I think that instinctively I have always wanted to work in the field of psychology in one way, shape or form. What made me interested in pursuing my ABA certification occurred during the summer that I went to a church camp and worked as a youth counselor with a group of children that the church had regarded as “troubled youth.” The children that the church had reflected as “troubled youth” was merely because of the behavior issues that they had a hard time controlling, some of them had an inability to control their behavioral issues at the time. They were not “troubled children”.
In the three weeks that I was with these children, I worked with them closely as their counselor and peer advisor. Not once did I have to confront any major behavioral issues- I just used some of my own strategies to help the children cope with their problems and adjust to life at camp. I had no professional training ABA strategies, but I managed to change the church’s perception of these “troubled children” and because of this, the church gave me the counselor of the year award. This was an amazing time for me. It was at this point that I became thoroughly interested in ABA and I started to develop a professional development plan.
The first stage in the plan was to choose a recognized university that I wanted to attend that was strong in the psychology field. In this stage I considered a wide variety of schools, looked at all of their psychology programs, made a list of pros and cons, and ultimately I decided to choose Kaplan University, which I am very happy with. Now comes the tough part, narrowing down my psychology major into a particular concentration. Lucky for me, I have known my entire life what field I wanted to wind up in, so it was only a matter of filling out the paperwork and sending it in. Now I need to pick the area within the ABA that I am most interested in (Behaviorist for Social Responsibility) and concentrate on that specialty. BSR has always intrigued me on both an intellectual and personal level and it is a field that I can connect with emotionally.
The BFSR appeals to me because it addresses the issues like social justice, human rights, and environmental implications. These are global issues that affect all of us every day. On a personal level, the BFSR field appeals to me because I have already raised three wonderful children who all have struggled with some form of a learning disability. The child who struggled the most though was my son. No matter how many medical professionals and counselors at school tried to tell me that my little boy was autistic- I never listened- and thank the heavens that I went for a second opinion and found out that his problems were a result of a learning disability NOT a disorder. This reinvigorated my fire for wanting to pursue a career in the field of BFSR. Raising my children, more importantly raising my children properly helped me learn the responsibilities and skills that are needed when caring for youths who struggle with attention, focus, or maybe even authority. This is why BFSR appeals to me so much and why I want a career in this field so badly.
I possess a wide variety of skills and strengths I have acquired throughout life that would allow me to thrive in the field of BFSR. Skills that I know still need improving if I want to be successful in the BFSR field include time management, mathematics, and strategic analysis.
Right now, my primary my focus is on finishing my BCABA certification. Once I finish my certification I can move on to future educational goals. I have already met my state’s requirements for entering the BFSR field and receiving my certification, and am excited about moving on to the next phase of my career and/or education. My hopes are that in the future I can work with kids similar to my children, or the kids I saw at summer camp, and connect with them on a close and personal level that allows me to become an expert in my field. My dream career would involve my working with foster children just before they are ready to enter the working world. I think this career would be both fulfilling and rewarding. I truly believe that I was born with an innate ability to connect with people on a level that others can not connect with them on, and that is why I have chosen to follow my dreams and pursue a career in this field.
The article “Behavioral Cusps: A Model for Selecting Target Behaviors” by Timothy Vollmer was a great article that addressed the area of field I would like to enter. In this article, Vollmer refers to “behavior changes that have consequences for the organism beyond the changes itself, some of which may be considered important” as “cusps” (Vollmer, 2010). Vollmer suggests that cusps affect all aspects of a child’s development and by addressing all of the cusps (the problem areas in a child), potential problems can be avoided further down the road. He also suggests that cusps may help in the selection and prioritization of behavior-change goals. The article draws up a systematic approach to to evaluating the importance of target behaviors.
Vollmer, Timothy. “Behavioral Cusps: A Model for Selecting Target Behaviors.” Behavioral Cusps: A Model for Selecting Target Behaviors. JABA, n.d. Web. 20 May 2013. <http://www.jeabjaba.org/abstracts/JabaAbstracts/34/_34-123.HTM>.