I have had the pleasure of working with children and teens with autism spectrum disorders for the past 14 years. Autism is a neurological disorder which affects communication, social skills and behavior. Autism affects individuals in different ways and if you have met one child/person with an autism spectrum disorder, you have only met one.
According to Autism Speaks, autism affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys.
I’m a board certified behavior analyst and I have worked with kids 18 months through adulthood. I have had experiences in home, clinic, school and community settings.
Over the past 14+ years, I have poured my life, energy, time, & money into positively impacting the lives of students with an autism spectrum disorder. I love my career. I love problem solving. I LOVE hearing kids talk for the first time. I LOVE toilet training… I know thats weird but toilet training is so much fun! I love implementing an effective behavior plan and seeing the lives of an entire family change for the better.
I love working with and mentoring young professionals and watching the light bulbs go on for them.
I love the creativity aspect of making materials to teach various skills. I love working with various community groups and being respected as a professional. I love lots of things about my career.
My career has its challenges as well. I have been punched so hard, I got a concussion. I have been bit, hit, scratched, thrown up on, and kicked. I have had furniture thrown at me. I have been cursed at. I have even been peed on. BUT I LOVE MY CAREER.
I had the pleasure of asking a few colleagues 5 things they like about working with kids with an autism spectrum disorder.
My Top 5
- I love the problem solving aspect of behavior analysis and kids with autism. I’m presented with a child or teen and someone is complaining (parent, teacher, etc.) of a specific problem. I get to analyze and figure out the best steps to effectively change the problem.
- I love that no day is the same. Every day is different. We all have good days and bad days and we all have things that we like and don’t like. I get to figure that out everyday.
- I love working on communication development with kids. Hearing a child’s first words is inspirational! Watching a child understand what is being said to them and actually learning from others is truly amazing! I’m so fortunate to be one part of this journey for the child.
- I love working with the entire family. Unlike most teachers who only get the student for a few hours of the day in a setting away from home, my job typically entails a more whole approach to working with the child but also the family. Its fantastic to see changes impact more than just the child.
- I love the creativity! I get to design teaching materials for each individual child. No child is the same and I get to figure out the best way to teach a particular skill. Surfing pinterest has become a mild obsession.
You don’t have to be a behavior analyst to help!
April is Austism Awareness Month. The Autism Society of Dayton is hosting a 5k Walk on Saturday April 25th at Payne Recreation Center. Come walk to support those with Autism in the Dayton community!