Number of Years in Current Role:
Number of Years with HMEA:
Number of years as BCBA:
Cambridge College, M.Ed
B.A. Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies
Spending time with family and friends
HMEA PROGRAM: Children’s Services
TITLE: Home-based Board Certified Behavior Analyst
What led you to want to earn your BCBA?
“I wanted to become a BCBA because I enjoy seeing the improvements made by each of my students. I find it rewarding when the reason for their progress is because of the focused work I have done with them. By obtaining my BCBA, I wanted to be able to help them on a different level of expertise. I am so excited to see the improvements my students make in the future.”
What has been your career path to date from your first job to your current position?
“During my sophomore year at Assumption, I started working as a direct ABA therapist for about ten hours a week with a couple of kids. This was when I started to realize I enjoyed working with the kids and families. During my senior year at Assumption, I was required to complete a 400-hour internship, which I completed at the Darnell School in Hudson. After my internship, I was hired as a classroom assistant in the youngest classroom at The Darnell School. A year later, I became a lead classroom assistant in the oldest classroom, where their goals were mainly vocational. I worked at The Darnell School for a total of two and a half years. The Darnell School staff guided me through the process of obtaining my BCBA and helped me complete all of my supervision hours. They are the ones who gave me the tools to be able to work as a BCBA in the home-based setting. Since I passed the BCBA exam in November, I was able to move into the position I currently have as a home-based BCBA.”
What is a typical day like in your current role?
“In my current role, there isn’t necessarily a ‘typical day’ because each day can be different. Some days I will begin at a client’s house, other days I might be at the clinic or even in a meeting. It really depends on the day, but I like that there is no ‘typical day’ because it makes every day interesting.”
What are the things you like most about your current role? What excites you and motivates you professionally?
“Currently, I have been doing a lot of training and direct work with students. As I become more familiar with the kids and my new BCBA responsibilities, I am excited to test my knowledge. I know I still have a lot to learn, but to take on more of a leadership role will be exciting.”
What do you like about working as a BCBA for HMEA?
“I like that HMEA’s Children Services team works together to make sure everyone is successful. When I first started, I didn’t know what to expect. I was definitely nervous on my first day, but everyone has been so supportive and understanding about the fact that I am new and have a lot of learn. I couldn’t help but notice how much the staff really works together as a team. This was very encouraging to see!”
What kinds of support does HMEA provide to BCBAs that help you focus on being successful in your role?
“I like that HMEA provides me with the guidance and knowledge needed to be successful. As a new BCBA, there is a lot I still have to learn, but I have already been given so much help. When I worked at the Darnell School, I found it to be a great place to learn and grow as a professional working in the field of ABA. There are so many BCBAs at the school with constant supervision that I couldn’t help but come out of there feeling like I had learned so much from them. They helped me focus on being successful by supporting me throughout my entire program at Cambridge College, even during the times when I was stressed out!”
Is there a professional accomplishment or success story of which you are especially proud?
“When I was a lead classroom assistant at the Darnell School, I worked with my behavior specialist to figure out a successful intervention for an individual who exhibited ‘movie scripting’ behavior. It was a behavior that impacted his life; he scripted so loud that people in the community would stare at him, and some of his employers were receiving complaints. My behavior specialist allowed me to experiment and try different approaches with him. I was able to figure out an intervention with a red card that symbolized no scripting and a timer to signal how long he had to refrain from scripting. Because of this intervention, his scripting behavior ended up decreasing by over 30%. That was my first experience taking the lead on a case that was successful and it felt really rewarding.”
What advice would you give to Behavioral Therapists who are considering earning a masters and becoming a BCBA?
“I would definitely encourage anyone considering earning their degree and BCBA to do so because it is completely rewarding and life changing. Although it is going to be a tough journey because the program requires a lot of hard work, just push through it because you will be done before you know it! I honestly can’t believe how quickly those two years in school passed by, and that I am now a credentialed BCBA.”