From a BCBA I've had the pleasure to work with in the past. Her sentiments are PERFECT! Enjoy the 1st post by this great guest blogger, Jessi French.
I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, BCBA, and probably the most liberal one you'll ever meet.
This is a long post, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the first day of school, and what I was feeling not being a mother but seeing my clients going back to school.
IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!!!! THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!! WOOOOOOOOO!
For those of us in the ABA field, and for everyone working in this Wild and Wonderful World of Autism, Christmas and Spring Break means increased hours while our kids out out of public school. But Summer Break…….thats a whole different story. Summer break is when our kids who can only fit maybe 10 hours a week of ABA therapy during the school year can increase their hours and we can continue working on IEP goals from the school as well as our own goals. Summer is by far the BUSIEST and most FUN time of the year for the field of ABA because we also are suddenly working 10-12 hour days when during the school year we only work afternoons and weekends. I lose more weight, get more tan, and swim more than I swim all year long. I am constantly in workout wear, I bring changes of clothes in my car because I sweat through my clothes in my morning sessions and you NEVER forget to have a swimsuit in your car. You never know when you need an impromptu dip!! I am also EXHAUSTED. I am running on 4-6 hours of sleep per night and always on the go; I wouldn't have it any other way.
Playdates, sports, swimming, Hawaiian Falls, water bottles, trips to Target and to the park, birthday parties, vacations, our days are nonstop and definitely full of life! Summer is the best time for us to really focus on some of those skills that the kids have been struggling with like getting down a nighttime routine so my kiddo takes a shower on his own, or teaching a girl how to operate a DVD player so she doesn’t have to ask someone to put in a movie for her and her friends when she has a sleepover. ABA therapy is fit into every aspect. You want to go to the movies? Lets go. You need to go to CVS? We’re on it. Want your kiddo to be able to make their own afternoon snack? We got this. Summers in ABA are AMAZING.
Parents are often so excited about “Meet the Teacher” and the first week of school. They can’t wait to hear tales of who their kids are sitting next to and are curious about how the curriculum for the year will be. Some parents are sad that their babies are going to school, some parents cry because their kids are growing up. Some kids won’t let their Mom’s take those first day pictures while others are beaming with pride. Every parent has some sort of pride as their kids go to school mixed with all kinds of emotions.
Let me tell you why the first day of school is so special for us. Because our kids didn’t take the summer off. They were with us, nearly every single day. They were working on following functional directions at Chik-Fil-A with 100 screaming kids around them. They were working on waiting next to Mom while she finishes up a conversation with their new teachers. These kids were working on having a conversation and navigating their social world.
So teachers, we love the first day of school so you can see not just how much they have grown taller, but so you can see how much they have grown behaviorally. Summer is not a 3 month “vacation” for our kids, summer is our best chance to really hit the ground running and try out new things and keep up with LIFE. So my proud moment on “meet the teacher” night is when I see a teacher exclaim, “WOW, he is listening so well!” “He is playing with that kid over there and playing tag!” “He is walking with me and not bolting down the hallway!” “I can really tell y’all worked hard this summer!” “He didn’t hit the teacher on his first day!”
Regression is not an option with my clients, it is not even in our vocabulary.
Jessi French is an independent BCBA residing in Plano, Texas with her family of 3 Miniature Schnauzers and 6 fish. She currently works with a group of clients that she has been with for several years and plans to grow in her abilities with them through adulthood. Jessi has a love for video games and toys, probably why she connects with her clients, and collects Harry Potter,
Simpsons, and Star Wars Lego sets. She is incredibly passionate about improving the lives of her clients and their families through in-home ABA therapy.
You can contact Jessi at firstname.lastname@example.org
Leanne Page, MEd, BCBA