Morgan Cherish is a Speech Language Pathologist (CCC-SLP) and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who specializes in developing language-focused programs based on the science of applied behavior analysis for children with autism, Down syndrome, and other developmental disabilities. Because of her dual certification, she offers a unique service in which language is targeted through thorough analysis of each child’s skills and data based decisions.
Seeing a critical need for quality applied behavior analysis and speech and language services for children with autism and other developmental disabilities worldwide (in some areas of the world there are few or no certified and qualified board certified behavior analysts and speech language pathologists), she founded her own company, Frontier ABA, in 1993 and began filling that need. Morgan provides consultation to expatriate families worldwide.
While her work is her real passion, she also loves hiking, swimming, running, yoga, and all types of things that get her moving. From Morgan, “Movement keeps me sane, happy and productive.”
Why we love Morgan
The “we” here is the members of Cowork Frederick. Just in the past week, unsolicited comments included “Morgan is one of the most authentic people I know.”, “She’s has a truly good heart.”, and “I don’t know why, but just feel so comfortable talking to her.” Morgan has that rare skill of being able to be authentic while still being genuinely kind. She’s gracious, considerate of others, and always willing to help. Several of the mom’s here have been giving Morgan hand-me-down baby stuff and each exchange of gratitude and gift is a thing of beauty. Morgan makes even the smallest thing feel like it’s big.
Q&A with Morgan
How did you get into this line of work?
I studied speech pathology all through college and graduate school, but worked on ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) home programs for children with autism as a side job. I did not know a lot about autism at the time, but fell in love with the children I worked with and inspired by the science-based, results driven approach ABA offered. I decided that I wanted to pursue a career and ABA and drop out of graduate school. My parents did not love that idea, so instead, I stuck it out and got my masters in speech and ultimately became dually certified as a BCBA so I could practice ABA as well. In hindsight I am so grateful I pursued both disciplines as I can offer a unique services to families that is all encompassing across many different skill areas.
What inspires you and keeps you going?
The concrete results in skill acquisition that I observe in the children I work with is the most motivating part of this job! Seeing my children become more independent and learning to advocate for themselves is incredible. Teaching a child to say what they mean vs. just follow instructions from adults is extremely fulfilling.
Cowork Frederick members tend to be a little unconventional. How does that apply to you?
Overall, in my business I focus on running high quality programs for a small number of clients. BCBAs are often overworked and their caseloads are unreasonably large. I purposefully keep my client list small so that I can speak with almost all of my clients on a daily basis, managing programs and answering questions so problems can get resolved quickly.
Which of the guiding values defined by Cowork Frederick members speaks to you?
TENACITY. There are a lot of pseudo-scientific interventions being hawked to parents in the world of autism. I do my best to urge parents to pursue evidence based approaches and to understand that there is no magic pill that will make autism go away. Making progress in speech, language, behavior, etc requires tenacity from parents, the instructors working with the child, and of course the child….implementing ABA programs is effortful for everyone but is without a doubt worth the hard work to give the child the maximum number of skills to live independently and happily!
Any tips for someone wanting to pursue a similar career?
I think the best advice I can give to someone who is interested in this field is to find a mentor who does exactly what you want to do and get tons of supervision from that person. I am so lucky to have had the best mentors throughout my career and I truly attribute my competence to those individuals.
Why Cowork Frederick?
Joining Cowork Frederick has been such a great experience for me so far! I was in a rut at home working all through covid….being stuck in the house every day and not getting to interact with others definitely makes the days less enjoyable…It is so refreshing to go into Cowork and be surrounded by interesting and fun people! Not to mention the non-stop flow of baby gifts that I have been supplied every time I arrive :).