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Meet Christina Steele of Building Greatness

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Steele.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Christina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My journey with autism started about 15 years ago when one of my cousins was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I was only 12 at this time and never really knew much about autism. What I observed from my cousin was a lack of words and these unusual movements.

As I became older I learned that these unusual, receptive movements were self-stimulatory behavior. This behavior was no longer unusual because I finally understood what it was.

I remember my cousin coming to my parents’ house and myself trying to interact with him. His social skills were not very good and he did not seem to want to interact with me. I remember being frustrated that I could not help him socially interact with me more and even take interest in my presence.

When I started undergraduate, I was tied between getting a degree in business or learning about human kind and how to help them through a psychology degree. I started out in business which did not last. When I took my first psychology class at St. Cloud State University it sealed the deal and I switched majors. I was able to learn about different mental diagnoses and therapies available to help. One of the course I took examined human behavior through Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). This style of therapy has been proven to help treat autism. I had finally found and learned about techniques that I could use to help my cousin. I ended up taking another three courses in ABA to learn as much as I could.

After I completed my undergraduate degree, I began my Masters in Criminal Behavior through Tiffin University. After completion of my masters degree I was able to work for an ABA Therapy company in Minnesota called Minnesota Autism Center. This is where I received hands on experience of how to conduct ABA Therapy.

Working with children on the spectrum was very stressful and draining, but it is one of the most rewarding things. When a child says their first word after you have worked with them for months, feels like you have just won the lottery. Knowing that you are helping change these kids and families’ lives is indescribably the best gift anyone could ever give me.

In 2014 I decided to move to Houston because I wanted to become licensed in Texas after I finished my Doctoral Degree in Psychology through NorthCentral University. I saw many flaws in the ABA Therapy companies I had worked in in Houston and decided I was going to take a leap of faith and open my own ABA Therapy company. I wanted a company that would forever change our clients lives and build these children diagnosed with autism into greatness. Every child deserves this greatness.

Starting a company was not an easy process. I had to cash out all my stocks and take what I had in my savings to put into a business account. Being a young, single mom, I knew I could not fail. My everything was going into the success of Building Greatness. I did not know much about being a business owner other than what I observed from my dad growing up.

Everyday is still a learning process. No one has a perfect business, but it is those who learn from the flaws and make corrections, that will survive.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Being a business owner is never easy. Starting out and trying to build a client base is hard.

Being the new person on the block meant a lot of people not knowing about you.

Getting recognized on google felt almost impossible at the beginning. I found that Facebook had helped build the company the most. I was able to interact with many parents who had children on the spectrum.

Another big struggle for my particular company was becoming in network with different health care insurances. This was one of my biggest challenges because many people’s policies do not cover services that are not in network. This meant having to turn down many clients if they did not have out of network benefits. Most insurance companies took many months to even hear back about contracting. Some even took over a year.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Building Greatness story. Tell us more about the business.
Building Greatness, Inc. provides Applied Behavior Analysis to children, teens, and adults with mainly Autism Spectrum Disorder. We offer therapy at our autism center in Northwest Houston, in the home, and in the community.

I am most proud of the company’s relationships it has with the families that it serves.

We want our families to be as involved as we are with the clients. It is important that everyone in the client’s life are knowledgeable about ABA techniques and how they can properly use them while around the child.

What sets us apart from other companies is the dedication the staff has to our clients.

Each treatment plan is individualized. People do not all learn the same and we take a lot of time observing our clients making sure they are making as much process as possible.

If we notice something is not working we quickly change things around through prompts and reinforcement. Changes also occur through switching targets or changing programs.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I would not say that I am lucky. I would more describe my success to being fortunate.

Everything thus far has been a gift from hard work and dedication. I was fortunate to be blessed with skills such as: intelligence and drive. I have always been extremely competitive and push myself to achieve whatever I put my mind to. Success does not just happen. It comes from the effort and skills a person possesses.

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