Number of Years in Current Role:
Less than one year
Number of Years with HMEA:
Number of years as BCBA:
Eastern Connecticut State University
Hanging with fiancé and friends
HMEA PROGRAM: Children’s Services, Boston, MA
TITLE: Director of Children’s Services
What led you to want to earn your BCBA?
“During my undergraduate studies, I interned at an ABA school for children with Autism where I was exposed to discrete trials, schedules of reinforcement, replacement behaviors, and behavior plans. During my internship, I was able to work directly (much like our Behavior Therapists here at HMEA do) and I was able to witness firsthand how beneficial and effective Behavior Analysis can be. I quickly became interested in the ‘behind the scenes’ of the programming for each student. At the school, I was able to ask their BCBAs questions and learned how to obtain the same degree and certification.”
What has been your career path to date from your first job to your current position?
“My first job as a BCBA was a non-profit private school for Children with Autism located in Natick. To expand my skills and experience, I transitioned to an adult services agency where I managed behaviors and taught daily living skills to adults residing in the agency’s group homes. After that period of time, I became employed at HMEA Children’s Services as a BCBA with a small caseload in the Central MA area. After about a year, I had the opportunity to apply for the Regional Director position in Boston and was hired for the job. Currently, I oversee the Behavior Analysts that work for HMEA in the Boston area, providing clinical support, family support and day to day scheduling.”
What is a typical day like in your current role?
“A typical day consists of providing Supervision to 1-2 clients from my own caseload. I drive to Boston and provide training/supervision for the behavior therapist who works directly with the clients. I’ll also check in with parents to discuss any behavior issues or concerns, skills they would like to see their child acquire, and provide any tips to better manage their child’s behavior. I’ll then overlap with another BCBA during one of their client sessions to provide any additional support, answer any questions and check in with parents to make sure they are satisfied with the services they are receiving. In between those overlaps, I will often find a coffee shop and complete treatment planning, respond to emails, schedule trainings, or any other administrative responsibilities that need to be addressed.”
What are the things you like most about your current role? What excites you and motivates you professionally?
“The things I like most about my role is that, even though I spend a lot of time in the ‘background’ as a Regional Director, I still get to carry my own caseload, develop programs, analyze data and effect positive changes in my clients’ lives. I love that every day is different, every location is different and, on a larger scale, I get to watch my fellow BCBA’s successfully help our families. What excites me most about this job is when a client overcomes a barrier or masters a skill. It is very rewarding to watch a child accomplish something for the first time and to see the parents regain that hope.”
What do you like about working as a BCBA for HMEA?
“I like working at HMEA because we are a small home-based ABA agency. Our caseloads are small which really speaks to upholding the ideal of quality of services versus quantity of services. They are supportive in our continuing education, keeping us up to date on the ever-changing insurance provisions, and providing us with opportunities to get involved in other areas of our organization. I think this is a great place for BCBA’s to work because the schedule is flexible, there is room for creativity in your treatment of clients, opportunities to continue your education, and the ability to supervise behavior therapists as they attend graduate school to obtain their BCBA as well.”
What kinds of support does HMEA provide to BCBAs that help you focus on being successful in your role?
“HMEA supports BCBAs in so many ways including reimbursement upon recertification of your BCBA/LABA; reimbursement for conference attendance, intra-office support with billing insurance; a BCBA liaison between HMEA and the Insurance companies; the opportunity to obtain CEU’s in-house during our monthly clinical meetings; and opportunities to expand your skills by teaching a class at a local college or holding parent training classes.”
Is there a professional accomplishment or success story of which you are especially proud?
“I am probably most proud of my first Early Intervention case. I was given a client at the start of his Early Intervention services with HMEA, he was about one and a half years old. He was functioning below his age level across all skill domains. His verbal skills were minimal. Today, I am still working with this child who just turned four years old and he is now functioning above his age level in all skill domains and his verbal communication is age appropriate. It has been so rewarding to watch him be able to access parts of his environment (peers, siblings, wants/needs) independently and with minimal maladaptive behaviors.”
What advice would you give to Behavioral Therapists who are considering earning a masters and becoming a BCBA?
“The best advice I could give to Behavioral Therapists who are considering earning their masters and becoming a BCBA would be to DO IT! You will work hard, you will study hard, and it will become a huge part of your life but when it’s done you have one of the most rewarding jobs out there. Keep your head down, focus, and ask questions along the way. The more hands on experience you get the better!”