About the Author:
Melissa K. Burkhardt, M.S. Ed., BCBA, earned her Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification in 2014, after completing requirements consisting of 1500 hours of supervised training, post-baccalaureate coursework, and passing the BCBA examination for certification. She has a post-baccalaureate certification in Behavior Intervention in Autism. As of 2016, Melissa is one of 300 certified Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) providers worldwide, trained in a therapy specifically designed for 12-48 month old children diagnosed with autism. She has earned over 50 graduate hours in addition to her Master of Science in Education degree. Melissa is a certified Floortime Provider (a core deficit intervention for autism). She is a Reading Specialist, specialized in dyslexia and teaching children with autism to read. As a certified Special Education Early Intervention Teacher, she taught in the public school system for 20 years and worked extensively along with Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Pathologists, and family members, helping children with ASD to reach their greatest potential. She helped to pioneer public, full inclusion pre-K classes in her school county. She also completed all of the curriculum classes for the Montessori World Education Institute preprimary certification.
Melissa specializes in private therapy providing very early intervention for children with autism and parental coaching to achieve best outcomes in a child’s life through her practice Early Start Autism - EarlyStartAutism.com. She shares her extensive knowledge about autism through public speaking, coaching, program development, and preparing specialized presentations for individuals, groups, and corporations. She serves as a consultant in the formulation of an autism insurance plan for a national company. Her undergraduate degree was completed at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
She attended graduate school and earned a Master of Science in Education degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana. She has served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer for abused and neglected children for over ten years.
Melissa has learned from experience that early intervention takes advantage of the brain’s neural plasticity and is essential in helping a child with autism spectrum disorder to achieve success in developing to their full capacity.