We need to get out more!
Let me start off by saying that I love my career! I have been in the ABA field for over 10 years, and was certified as a BCBA in 2012. Recently I have interacted with more than a few people that have a certain idea of what behavior analysis is and who it is for. I will say that I have primarily worked with children on the Autism Spectrum and that there are several ABA centers in my area doing great things for children and families. However, I believe that we, myself included, are not doing as much as we can to make sure that people understand two things.
1. ABA therapy is NOT a treatment for Autism - ABA is a great intervention to address the main challenges of ASD and we should definitely keep doing what we're doing, but we need to widen our reach. The misconception that ABA is an "Autism Therapy" is probably due to funding, and maybe Google Ad Words is playing its part as well, but my point is we need to get out more. It has become a personal goal of mine to do this in 2018 and I hope you'll join me! It is very rewarding to work with children diagnosed with Autism and their families, and I will continue doing this and hopefully more in the next year!
2. Real results don't have to come from a book or specific curriculum - those of us that have had the pleasure and great experience to "come up" in this field with quality training know this, and it is my hope that we still practice in the way that I will describe below.
The more seasoned behavior analysts that I have been fortunate enough to have worked with over the years trained me to... wait for it... ANALYZE BEHAVIOR! Simple and effective analysis. We took our data and graphed it, we utilized assessments, we were focused on meaningful change in behavior and its real life applications. Assessments and various tools are necessary and useful, but they aren't the end all be all. I am not sure what has changed (maybe insurance requirements, maybe less time to collaborate, your guess is as good as mine). But we need to move our focus from filling in the gaps on "the newest and best" assessment tool, back to applicable behavior change using our experience as analysts. People, at least in my experience, have come to expect going from one provider/employer to another that the programming will be the same, and this is not and should not be the case. Behavior is fluid and the programs we write should be too. Breathe, observe behavior, use your skill set and collaborate with others :)
Check out session 43 of the behavioral observations podcast! Thank you Dr. Megan Miller for articulating what we can do to #DoBetter as behavior analysts in 2018.