Tanya Smith - Behavioral Specialist

Tanya Smith – Staff Spotlight and Highlight

Meet Tanya Smith, In Flight’s Behavioral Specialist II! Tanya is a vital member of our In Flight team, ensuring the health and safety of those we support.

Why did you join In Flight?

After interviewing with In Flight, I knew I found my perfect team. I felt welcomed from the beginning and I knew it would be a great fit. Everyone seemed very positive an accepting. I felt like I could make a difference and use my creativity to support our folks.

What do you do at In Flight?

I’m a behavior specialist on the clinical team. I write behavior plans, train staff, and, most importantly, work closely with our individuals to ensure that they have appropriate supports. My favorite part is when they achieve a goal on their way to greater independence. Every day is a little different, which is something I enjoy. Typically, I start the day responding to emails and scheduling or attending any meetings. I also check behavior data and documentation. My favorite part is going into the programs.

How did you get into this field?

I originally started out in teaching over 10 years ago. I originally worked with typically developing students as a substitute teacher, but a friend recommended me for a position as an adjunct instructor at a community college. As an adjunct, I taught what was called “remedial” reading and writing classes. My experience with those students was probably the turning point in what I wanted to do as a career. I worked with many students that had few supports in high school, but all the drive to succeed in college. I realized that I wanted to be a person who could provide those supports, which led me to achieve an Masters in Special Education. Along the way, I worked in direct care roles, service coordination, and even early intervention which gave me a lot of insight into the field as a whole

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love our guys! It’s really rewarding to see our folks smash their goals, make progress, and have new experiences. I’m really proud of how far some of the people we support have come.

Has In Flight helped you towards your professional goals? How?

In Flight has definitely been supportive of my professional goals. Last year, I received a grant to take two professional development classes on relationships at YAI. Those classes were significant because our individuals have the same rights as those outside of residential programs, which includes being able to have relationships with who they choose, be it platonic, romantic, or something else. The clinical department has been working to support our folks through sexuality classes, which includes safety, abuse prevention, and social skills. In Flight also provides RBT supervision, which allows me to maintain my certification to provide RBT services. And more generally, everyone is supportive of my goals and aspirations. I really enjoy visiting the people we support in their residences, since I feel like it gives me the change to build relationships and work with them to meet their goals. I also check in with staff, which is really helpful for developing ways to support people.

Learn how In Flight, Inc. can empower you while you empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities like Tanya Smith!