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Meet Victoria Boone of The Hamilton Center in South Bay, San Fernando Valley, Mid Wilshire

Today we’d like to introduce you to Victoria Boone.

Victoria, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was blessed enough to stumble into what I do now. I thought I wanted to be a drug and alcohol counselor when I graduated college so I started working in admin at a luxury drug and alcohol facility in Malibu. Although I loved the clients and the work I was doing, I didn’t like the work environment itself. It got to the point where I started applying to psychology-related job positions anywhere and hold myself I would take the first job that hired me in order to try something new. Who knew that the first job would be the start of my future business! I had never met anyone with Autism or worked with this population but I was excited to see what would happen. After only three months, I knew this was what I wanted to do and I began pursuing my career as a Behavior Analyst. After I completed my studies and started working in the field as an analyst, I knew I wanted to do more on my own terms. That, for me, meant starting my very own behavior therapy company. With the support of my friends and family and a newly published book on behavior therapy for parents under my wing, I felt ready enough to step out on faith and launch The Hamilton Center. To this day, I have no regrets.

Has it been a smooth road?
This has definitely been a hectic and challenging road. Although the field of ABA (applied behavior analysis) is relatively new and rates of Autism and other special needs continue to increase, it was so hard getting my name out there. I had to wait 6-9 months to get approved through insurance to offer services and struggled to find parents to take a chance on me even though their alternative was waiting 1-2 years to work with other companies who couldn’t meet demand fast enough. One breakthrough was an email I got from a publisher letting me know that they liked the work I was trying to do and wanted me to write a parenting book for them. I jumped at the opportunity right away because I was eager to do what I could to spread the word about The Hamilton Center. Once the book got off the ground and I started landing clients, I had to wait for what seemed like an eternity to get paid by my clients’ insurance for services. There were so many moments where I contemplated going back to work for another company and closing shop because I didn’t know if I had what it took to weather the ups and downs, but I so thankful I kept true to my vision.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Hamilton Center is an agency that was founded with the purpose of providing exceptional evidence-based mental and behavioral services to children and teens with autism and other special needs. We offer individual and group behavior therapy both in the clinic, home and community settings to individuals of all ages. We work with kids across the spectrum and do our best to meet them where they are at. Some kids are working on saying their first word at the age of six, while others are learning skills to make and keep friends so that they can attend their first social outing. I am exceedingly proud of myself and my staff for the impact we get to make among the ethnic minority population. There are very few women of color in my position and I hear time and time again from families that they are grateful for the example I am privileged set for them and their children. We are unique in that we are proactive about the integration of the family culture and customs into the therapeutic process. Our dedication to cultural competence while maintaining the integrity of the field as a whole has been the reason why have been able to affect change in the lives of so many clients.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I would definitely say yes! Today, 1 in 59 children meet or will meet criteria for Autism. There is most definitely a shortage of providers in Los Angeles county and that gap continues to widen. However, there are even larger disparities in more rural cities across the nation. We need more services on a national scale and we need them now.

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