Mary Rettinhouse is the Autism Clinical Specialist for Alta California Regional Center (ACRC). She is one of ACRC’s clinical team members and has been with the agency since 2010. Mary is a valuable employee for ACRC; providing knowledge and support not only to clients and staff, but also to regional center service providers and the community.
Mary has almost two decades of experience in the developmental disabilities services field. Her educational background is in Psychology with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis. In 2005, Mary graduated from California State University, Sacramento (Sac State) with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a certificate in ABA. At the time, Sac State was one of only three institutions in California offering a certificate in ABA. During her undergraduate program, she obtained an internship with a local in-home ABA service provider agency in 2004. During her internship, she provided in home ABA services to children with Autism and this is where her interest in the field turned into a true passion. She found that helping children learn to talk, gain independence with self-care tasks and make friendships would be far more rewarding than she could imagine. Mary would eventually go on to achieve employment with this ABA agency and was ultimately promoted to supervisory role as a Behavior Consultant.
Mary continued to pursue her education and knowledge and in 2007, she received Board Certification for ABA. She also completed a Masters of Science in Psychology program through Cal Coast University. Mary feels that continued education is critical to staying up to date with how to best serve the ID/DD population and has also become a PEERS (social skills training program) certified trainer as well as a certified Professional Assault Crisis Training (Pro-ACT) Instructor.
Mary transitioned to ACRC in 2010 as a Behavior Analyst. Then, in 2017 she became the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Clinical Specialist for ACRC. While there are many facets to the role of the ASD Clinical Specialist, she shared that the best part of her job is when she sees the outcome of the hard work and effort it takes for a client who was struggling and unhappy to being satisfied and accomplished in the goals they set. Mary enjoys consulting with staff to provide insight and advice to help clients with an ASD diagnosis receive the best outcome, along with consulting with clients and their circles of support to provide practical strategies they can implement for the benefit of the client. Additionally, Mary provides ACRC vendors and the community support through outreach and training to provide general guidance on Autism and Evidence-Based Practice for both skills teaching and behavior management.
Autism Awareness Month, also known as Autism Acceptance Month, is important for Mary because it gives a unique and talented group of people the opportunity to shine, and for others to acknowledge and appreciate their strengths and differences. Acceptance also means education, and for those who are unfamiliar with Autism, this month can provide an opportunity to learn, creating a greater capacity for understanding. Mary shares that she believes it is through this understanding that we can all create a more supportive and inclusive community for all Autistic individuals.