Austin is both a Level-1 Certified Soma Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) provider and a Certified Spelling to Communicate (S2C) practitioner. Austin has been working with special needs families since 2001 and began specializing in communication advancement coaching in 2015. Co-founder of ReClif, Austin woks on communication skills with non-speaking and non-reliable speaking autistics through letterboards, typing, and purposeful movements. Austin has been instrumental in assisting with the implementation of Reece’s vision and as co-founder brings much to ReClif with his love for not only Reece but this whole community.
During his senior year of high school in 2001, a friend of Austin introduced him to the Blankenship family. At the time, they were looking for additional therapists for their home-based ABA program for the then 6-year-old Reece. In order to support his future educational journey, Austin began working part time with Reece and started learning the complexities yet joys of the autism spectrum. Like many families with a special needs child, the Blankenships had tried everything under the sun to support and help Reece progress along his path in life. As a result, Austin was exposed to many different therapy modalities such as DIRFloortime, Son-Rise, Carbone, and most intensely the Lovaas ABA method. The Blankenship family also felt the need for Reece to still be a kid, so Austin spent time outside and they played, A LOT! Austin also accompanied Reece through parts of elementary, middle, and high school as he served as his personal school aid for nine years. This opportunity introduced Austin to a plethora of other students on the spectrum. Austin’s love for Reece and this community make him uniquely qualified to be in a leadership position at ReClif.
“After graduating from UGA with a degree in biology, I landed a job doing inside sales in the medical arena in 2011. Naturally, I kept in close contact with Reece and the Blankenships, who had become my second family! Fast-forward to November 2014 when Lou called to urge me to drop everything and watch Reece work with Elizabeth Vosseller from GKTC at the first Spelling to Communicate workshop in Atlanta. That emotional Sunday afternoon encounter as I witnessed Reece’s voice come out on the letterboard cemented my future career. For 15 years I had seen bits and pieces of Reece’s personality peek through his wayward body, but he finally had a way to purposefully communicate! I knew immediately that I had to learn this method to help other autistics learn to communicate, and this revelation made me realize I was not meant to be stuck in a cubicle making sales calls all day!
“Rejoining with the Blankenships to learn the basics of becoming a letterboard coach and becoming involved with Every Voice Matters Atlanta, I then started working with other families around metro Atlanta. I completed the Soma RPM (Rapid Prompting Method) Level 1 training in January of 2016 and continued my education in this arena, completing the Growing Kids Therapy Center, Spelling to Communicate S2C certification course in July 2019. I am so excited to be able to share this training with not only my clients and their families but other professionals as well. Since Reece has been able to communicate, he has been an all-star advocate for the methodology and has stated that he wants to be an entrepreneur by opening a community center. There was no way I was going to let him do this without me – side by side like we have been working together for so many years!”