/or mental health issues in an educational setting. I feel as though I have been called to contribute to this area because of my passion for young people and experiences managing mental health issues.
 
The best thing about my job at BeChange is seeing the progress of our clients and continually learning about the amazing affects of ABA. It is incredible to be a part of these life changing experiences and work with an amazing group of people who are so passionate about what they do.
 
Outside of work I love painting, drawing, being with nature, and spending time with people I love.”
Wendy Meng, Registered Behaviour Technician

Do what makes you happy. Be with who makes you smile. Laugh as much as you breathe. Love as long as you live.”

Master of Applied Psychology, Postgraduate Diploma, Bachelor of Social Sciences

“As part of my ABA training I completed an internship as a behaviour therapist at the University of Waikato. Since then I have worked with autistic children through the Family Autism Support Trust as a behaviour home support worker, using appropriate ABA techniques under the guidance and supervision of a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst and Registered Psychologist. I also worked at Fairfield Intermediate School and with Autism NZ using appropriate ABA techniques to handle challenging behaviours.

I love this work because I am passionate about improving others’ happiness by helping out and experiencing those magic moments such as when a nonverbal child calls my name for the first time.  

Working at BeChange is challenging and rewarding. It has provided more opportunities for me to learn and develop. The BeChange team are so supportive, humble, and talented, which makes me feel so lucky that I can be a part of the team.

A recent client success story was teaching personal space through a hula hoop game. The client’s family was so pleased to see that the client now understood the idea of personal space.

I enjoy reading and music in my downtime to help me both learn new things as well as re-balance from the workday. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends.”

Michelle Chan, Behaviour Technician

If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (ABA) (Current), Bachelor of Science with a double major in Psychology and Biological Sciences.

“I am currently completing the ABA programme at Auckland University. I love the principles of ABA and how it can positively impact a person’s life.

I do what I do because I am passionate about helping children to reach their full potential and helping them to make a significant differences in their lives through ABA.

The best thing about my job at BeChange is that I get to be part of this life-changing process for so many people and being a member of such a great team where all the intellectuals are so full of passion.

A recent success story I’ve had is seeing a child I work with start managing eye contact.

Outside of my job, I love to bake and love spending time with family and friends.”

Rachel Boyd, Behaviour Technician

Adults are just outdated children… but a person’s a person no matter how small.”

Bachelor of Science (Psychology) current, Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology) (Education) current

“My passion is helping and seeing others succeed. Over the last few years I have been working with two young children which has been amazing to see them develop and grow – they definitely keeps me on my toes! I also volunteer at AnxietyNZ, an organisation committed to being the place where individuals can turn to when they feel they have nowhere else. I have been trained to take calls for individuals experiencing anxiety or extreme crisis and walk them through such difficult times. I also have experience in working with adults with mental and/or physical disabilities, aiding them in completing not only day to day task but in setting and achieving long term goals.  

Through each of these and by working with BeChange, I am able to fulfil my passion every day. I love people at every stage and every age. 

The best thing about working at BeChange is the difference we can make in not only our clients’ lives but their friends and family. Every individual has such potential and getting to help them reach their potential and experience the benefits of it is incredible. It is magical when a family isn’t sure if their loved one will ever reach a goal and we get there and go beyond. The looks of wonder and joy make it all worthwhile. Every day I learn something new from clients and an amazing team of like-minded people who are there to support every step of the way.

I was once told every person is on a journey. That journey may look different for some, they may take a bumpier road or one less travelled, but this does not mean that they hold any less worth than everyone else. We must celebrate uniqueness and understand that there are so many ways of living and enjoying life. Just like those that we help at BeChange have goals, hopes, and dreams that can be achieved, and we’re here to get them there.

Aside from BeChange I love to be outside! Camping, hiking, sailing or swimming – anything in nature and I’m there! Stemming from this, I am also super passionate about our earth and how I can live my life in the most eco-friendly way possible. My baby is my vege-garden, complete with a worm farm and a compost to boot. I love exploring our world, whether this be traveling (when I can!), cooking new dishes, and learning about others’ cultures, languages, and ways of life.”