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

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

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!”

Sara Mayne-McClay, Clinical Supervisor

Cookie cutter formulas may work on paper but each person is unique and has distinct needs.

Board Certified Behaviour Analyst, Licensed Behaviour Analyst (Hawaii State), Master of Science (Psychology) 

“Over the past decade I have worked within the field of ABA with individuals and their families in the home, clinic, school, and community settings both in Hawaii, and now in New Zealand. I am especially passionate about early intervention, emerging communication skills, and increasing independence with daily living tasks.

The joy and relief families experience when challenging behaviours decrease and new skills are learned is incredibly rewarding and keeps me going.

At BeChange I am often able to play at work and truly focus on the immediate needs of the family.

I have been fortunate to witness many successes. From first words, to first dates, and from toilet training, to job training. I feel privileged for being able to share in these amazing moments.

In my free time I like to hike, crochet, read, cross stitch, run, and relax at the beach.”

Alex Vergos, Senior RBT & Service Delivery Manager

“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!

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.”