June 20, 2024

Thrive Insider

Exclusive stories of successful entrepreneurs

Interview with Sorah Stein, PhD, BCBA-D, CSE, CSES, Behavior Analyst and Owner of Partnership for Behavior Change

Today, we are interviewing Behavior Analyst and Certified Sexuality Educator, Sorah Stein, PhD, BCBA-D, CSE, CSES

Q1 – What made you want to pursue a career as a behavior analyst?

I started college thinking I was going to become a medical doctor. I learned in my first semester that I wasn’t likely to make friends with chemistry and calculus. That semester I also took a class in behavior analysis that I really enjoyed, with Dr. Bobby Newman, who was also my supervisor for a job — and who has been a long-time friend and mentor. I took everything he and a few of his friends taught, and here I am 30 years later. 

Q2 – Tell us about your experience with children with autism.

I first met an adult with autism when I was 8 years old. Back then it seemed so intriguing. In high school, I babysat for a family with 2 kids with autism, and I loved my time with them. In college, I was trained by Dr. Bobby Newman how to work with a toddler with autism, and I loved that, too. While I’ve worked a variety of clinical jobs throughout my career, I always found working with children with autism to be very rewarding. 

Q3 – You also have a specialty in sex education, particularly with those with developmental disabilities. Tell us more about that.

At the job I was working at in 2008, I ended up getting a few consultation requests to address problematic sexual behavior with adults with developmental disabilities. I discovered then that there were almost no resources upon which to draw. I approached my then supervisor and with his guidance ended up pursuing certification from the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists as a sexuality educator. I also later got certified as a sexuality educator supervisor. Most of my work in this area has been in speaking with and guiding parents and other clinicians, though I’ve done some specific work with learners, for example, around teaching them to close the bathroom door and other rules of privacy. 

Q4 – What are some of the stigmas that you have seen in society about those with developmental disabilities?

Oh goodness… they can’t learn, they’re all aggressive, they’re all hypersexual, they’re never going to have sex so they don’t need sex education, they’re dangerous around children, they should never become parents… and SO many, too many, more.

Thanks so much for your insights into the world of a behavior analyst and sex educator, Sorah Stein. For more of Sorah’s work, check out Partnership for Behavior Change.