In Their Own Words - Acorn Health Employee Spotlight on Suzanne Threet, M.A., BCBA - Acorn Health

September 6, 2023

In Their Own Words – Acorn Health Employee Spotlight on Suzanne Threet, M.A., BCBA

It’s becoming more common for people to consider a new career field later in life. After a decade or two in one industry, people are beginning a second act, many times inspired by their own life experience. Suzanne Threet is one of those people.

Suzanne decided after her youngest child went to school that she wanted to pursue a career in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). After seeing firsthand how ABA impacted her friend’s child, she began coursework to pursue her master’s degree.

Suzanne shared with us in her own words what made her pursue a career in ABA, and how she’s been supported and encouraged in her path since joining Acorn Health. 

What’s your role at Acorn Health?

I am an ABA Supervisor in Michigan and have the privilege of working directly with our learners and their families every day.

What sparked your initial interest in working in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

I knew I was ready to pursue a master’s degree, but I was unsure exactly what field to pursue. I had always volunteered in my children’s classes and also worked as a substitute teacher. Through those experiences I found I often gravitated toward working with kids with learning disabilities and English as a Second Language learners. At the time my friend had a son in ABA therapy services and when I saw the impact that ABA had on my friend’s child, my interest was heightened. 

I started as a behavior technician at Acorn Health in February 2020 and I knew I’d made the right choice.I jumped in with both feet, and I had a great mentor who really inspired me to keep going. I decided to attend Florida Institute of Technology and started my coursework right before I passed my Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) exam. I earned the RBT certification in September of 2020, and earned my master’s degree in Applied Behavior Practice from the Florida Institute of Technology in August of 2022. I’m proud to say I pursued and passed my Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam in February 2023.

What new research or ABA therapy technique do you find particularly interesting/promising?

Practical functional assessments (PFA), which inform skill-based treatment (SBT), is an exceptionally effective and an emerging technique that I’ve been really passionate about since I started working in ABA therapy. It’s exciting because it allows the therapist to be the person delivering positive news. Instead of telling someone they have to do something, it is an opportunity to help the learner gain tolerance for little wins over time. Because SBT transfers from learning specific tasks to performing everyday activities like brushing their teeth, it can truly impact a family’s life in a positive and lasting way.

What’s something you’d want parents to know about ABA therapy?

In my experience, I think many families begin ABA therapy while still processing the array of emotions that can accompany an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. Many families are still wrapping their heads around what life is going to look like and trying to better understand their child’s needs. Once a learner is enrolled in ABA therapy, it’s common for parents to have specific initial expectations, such as wanting their child to speak or to perform certain tasks independently. While  those are important goals to set, we want to remind parents and caregivers that progress takes time and ABA therapy treatment plans are processes. I would like to help parents understand that when we work collaboratively, and when they transfer learned therapy techniques to their home environment, that process progresses better. I always like to be optimistic when I work with families and help them celebrate all successes, big or small.

What has your career path been like at Acorn Health? How have you been able to grow and advance in your career? 

I started my career in ABA later in life, and because of that, I had already acquired important life experiences that I believe have made me successful at Acorn Health. I have progressed in a short time from RBT to BCBA, and I was able to use that prior life experience to learn and grow quickly. I began right as the pandemic was shutting down businesses and we started to see learners exclusively in their homes and/or through telehealth. It was a challenging time to begin my career, but we saw the bright sides, and in many ways, my job at Acorn Health provided glimmers of hope and happiness during the pandemic. I’ve had many supportive supervisors and leaders at Acorn Health who gave me the confidence to go for it, and to ask questions. I am truly appreciative for the opportunities I was given then and now. 

How do the learners you work with every day inspire you?

Through the sometimes hard and interfering behavior, there is a light in their eyes that undeniably radiates hope. I am proud when my learners trust me to be there for them through their good days and their hard days. We develop a meaningful relationship that I am honored to have with them and their families. 

Acorn Health is hiring! If you’d like to join our team and #growwithacorn in making a difference in the lives of children with autism, visit to view our open roles and apply.