A regular reader of my blog who asked to remain anonymous (you know who you are!) had a suggestion to add interviews as a regular blog feature. Her suggestion was that these interviews could be a way for professionals in the field of ABA to share their stories, share their successes and failures, and encourage other people in the field. And you know what?? I agree! :-)
I am happy to announce a NEW regular feature of my blog where I will interview someone who works in the field of ABA. All of our stories and experiences are so different and so unique, and all of us have something inside of us that can help others. For parents, maybe you have always had questions you would like to ask your ABA therapist, but didn't feel it was appropriate. Now you can take a peek into what its like being an ABA therapist, without the social disapproval!
These interviews will include people from all over the world, working in a variety of settings, from novices to the more experienced. I do have several interviews lined up already, but if you are working in the field and want to share your story too, feel free to contact me directly (click on "Contact Me" on the right side of the page). I would love to hear from you. Share your story with people, its cathartic!
I hope you are as excited about this new feature as I am, and without further delay I want to introduce my very first interviewee, and a new friend of mine:
- If you would like to, state your name. Anson
- State your job title. Transitioning at the moment (in between positions)
- Where do you work (location)? Missouri
- Do you work independently or for a company/agency? An agency
- How long have you been working in the field? About 14 years
- When did you obtain your BCBA? May 2013
- Why was pursuing a BCBA important to you? It tells me that I am “good enough” and the BCBA program I was in taught me many concepts and applications that made many behaviors easier to understand.
- What do you think is the most important part of a BCBA’s job? Finding the most natural, ethical/legal and logical ways to help improve a client's life
- How confident are you in your capabilities as a Behavior Analyst (please rate from 0-100%)? Not sure yet... I am just starting!
- How much of your own money do you usually spend each month on therapy supplies (reinforcers, materials, binders, etc)? I set a limit to $25 or so but I do go over at times.
- Do you feel more confident with Skill Acquisition or Behavior Management? Skill acquisition.
- Describe some of the problem behaviors you deal with. Food sensitivity, Self-Injurious Behaviors, (SIB), tantrumming.
- What ages do you work with? Mostly school-aged children (5-12).
- What populations do you work with? (Autism, ADHD, Downs Syndrome, etc) I primarily work with individuals with Autism but I have worked with people with other developmental disorders.
- Explain how you got started in ABA. I was a Psych major in college and the classes didn't quite make sense to me until I took a class on Behaviorism. The second part of the class was pretty much Behavior Modification and it really made sense to me. I started taking the next class and doing some fieldwork. After I graduated, a former trainer referred me to an agency.
- Before you started working in this field, what did you know about ABA? NOTHING! Part of psychology... if any...
- Describe a typical work day. (How long is your day, how many clients do you see, how much driving is involved, etc) Transitioning at the moment, but definitely driving, paperwork, talking to parents, and having fun with kids.
- How much do you make per hour? N/A (transitioning)
- How many times a week do you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or discouraged at your job? I used to get very stressed but now I will say 1-2 times a week, maybe? I do get discouraged at times when some behaviors continue to occur despite significant amount of time and effort on intervention. Family's concerns and expectations always play a part as well.
- How do you deal with the stresses of the job? Talking to my supervisors, reading, video games (DRO, anyone?).
- Do you prefer working: in home, in the school, or in the community? Why? It's always a great way to start at a clinic setting at the beginning, but I'll say home and community... where we really have to generalize everything... a little NET and safety don't hurt either.
- Do you receive support and active involvement from the families of the clients you serve? Do you wish you received more? Most of the time I do get great support from the families. After all, we all work towards the same goal: improving the client's life. For some families, I do a little Shaping: I suggest them to focus on only one or two behaviors to start with, and eventually I will get them to be on the same page.
- What have been your best and worst experiences with a family/parent? The best experience? The family and I worked as a team, that kind of dedication and partnership really helped the client. The worst experiences? The family that was not involved... and the family got too involved and included me as part of the family. It was an honor and privilege but it was pushing the ethical boundaries at times.
- What are the most important skills for a new ABA therapist to learn? Motivating Operations... work that EO!
- Name 3 things you wish you could change about your job. N/A (transitioning)
- What do you enjoy the most about supervising ABA therapists? I enjoy listening to their ideas and helping them understand the functions of behavior.
- Anything you want to add (You can add anything you want to share with people)? Shameless self-promotion here... You can find out more about me and what I have to say at www.behaviorjedi.wordpress.com, and I have a Students of Applied Behavior Analysis Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/139460776226228/.