Who Am I?

Veneta Dimitrova left her Bulgarian home at the age of 18 with 25 € in her pocket and since then journeys out of her comfort zone on wings of curiosity and courage.

Cooked for 15+ years in education, psychology, counseling, and behavior analysis, with an ivy-league academic background, Veneta has been touched by the unique stories of human-trafficked women, domestic violence survivors, children and teens with autism. Veneta believes that education is a meaningful intervention and transformation of the world and witnessing people expand their learning potential brings her joy.

Veneta creates contexts where knowledge and behavior are driven and shaped by the intrinsic power of the learning process and not by fears of „getting it wrong“ or ambitions of „making it perfect“. She investigates how the emotional experiences of humans color their interactions with the environment. Veneta has attracted a team of well-seasoned practitioners as well as bright graduates with versatile backgrounds in behavior analysis, speech and language pathology and occupational therapy. She gardens passionately Teaching Tree which has become a focal point for individuals searching experience, mentorship or professional development.

Veneta is balancing learning and teaching, love and science, family and business – some days with skill and grace and other days with effort and challenge.

Words that inspire her work: „I teach because I search, because I question, and because I submit myself to questioning. I research because I notice things (…) and in so doing, I intervene. And intervening, I educate and educate myself. I do research so as to know what I do not yet know and to communicate and proclaim what I discover“ Paulo Freire

Professional background

Veneta’s expertise includes identification of missing non-verbal and verbal behavior developmental milestones in children; detection of missing, misplaced or misused elements in the learner’s environment; removal of obstacles preventing the acquisition or performance of socially significant behaviors; development of strategies that replace maladaptive behavioral patterns with functional modes of operation; design of system-wide behavior support and data analysis for entire schools and public or private educational establishments; streamlining of professional development trainings.

For the last 4 years Veneta develops a project in her home country in cooperation with the Step for the Invisible Children Foundation (www.autism-bg.org) to establish the first ABA center in Bulgaria where professionals will receive practical experience in behavior analysis. She also provides trainings at the Center for Autism Tacitus (http://www.autism-bg.info/) in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Errors are crucial component of every learning process and occur daily for the learners who Veneta is in contact with. Veneta utilizes the learner’s own errors to foster the development of new behavioral patterns by carefully planning and modifying environmental contingencies, thus creating learning opportunities where others see none. Additionally Veneta uses her learner’s mistakes to investigate the variables that are functionally responsible for the errors, thus addressing her learner’s deficits with science-driven, comprehensive approach.

Veneta focuses on nurturing independence through inducing new ways of learning in her students, repairing faulty conditioning in their instructional history and designing bridges that narrow the gap between language, emotions and behaviors. Veneta facilitates change in behaviors for individuals diagnosed with autism, language delays, and emotional disorders in one-to-one, small and large group settings using cutting-edge, evidence-based strategies aligned with the basic principles of the science of behavior. She also teaches other professionals how to identify developmental milestones and environmental components responsible for learning to occur.

Veneta’s “spectrum” as behavior analyst includes educational consultant, supervisor of early childhood intervention programs, therapist, assistant teacher, data analyst, researcher and founder/gardener of Teaching Tree. Veneta leads lectures and conducts collaborative research in Europe. In 2010 she received the Society for Advancement of Behavior Analysis award for the establishment of ABA libraries in Bulgaria.

Degrees:
Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis. Teachers College, Columbia University
Bachelor in Science in Psychology. Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski

Certifications:
Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling ® Teacher Rank I
Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Cert N: 1107563
New York State Teaching Certifications in General & Special Education

  • Dimitrova, V., & Sterkin, V. (2010) The Effect of Audience Control on the Frequency of Stereotypy Emitted by Students Diagnosed With Autism and Emotional Disorders. Poster Session ABAI 2010 Annual Convention, San Antonio
  • Tehrani, K., Gold, L., Sterkin, V., & Dimitrova, V. (2010) Identifying Missing Prerequisites for Students with Low Reading Comprehension Skills: The Effects of Acquisition of Tacts on the Correct Responses for Reading Comprehension Questions. Poster Session ABAI 2010 Annual Convention, San Antonio
  • Choi, J & Dimitrova, V. (2008). The induction of generalized imitation using mirror protocol (unpublished)
  • Choi, J & Dimitrova, V. (2008) The Effects of Tandem Antecedent Delay on the Acquisition of Retrieving Vocal Lists for Two Elementary School Students
  • Choi, J & Dimitrova, V. (2008) The Effects of Conditioning Books, Play-doh, and Coloring on Activity, Passivity, Stereotypy and Incorrect Responding. (unpublished)
  • Choi, J & Dimitrova, V. (2008) The Effects of Echoic-to-Mand Procedure on Student’s Independent Mands. (unpublished)
  • Choi, J & Dimitrova, V. (2008) Conditioning books and toys as reinforcers for observing and decreasing stereotypical behaviors. (unpublished)
  • Choi, J & Dimitrova, V. (2008) The Effects of Pre-session Reinforcement on Correct Responding, Learn-Units-to-Criterion, Independent Mand, and Self Injurious Behavior of One Elementary School Student (unpublished)
  • Dimitrova, V., & Sterkin, V. (2009) The Role of Vocal Choral Responding on the Rate of Written Contingency-Shaped Responding to Single-digit Addition Math Facts. (unpublished)
  • Dimitrova, V., Joo, S., & Delgado, J. (2009) The Effects of Peer-Yoked Contingency Game Board Procedure on the Acquisition of Observational Learning for Eight Second Grade Students. (unpublished)
  • Dimitrova, V., Joo, S., & Delgado, J. (2009). The Effects of the Writer Immersion Protocol on the Acquisition of Functional Technical Writing for Four Second Grade Students. (unpublished)