Dr. Deirdre Walker Abernathy, Ph. D., BCBA, LBA

Dr. Abernathy is a practicing behavior analyst and is the founder and owner of Establishing Interactions LLC, a private practice. Dr. Abernathy works with children aged 12 months to 12 years and currently has over 18 years of experience working with children with a wide range of language, social, emotional, and behavioral needs. Dr. Abernathy has a Ph. D. in Education in Counseling. Her doctoral program’s accreditation was by CACREP, which is the most desirable and the most difficult accreditation to obtain in the field. Her doctoral work was focused on using behavior analytic techniques and cognitive-behavioral therapy in counseling practice and research. Her dissertation, which focused on using behavior analytic techniques to teach counselors counseling skills, published by ProQuest, is titled A Behavioral Analysis of Counselor Supervision: A Multiple Baseline Design. She received her Master’s in Education in Counseling from the University of Missouri—St. Louis as well as her B.A. in Psychology and Certificate in Trauma Studies from the University of Missouri--St. Louis in conjunction with Pierre Laclede Honors College, Summa cum Laude. She also has completed graduate work in behavior analysis and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certified by the BACB and Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA) in Missouri. She also has taught the graduate courses for Group Therapy and Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy at the University of Missouri—St. Louis. She currently also guest lectures for different counseling courses throughout the academic year.

Furthermore, Dr. Abernathy has experience in the diagnosis and/or treatment of children and adolescents with social, emotional, communication, and behavioral challenges including, but not limited to ADHD, ASD/Asperger’s/Autism, social (pragmatic) communication disorder, apraxia, OCD and other anxiety disorders, executive functioning skills, oppositional defiant disorder, combined behavioral and emotional difficulties, and other communication difficulties. Dr. Abernathy’s clinical interests and specializations within her practice are executive functioning skills (the planning and organization of behavioral actions and decision-making skills such as with ASD and ADHD) and applied verbal behavior, which includes working with children who are having difficulty reaching language milestones, or have seemed to reach a plateau in their language development. She also has experience teaching initial language skills to children who are nonverbal or minimally verbal, or who have not progressed to their capability or in their development in this area. She completed her initial behavior analysis coursework in New York directly under Dr. Vincent Carbone, the founder of the Carbone Clinic, where she learned the techniques for specializing in Applied Verbal Behavior, or how to emphasize spoken language into every facet of an ABA program.