Pro-ABA Autistic Advocates 

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Antonio Aponte

Co-Creator of NTICI App, 

Marketing Specialist &
Autistic Advocate
 

Antonio “Tony” Aponte has practiced photography since he was roughly eight years old, a passion that continued throughout his life including, but not limited to, elementary school photography contests, his middle school yearbook committee, and event photography. He has always believed every picture tells a story, a belief that has stayed with him as, after long periods of experimenting with various forms of storytelling, he decided to pursue digital media in his college years. 

In the years since, he has applied his knowledge and experience in photography, videography, and editing in a variety of roles, including filming and editing testimonials, training videos, and local short films. He also has experience with post-production editing, including lighting and color correction. One of his proudest accomplishments was filming and editing a vignette on music therapy for WEDU’s Arts Plus program. Much of his work has been featured on social media for the clients he has worked for, including a non-profit job training program and a special needs summer camp, both of which gave him hands-on experience working with children and young adults with special needs.

Melissa Murphy

BCBA & Autistic Advocate

Melissa’s childhood was different than other childhoods as her father was in the military. Melissa was born in the United States. However, her family moved overseas to Spain and Okinawa when she was a young child. Upon her father’s retirement, Melissa moved to Ohio where her family is from. Throughout life, social and communication skills have been difficult. This has caused many obstacles that typical individuals do not face. Melissa was not correctly diagnosed as a young adolescent. It was not until her second child Gabriella was born and a divorce that she realized she needed a correct diagnosis and interventions. After consulting many psychiatrists and doctors, she was diagnosed with autism and other comorbid diagnoses.  

 

During this time, she and her husband Justin got a puppy named Mickey. During an episode, Mickey demonstrated his ability to complete certain tasks that allowed Melissa to function in society. He completed a service dog program and currently assists Melissa.  

 

Despite the many adversities, she has overcome many obstacles including earning her M.A.in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of West Florida. She previously worked in the public and private educational system as a teacher for Emotionally Behavioral Disturbed K-5 children, and children with autism spectrum disorder. She has worked for several different Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy companies as both a RBT and Behavior Analyst providing behavior analytic services in clinic, schools, community, and private homes for children between the ages of two through 12.  

 

Melissa continues to dedicate her time to researching Applied Behavior Analysis and using her own experiences to write and implement effective interventions for the children on her case load. Her main areas of interest are early intervention including functional communication training, practical functional assessments, toilet training, feeding, providing high quality supervision, and caregiver training.  

 

Melissa is passionate about making an impact on the families she encounters and sharing her experiences to make a positive difference in the lives of the families she serves. 

 

Melissa hopes in the near future to pursue her Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis to continue her professional growth and development.  

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Joshua Kingston

BCBA & Autistic Advocate  

Joshua Kingston has worked in Applied Behavior Analysis for over a decade. He began as a Behavior Interventionist in 2011, was promoted to Lead Interventionist in 2013, became a BCBA in 2016, became a Safety Care Instructor in 2017, and was promoted to Assistant Director in 2018. His primary focus is on aggressive and high-crisis behaviors. He has provided both in-home and center-based care, has held courses in crisis management for RBTs and BCBAs, and has collaborated with Child Protective Services to develop training sessions in mandatory reporting. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Development from Ashford University in 2011 and his Master’s Degree in Psychology with a focus in ABA from Kaplan University in 2015.


Being autistic himself, Josh brings a deeply personal understanding of the barriers standing in the way of those on the spectrum and makes every effort to minimize the effects of said barriers on his clients. Josh is also openly transgender and strives to support diversity and inclusion with respect to both his colleagues and his clients.

Michelle Vinokurov

RBT, Blogger & Autistic Advocate 

Michelle was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 and was nonverbal until the age of 6. She received ABA therapy until she was 8 years old. Today, Michelle is a highly dedicated paraprofessional and blogger with experiences in elementary and special education.

 

Currently, Michelle is pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) through Purdue University Global. Michelle is committed to creating an impact on the lives of individuals with autism. She is excited to join Full Spectrum ABA and A.E Wood Foundation as a blogger and lend her expertise in the High Support ABA Treatment Team.

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Erica Lighter

RBT & Autistic Advocate

Erica Lighter is a university student who was diagnosed with autism at the age of four. Fortunately, her parents were aware that Erica needed support from a young age, and obtained this support for their daughter at the age of two. This included ABA therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. These supports helped Erica overcome her echolalia. Moreover, Erica also struggled with selective mutism all throughout elementary school, which she eventually overcame with the use of familial support, a rewards system, and medical help. Due to her personal experiences, Erica is deeply appreciative of the importance of helping children with autism from a young age, as well as educating and supporting their families.

 

Erica is currently studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Behavior Analysis at Capilano University, with the goal of pursuing her Board Certification as an Assistant Behavior Analyst. Erica is an ardent lover of education, dedicating much of her time to her studies, self-improvement, and the betterment of her skills. She obtained a Special Care Counselling degree from Vanier College, in Montreal, before she started university.

 

What inspired her to pursue her university program was the time she spent in Central America, working with a child with autism while she lived there and volunteered at a school. Since then, Erica has made it a point to work with and support students with various learning disabilities and mental health challenges, such as students who are blind, deaf, or have mobility challenges. Because of her personal, volunteer, and work experiences, Erica is a passionate supporter of self-advocacy for individuals with disabilities. Erica is looking forward to joining Full Spectrum ABA and the A.E. Wood Foundation, and working with the wonderful ABA treatment team for individuals who need high levels of support. 

 

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Robert Couch

RBT & Autistic Advocate

Robert Couch was diagnosed with a severe case of autism spectrum disorder at the age of 4 and was nonverbal until the age of five. Robert struggled specifically with a cognitive developmental delay, communication changes, and socialization skills. He received speech therapy for 10 years and occupational therapy for 15 years. Due to the lack of availability of ABA therapy at the time, the only ABA therapy available to Robert was information passed along to his parents at an Autism support group about Discrete Trial Training (DTT) by an ABA speaker. Robert spent a lifetime overcoming the challenges ASD placed upon him, going from daily therapy sessions in his early childhood to weekly therapy sessions in his mid-childhood and early adolescence.

 

In high school Robert went from a 2.7 GPA the first semester of his freshman year to a 3.5 GPA his final senior semester. During this time Robert Couch joined the Academy of Finance and Business his sophomore year, was Vice President of his school’s chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America, along with being a part of the program Junior Achievements. Since then, Robert has gone on to be inducted into Phi Theta Kappa at Eastern Florida State College, held multiple jobs while earning his undergraduate, earned his Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration from the University of Central Florida, and is currently transitioning into the world of ABA by working as a Registered Behavioral Technician and Autistic Advocate for Full Spectrum ABA. Robert has his sights set on enrolling at Ball State University in the coming fall semester to earn his master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with a specialization in Autism.

 

Dory Muller

RBT & Autistic Advocate

Growing up, Dory Muller was formally diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and did not speak until the age of 5 when he became fluent in three languages. He received special education services accompanied with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and speech therapy until middle school where he was later identified gifted, resulting in academic, behavioral, and social challenges until his parents thankfully advocated for focus on his abilities versus deficits. These differentiated supports attempted to help Dory overcome these challenges and he did not want similar learners to experience those challenges.

 

Later in life, Dory was formally diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, which set the stage for launching his advocacy efforts to ensure twice exceptional (2e) learners, with or without learning disabilities, receive equity in learning in hopes to remove the systemic barriers when working with 2e learners. His academic and professional experience spans areas of instructional design and assessment/evaluation, teaching K-8 and collegiate students, and working with children with autism and learning disabilities.

 

Dory is a dedicated Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) and believes ABA is another solution to remove educational barriers and to bring forth neurodiverse personalities in a neurotypical world. 

 

Dory Muller previously earned his Master of Science (MS) in Higher Education at Capella University and is currently pursuing his Master of Arts (MA) in Special Education with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of West Florida. His goal is to obtain his board certification as a behavior analyst (BCBA) and looks forward to channeling his background at Full Spectrum ABA to advocate for learners with a myriad of learning and developmental disabilities in hopes to educate parents and the public about the positives of ABA.

 

Dory is also a proud parent of an autistic child, who is raised with his wonderful and supporting husband, and openly shares his story with other families to show that anything is possible. 

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Nicholas Dester

Marketing Assistant &

Autistic Advocate

Nicholas was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 and was non-verbal until the age of 7. Nicholas was a client of FSBA several years ago and now an adult, he has blossomed as a leader amongst his peers.

 

Nick will be working with Full Spectrum ABA full-time over summer in our marketing & video editing department, and then as part of our OJT (On-Job Training) program for young adults on the spectrum once his schooling resumes.

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Jeremy Fowler

RBT & Autistic Advocate

Jeremy Fowler is a 23-year-old that has been working for Full Spectrum since November of 2021. After receiving his AA and AS in Digital Media, Jeremy decided he wanted to take a gap year before obtaining his BA to work with children with disabilities. This was because the many therapists Jeremy had growing up made a strong impact on his life, and he wanted to do the same for other children with disabilities.

 

Beginning at age 4, Jeremy received occupational, physical, speech, and eye therapy. At the age of 5, ABA was an at-home supplement to his other therapies. The ABA focus was sensory integration, and he improved quickly in this area with the help of ABA. Today, Jeremy works diligently as an RBT to make sure ­the children he works with have an equal chance of success and looks forward to becoming more knowledgeable in the field. 

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Mark Fleming

Autistic Advocate

Mark Fleming is an autistic entrepreneur who owns and runs a fitness studio in Tampa called Equally Fit where he provides exercise training to those with disabilities and specializes in working with autistic individuals. He obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Exercise Science from The University of Alabama, where he also joined Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc. and served as the chapters Vice President of Internal Affairs and Membership Educator.

 

He has spent time working in Applied Behavior Analysis and has coached Special Olympics, where his athletes all won gold at the state competition level. He has been featured on CNN.com, the University of Alabama Alumni Magazine, various websites and other magazines as well as on every local news channel in Tampa. He currently serves on the Autism Friendly Tampa Advisory Board, the constituency board for C.A.R.D-USF, and the executive board for the A E Wood Foundation. 

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