Twenty years ago, I graduated high school with the plan to go to college, get my psychology degree, and work with the troubled teenage youth. I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life. Fast forward to today. Let’s just say, the plan didn’t exactly go as I expected but I could not be happier. After working in youth services using my psychology degree, I realized this just was not the career I once wanted for myself.
In 2010, I joined BCI as a Behavior Technician after taking some time off to figure out my future career path. I soon realized that I found a job where I was able to make a difference is someone’s life, just as I had always wanted. After working at BCI for a year, I was hooked and decided to further my education and pursue a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis.
With Autism Awareness month upon us, I positively reflect on my experience working with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. One particular family that I worked with had a non-verbal son. They were told by a doctor that their son was likely never to speak. The client engaged in many challenging behaviors because he was frustrated by his inability to communicate his wants and needs. After receiving ABA services, the child ended up not only speaking, using words, but ultimately built up his vocabulary to the point of completing full sentences. In turn, his behaviors decreased tremendously using his new replacement skills instead of engaging in negative behaviors. To witness a child grow and even exceed a doctor’s expectations was such a rewarding experience that I knew this was to become my personal and professional pursuit.
Working with children diagnosed autism has taught me more about the world and about myself than I could have ever expected. I have met many children and families in my nine years at BCI and each encounter has opened my eyes to new experiences and adventures. I am humbled each day working in the autism field as practitioner of Applied Behavior Analysis. I could not imagine doing anything else with my life.