At four, Daniel Stein was diagnosed with a learning disability. To help with his challenges, his parents got him involved in sports, which inspired him to start working out on his own at the gym. After realizing that exercise could help him overcome symptoms of his own disability, Daniel felt called to help others do the same. His pursuit to help others led him to get certified as a personal trainer through NASM, NFPT, and ACSM. After spending several years in the fitness industry, successfully running his own personal training business, he joined a big box gym and ranked in the top 1% of revenue generators for Lifetime Fitness (ranked 50 of 3700 trainers) within a year. In 2016, he decided to leave Lifetime Fitness to start Special Strong to pursue his true calling. He then got certified as an ACSM Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer and as a Certified Autism Trainer, which allows him to train individuals with mental and physical disabilities. After training over 1,000 special needs clients and seeing so many education gaps for special needs and fitness, he created his own online nationally accredited certification program, which has helped hundreds of professionals across the world. Today, Daniel spends his time focusing on his vision for global expansion through education and training.
Jess Dahl is a BCBA specialist who has devoted her practice over the last 13 years to the treatment of autism and related IDD symptoms in teens and adults. Jess studied Psychology at Winchester University in England and Existential Phenomenology at Seattle University before receiving her second Master’s in Special Education through Texas Tech. She recently began a focused, boutique ABA company catering to the specific needs of teens and adults around DFW. She is thrilled to share her experience with Strong Education and to have collaborated on the behavior training and de-escalation module.
Shelly Jones is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) who has served both children and adults. She loves helping them develop, recover, and improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for abundant living. Before Shelly became a COTA, she spent many years volunteering with Easter Seals and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Spending time with many individuals with various disabilities taught her to believe that individuals can live life to the fullest and shine their brightest when they are empowered. That belief carries into her work as a COTA. Shelly has served both children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), developmental delays, muscular dystrophy, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy (CP), and many more. Shelly has experience with medically involved children and adults, including those with ventilators. Shelly graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree from Amarillo College in 2000. She has since worked in long-term care, home health, and clinic settings.
Carly Rosse is a registered dietician with a special focus on pediatrics and complex disease states. In 2013, she received her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences from Texas A&M. In 2017, Carly received her Master of Science in Nutrition from Texas Women’s University. She holds several licenses as a registered dietician, licensed dietician, and a certified nutrition support clinician.
Steven Rodriguez is the founder and president of Building Blocks Autism Solutions, an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) service company that provides therapy, consultation, and training to help clients diagnosed with autism. Before devoting his work at Building Blocks Autism Solutions, Steven has worked as a supervising Behavior Analyst, graduate student supervisor, bilingual Behavior Analyst, behavior therapist, instructor, and adjunct faculty member. After the diagnosis of a family member, Steven began to research autism and its treatments. While completing his undergraduate degree in psychology at Westfield State University, he took various courses in Applied Behavior Analysis. He then went on to complete his Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis. Steven is a member of the Berkshire Association of Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT), Applied Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), and Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT). He’s a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst, Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst in Massachusetts, Board Certified in Special Education, Board Certified Cognitive Specialist, International Behavior Analyst, and Master IEP coach.
Amanda Woodard is the Research & Development Coordinator for Strong Education. She investigates the latest industry trends and nurtures new relationships in the fitness and special needs community. Outside of her work with Strong Education, Amanda is an MFA candidate in Creative Nonfiction at Antioch University and a freelance writer. In her spare time, she enjoys playing board games, rock climbing and practicing yoga. She lives in the DFW area with her niece, nephew and dog.
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