Since co-founding Autism Spectrum Therapies in 1997, Ronit Molko and her team have been singularly focused as compassionate advocates for individuals and their families navigating the challenges of autism.
The challenges for this population are numerous, and as co-CEO and chief development officer, Molko’s mission is to help individuals with autism achieve their full potential. Through her efforts, she’s actively changing the dialogue on autism by working with school districts to provide support and training to school personnel, partnering with local regional centers that provide in-home programs and working privately with families.
Molko recognizes that innovation is critical in this realm, and in every endeavor, she and her team look to develop programs and service offerings that stretch the boundaries into new territories and new thinking.
Because of this, Molko was named one of 2011 Smart Leader honorees by Smart Business, ThinkASG, IBM and Union Bank for her above-and-beyond work in the field. We asked her how she overcomes challenges, innovates and gives back.
Give us an example of a business challenge you and/or your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.
The current financial situation in the state of California presents providers of autism therapy services with significant challenges as they receive funding through the state’s regional center system and the local school districts. We have not allowed this financial crisis to compromise the delivery of our clinical services to our clients.
The organization is responding to this challenge by structuring our clinical service model to provide the same high-quality interventions to our clients in accordance with the goals that we set for each individual. AST is also addressing the challenge by increasing our services to private insurance companies, military beneficiaries and other payors, and by adding new and innovative services.
You mention innovation. In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does AST employ innovation to be on the leading edge?
As a board-certified behavior analyst and licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of children with autism, I am focused on the development of innovative programs and new service offerings for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities across the lifespan. We utilize the latest applied behavior analysis research and tools to develop treatment plans, which use the most effective and innovative strategies to promote child development and the acquisition of communication, social, play and self-help skills.
How do you make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?
From its inception, Autism Spectrum Therapies has been a compassionate advocate for individuals and their families navigating the challenges of autism. Our mission is to help individuals with autism achieve their full potential. At AST, we have always believed that the best results are achieved with family-focused programs and hands-on parental involvement grounded in applied behavior analysis. Our autism therapy programs are based on scientifically proven methods designed to develop skills within developmentally appropriate play activities and natural family routines. As the child grows, our program expands to incorporate other play and social opportunities available at school and in the wider community.
As the rates of autism and the need for high-quality autism service have increased, we have responded by expanding our service area and service offerings to meet the needs of our clients. Today, we are one of the largest providers of autism therapy in California and employ 475 highly qualified and well-trained staff members.
How to reach: Autism Spectrum Therapies, www.autismtherapies.com.