I am now pretty much moved and settled into our new place and ready to start my new gig as an assistant professor of ABA. When I started working with kids having disabilities, I didn’t think I would end up here, but the longer I worked in the field, the more
I saw a need and wanted to fill it.
There is a big need for qualified behavior analysts across both the United States and, more urgently, across the world. Most states have a waiting list for ABA services because there are not enough providers available. Also, despite ABA being the go-to way to help learners with disabilities, it is almost non-existent in school settings. This means that kids who start school behind their typically developing peers fall further and further behind each semester. And this leads to poor outcomes.
The saying is “Give a man to fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” Or something close to that. I want to adapt that to say “Teach a child using ABA and you help that child. Teach someone else to use ABA and you help many children.” The sentiment is the same as the original parable. Growing the field is so important and it is easy to lose sight of that when you are focusing on your current situation.
So, I decided to leave private practice and get my PhD. It was not an easy decision. I was doing well with my career and could have continued to make a difference in the lives of the kids that came to the clinic in which I worked. But I felt that I wanted to share my love of the field with others. I saw it as my way of helping an almost exponential number of kids down the road by teaching others the wonderful world of ABA. Don’t get me wrong. I love working with the kids and seeing the progress they make. However, the big picture view took over.
And now, I’ve got the doctorate. I’ve enhanced my knowledge with three years of additional study of ABA. I’ve honed my teaching skills by being the instructor of record for three different courses in ABA. I’m ready for this next challenge. I am teaching in the Master’s degree program for ABA and will be able to teach so many people about how the science of behavior can benefit society. I am excited to show others how to be ethical behavior analysts. And I really want those students I teach to go out and make a difference in the world.
Now I feel like I am helping so many more kiddos by teaching others the science of behavior.