Ever since I was very young, I knew I wanted to work with children. I wasn’t always sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I’d be happy if I could interact with kids every day. I went into college thinking I’d like to be a lawyer, but quickly found that psychology was much more interesting. I didn’t discover the field of Applied Behavior Analysis until my senior year in a Behavior Modification class. I found that all the principles of basic behavior modification resonated with me and made more sense than anything I had previously learned. When I found out that it was possible to base a career off those principles, I was hooked. It was too late for me to minor in ABA but I immediately signed up for the undergraduate practicum course.
I spent a year after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology working as an independent contractor and found that I enjoyed the practice of ABA as much as the theory. I got into the master’s program at USF and felt more sure than ever I had chosen the right path. Thanks to USF’s practicum requirement, I was helped into a job doing direct therapy at BCOTB. It was everything I had hoped to find in the field and even better than being an independent contractor. I got to work one on one with kids with Autism and create meaningful change in their lives in a more structured and supervised environment.
As a BCaBA at BCOTB, I started learning more about what goes on behind the scenes of the one on one therapy. I learned about insurance authorizations, writing behavior plans, running VB-MAPP assessments, and providing supervision. Since passing the BCBA exam and becoming a full-time employee, I have found that I enjoy the background work just as much as direct therapy.
It is exciting to come in to work every day and be around people working toward the same goal: improving the lives of children with Autism. I chose to become a BCBA to help children learn to live fuller lives and to teach others to do the same. While I have only been a full time BCBA for a few months, I can’t imagine a career doing anything else, and I can’t picture a more perfect setting in which to practice than BCOTB.