A day in the life of an ABA Tutor
Posted March 28, 2012on:
Todays guest post is written by Sarah.
Hi! My name is Sarah, I’m 23 and I am an ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) tutor working in the East Midlands with different children with Autism. I have a BSc. degree in Applied Psychology and Sociology and this is where my interest in ABA began. I am currently working towards a MSc. in Health Psychology and I intend to mix these disciplines in the future. I have been working as an ABA tutor for the past three years and I trained at Treehouse School, a specialist ABA school for children and young adults with Autism, in London.
So what is ABA? ABA is a science based on Skinner’s Behaviourism in psychology. ABA focuses on observable behaviour and its relationship to the environment, by functionally assessing behaviours we can use the principles of ABA to increase or decrease that behaviour. For more in depth description then please see these pages: http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applied_behavior_analysis or just ‘Google’ ABA!
So what is a day like in the life of an ABA tutor – well first and foremost it is fun and fulfilling! I work 1:1 with children at all different points on the spectrum – one of the most important things I’ve learnt is that every child on the spectrum is different. I deliver an ABA programme that is set up by a qualified behaviour analyst. So, I think I get to do the most fun part! We teach functional skills in communication, daily living, play, social skills and we also have academic targets. Each programme is tailored to targeting the deficits and strengths of that particular child or young person. ABA is based on positive reinforcement – all programmes begin with establishing motivation – we make ‘work’ fun and we make success very possible. The children are systematically reinforced or rewarded for behaviour we wish to increase, for example waiting their turn in a game, and reinforcement is removed when problem behaviour is exhibited, in this way we aim to decrease this behaviour.
My sessions are different for each of my clients so it would be difficult to describe one – however they are usually fast paced, engaging, fun and usually very silly! I take my own special stock of toys to my sessions and lots of play and experimenting can allow the team to learn what makes that child tick. Each programme has different targets and we take data on the work we do in order to systematically see what is working and what may not be working and fix it.
ABA allows me to make a difference to not only the child’s life but also to their whole family’s lives – that is my main motivation. There is nothing like seeing a child put in so much effort and then begin to communicate spontaneously or use the bathroom independently. Furthermore being a home based tutor means I get some great interaction with families – such an important element of every programme.
This is a very brief description of my work – if you have any questions then please get in contact. My twitter account is @SarahElizGrant – please follow me – I use this to keep in touch with the wider ABA and Autism community and to help with the effort to raise Autism awareness.
Also please feel free to post any comments – any feedback is appreciated – being an ABA tutor also means continuing professional and personal development