Welcome to our Priorities ABA Jacksonville, NC Learning Center! Watch the video to learn more about our autism services in Jacksonville, NC.
Our new Jacksonville, NC Learning Center had a successful grand opening! 🎉 We are so excited to offer ABA services in a clinic-based setting at our new center in Jacksonville. Contact us for more information!
Starting your career as a behavior technician can help you build valuable skills that transcend the field of autism.
It can serve as a springboard for launching a successful career in any industry, like human services or education, because it gives you a solid foundation.
Behavior technicians and behavior therapists — what we commonly refer to as BTs — develop “transferable” skills. These competencies can make you versatile and adaptable. Cultivating these talents as a BT can help you gain the expertise to excel in the field of autism. At the same time, you’ll position yourself as a well-rounded professional.
Here are seven of the top skills you’ll learn working as a BT.
As a BT, you’ll learn to adapt to different situations and environments. Autism is a complex spectrum, and each person you care for requires a unique approach. You can use this aptitude in other areas that require flexibility and quick thinking. Your ability to adjust to changing trends, new technologies, and unexpected challenges will make you stand out in the crowd.
2. Effective Communication
Communication is at the heart of behavioral therapy. As a BT, you’ll learn to communicate well with people on the autism spectrum, their loved ones, and your colleagues. You’ll cultivate the ability to share ideas, give instructions, and offer support effectively. This is essential in any field that involves working with others. Clear and concise communication fosters positive relationships. This skill prevents misunderstandings and allows for collaborative problem-solving.
Working closely with people on the autism spectrum requires empathy and compassion. As a BT, you’ll learn about their challenges and truly care about their well-being. These qualities are universally valued and can benefit you in any field. Empathy and compassion create a supportive work environment. This skill also improves customer service and builds strong connections with colleagues and clients.
4. Analytical Thinking
BTs use analytical thinking to understand behaviors, identify patterns, and develop effective strategies. Knowing how to analyze data and find important information is valuable in many jobs. Whether you work in business, education, healthcare, or research, thinking analytically helps you make good choices and achieve positive outcomes.
5. Problem-Solving Abilities
Problem-solving is a fundamental skill where BTs excel. You’ll learn how to spot problems, find out why they happen, and come up with new ideas to fix them. This skill is transferable and valuable in many professions. Employers appreciate people who can face challenges directly and come up with solutions.
6. Collaboration and Teamwork
BTs work with families, other therapists, and educators as part of a team. This collaboration fosters excellent teamwork skills, which are sought-after in any field. To succeed in many jobs, it’s important to work well with others. This means sharing ideas, respecting different perspectives, and contributing effectively to group efforts.
7. Organizational Skills
As a BT, you’ll learn to manage schedules, paperwork, and resources effectively. In any job where you need to manage time and tasks, being organized is crucial. This skill helps you finish tasks on time, stay organized, and work efficiently.
Becoming a BT equips you with a diverse set of talents that can open doors to various career paths. The skills you’ll gain are highly valued in today’s job market.
To succeed in any job, it’s helpful to be adaptable, a good communicator, empathetic, analytical, a problem solver, collaborative, and organized. Cultivating these skills as a BT can propel you toward success and open doors that will get you there.
Written by Dr. Ashley Williams, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D, Vice President
In the realm of healthcare and behavioral sciences, integrity stands as an unwavering pillar that supports both the practitioners and the individuals seeking assistance. Within LEARN Behavioral, a leading organization dedicated to enhancing lives through applied behavior analysis (ABA), the significance of clinical integrity resonates deeply, shaping not only the quality of services provided but also how we lead our teams.
The Essence of Clinical Integrity
Clinical integrity encompasses more than just adhering to ethical guidelines; it embodies a commitment to honesty, transparency, and a genuine dedication to the clients’ well-being. In the context of ABA, clinical integrity means adhering to evidence-based practices, valuing the principles of behavior analysis, and consistently providing high-quality services. As a leader at LEARN, integrity is my core value, and choosing to lead with integrity is a choice and commitment that I make each day to guide every decision I make.
Leadership and Clinical Integrity
As leaders, we understand that we serve as role models for our teams. We recognize that upholding clinical integrity isn’t just a checkbox but a responsibility that influences the organization’s culture and outcomes. When leaders prioritize integrity, it creates a ripple effect. Employees witness the importance of their work and feel empowered to maintain the same level of commitment. The leaders’ commitment to clinical integrity sets the tone for the team, fostering an environment of trust, professionalism, and continuous learning.
Impact on Employees
For employees, working within a culture of clinical integrity brings a profound sense of purpose, pride, and trust. When team members see their leaders consistently making ethical decisions and prioritizing evidence-based practices, it enhances their job satisfaction and motivation. They feel secure in the knowledge that they contribute to meaningful change in clients’ lives. This sense of fulfillment, in turn, translates into increased productivity, better teamwork, and reduced burnout.
Impact on Clients
Clients receiving ABA services from LEARN benefit from an organization rooted in clinical integrity. They can trust that their well-being is the top priority and that the interventions and strategies suggested are backed by contemporary, evidence-based behavior analysis. This trust is vital in fostering a strong therapist-client relationship, a cornerstone of successful behavior intervention. Clients experience progress that is not only effective but ethical, ensuring their dignity and respect are upheld throughout their journey.
What does clinical integrity look like each day? Here are a few examples:
- Commitment to Neurodiversity: LEARN’s commitment to contemporary ABA and supporting neurodivergence goes hand-in-hand with clinical integrity by promoting the dignity and respect of all of our clients in all settings and at all times.
- Continuous Professional Development: LEARN offers a monthly Speaker Series and a library of recorded trainings for our clinicians, allowing both behavior technicians (BTs) and behavior analysts access to continuing education on an ongoing basis.
- Adherence to the Ethical Code: The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) Ethics Code and relevant state licensure requirements, as applicable, serve to guide our clinical practice.
- Honesty in Reporting Data: As behavior analysts, we are responsible for maintaining data accurately and honestly.
- Clinical Assessments and Evaluations: Regular assessments and evaluations ensure that practices remain aligned with the latest research and ethical standards. Our clinicians choose from a battery of assessments that includes norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tools that help inform their clinical practice.
A commitment to clinical integrity is at the heart of our practice at LEARN. As we see the field of behavior analysis evolve and as our company continues to grow and change, our support of clinical integrity is our constant. My hope as a leader is for all clinicians to make a renewed commitment to leading with integrity every day. Collectively, a shared commitment to honesty, transparency, and respect will profoundly impact the clients we serve and build trust in the autism community.
Ashley Williams is a Vice President at LEARN Behavioral.
Reviewed by Jocelyn Thompson, LCSW, BCBA
Vice President, Clinical Services, LEARN Behavioral
Discovering that your child has been diagnosed with autism can be an incredibly challenging and emotional experience for parents and caregivers. It can make you feel uncertain, overwhelmed, and worried about what to do next.
It’s important to know that early detection and intervention can not only make a significant difference in your child’s development — but also offer a sense of reassurance and ease for you as a parent.
What Is Early Intervention?
“Early intervention” for children with autism refers to the process of identifying and addressing developmental domains — including social, communication, and behavioral skills — as early as possible in a child’s life. It involves providing specialized support, therapies, and services designed to meet the unique needs of each child with autism.
The age range for early intervention is most effective when started as early as possible, ideally before the age of 3. Research has shown that the earlier a child with autism receives intervention, the better their outcomes are likely to be in terms of improved skills, reduced behaviors that interfere with development and learning, and overall quality of life.
The positive impact of early intervention for children with autism is undeniable. It paves the way for their growth and progress.
Here are five compelling reasons why embracing early intervention can put your mind at ease and set your child on a path toward fulfilling their potential:
1. Early Intervention Can Improve Your Child’s Socialization Skills
Children with autism often struggle with social interaction and communication, which can lead to isolation and difficulties in making friends. Early intervention can help children develop socialization skills by providing opportunities for them to interact with others in a structured and supportive environment. This can include teaching them how to initiate conversations, understand social cues, and form friendships.
2. Early Intervention Helps Improve Your Child’s Communication Skills
Many children with autism struggle with communication — whether it’s speaking, processing language, or using non-verbal cues. Early intervention through applied behavior analysis (ABA) can help children express themselves and better understand others, which can lead to improved socialization and overall quality of life.
3. Early Intervention Helps Your Child Learn Appropriate Behaviors
Sometimes life with autism can be challenging. There can be a fair share of meltdowns and tantrums. Early intervention through ABA addresses these often difficult moments and helps children learn appropriate behaviors and how to strengthen ways to learn and interact with others.
4. Early Intervention Sets Your Child Up for Academic Success
Children with autism can struggle academically, which can lead to frustration and low self-esteem. With the help of early intervention, though, children and families can prepare for future academic success. During early intervention, young learners develop social and communication skills that will benefit them not only in their daily lives but also in the classroom once they enroll in school.
5. Early Intervention Can Improve Family Dynamics
Autism can be challenging not just for the child, but for your entire family. Early intervention supports your family by providing resources and tools to help you better understand and support your child. It can also help reduce stress and improve overall family dynamics between you and your child, as well as your child and their siblings.
These are just a few of the many reasons why early intervention for kids with autism is beneficial. By starting treatment early, children with autism can develop the skills and abilities they need to lead fulfilling and successful lives.
Jocelyn Thompson, LCSW, BCBA, is the vice president of clinical services at LEARN Behavioral. During undergrad, she studied under the direction of Dr. Ivar Lovaas and completed an internship at the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention. Jocelyn has worked with diverse populations as a behavior analyst and social worker for the past 15 years.
For more resources on early intervention, listen to our podcast episode featuring Dr. Geraldine Dawson, co-creator of the Early Start Denver Model, and read our blog on brain plasticity and early intervention written by Ronit Molko, Ph.D., BCBA-D and Dr. Evian Gordon, Chairman and CEO of Brain Resource.
By Ashley Williams, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D
Schedule Transitions Make Sticking to ABA Therapy Even More Important
Anyone in charge of the family calendar knows how important it is to stick to a schedule. It helps keep life on track.
For children on the autism spectrum, a steady schedule is even more important. A daily routine can create a sense of structure and predictability. It can reinforce a sense of stability and allow them to focus better on learning and interacting with others.
When family schedules change — like the transition from summer to back-to-school — it can be anxiety-provoking. The sudden shift from a relaxed summer schedule to a structured school routine can be overwhelming. However, maintaining a consistent daily routine during this transition can help alleviate some of this stress and anxiety.
Back to School and Back to ABA Therapy Services
For children with autism, continuing with applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy when going back to school gives them a big advantage.
It helps to improve social, communication, and learning skills through reinforcement strategies. It also provides them with a set of tools to navigate the complexities of the school environment, helping them to learn how to interact with their peers, follow instructions, and interact in a classroom setting—all of which should be fun.
ABA therapy can be tailored to meet each child’s unique needs and goals, making it an effective way to support their overall development and learning. By incorporating play-based activities and strategies, children not only enjoy themselves but also experience the joy of learning through play.
5 Reasons Why Consistent ABA Services Are Essential
- Skill Maintenance: Consistency in ABA services helps children maintain the skills they have already learned. Without ongoing practice and reinforcement, they may experience skill regression, which can impede their progress. Consistent ABA services reinforce learned skills across different settings.
- Generalization of Skills: ABA services can provide opportunities to practice and generalize their skills in different environments. By working on skills outside the traditional school setting — such as in community settings or during recreational activities — your child can learn to adapt to skills across various real-life situations.
- Individualized Support: Consistent ABA services allow for ongoing individualized support tailored to the specific needs of your child. ABA programs are highly individualized, focusing on the unique goals and interests of each child. Continuity of services allows you and your team to monitor your child’s progress, adjust goals as necessary, and introduce new skills based on your child’s development and needs.
- Behavior Management: Summer break may have introduced changes in routine and increased leisure time, which can sometimes lead to challenging behaviors. As your child goes back to school, consistent ABA services provide behavioral strategies and interventions to address and manage these behaviors effectively. ABA professionals can work closely with you and your child to develop behavior support plans and provide guidance on how to address challenging behaviors as they arise.
- Transition Preparation: For those transitioning to a new school or educational setting in the upcoming academic year, consistent ABA services can facilitate a smoother transition. ABA professionals can focus on specific skills that will support your child’s adjustment to the new environment. That focus can include social skills, communication, and self-help skills. By addressing these areas during times of transition, your child can feel more prepared and confident when starting their new educational journey.
For children with autism, transitioning back to school requires a careful balance between preventing skill regression and having fun. At LEARN, our goal is both. A collaborative relationship between your family and your behavior analyst can help you create a steady schedule that works during this time of transition and sets your child up for ongoing success in school and life.
Ashley Williams is a senior clinical director at LEARN Behavioral.
For more resources about ABA consistency, watch our video “How ABA Therapy Helped Our Children Succeed: Insights from Two BCBA Moms.”
Date Revised: August 29, 2023
Parents and caregivers of children with autism often worry about them making friends.
This is understandable since social deficits are a key part of autism. Children on the spectrum often need support to learn social norms. They may also have difficulty with their behavior when they are with friends. They might need help managing their actions and learning coping skills.
As a new school year begins, how can you help your child make friends? What role should you play in your child’s friendships, and what steps can you take now? Here are five tips.
Step 1: Seek behavioral or therapeutic support.
If your child acts out, especially if it puts them in danger, focus on that first. Find an experienced applied behavior analysis (ABA) provider. A board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) will help your child learn appropriate behaviors. If your child has difficulty communicating, a BCBA can help them learn language and communication skills. This will give your child a foundation for the social skills they need to start making friends.
Step 2: Create social opportunities with siblings or close family members.
Most likely, your child spends a lot of time with brothers, sisters, and close relatives. For this reason, family time can provide opportunities for frequent and focused learning. You can help your child practice these skills. Try activities that involve taking turns and asking to borrow things. Activities can also involve pretending and playing alongside others. They’re all opportunities to build social skills.
For instance, set up a scenario for your child to work on taking turns with family members. Taking turns is important for developing social skills like listening and resolving conflicts. Children learn social rules, like taking turns and sharing, through simple play.
Step 3: Join a support group in your area.
Social media makes it easier than ever to share resources and events. You can also set up play dates for your children. Families can lean on each other for support, share information, and lend a listening ear.
If you’re not part of any online groups, think about joining one. You can connect with other families with children who have autism or special needs. Then, you can take part in similar activities. Often, children with autism join in activities like Special Olympics, sensory Sundays, or local social events.
Families with children in the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) community often become close friends. If possible, find families whose children go to your child’s school. This can help your child feel more comfortable at school, especially in the first days and weeks.
Step 4: Speak with your child’s teacher and IEP team about social goals.
To include social goals in your child’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), take steps now since you can’t go to school with them. Talk to your child’s IEP team about their social skills progress and difficulties. You can also invite their BCBA to IEP meetings. When everyone agrees on what’s important, it sets your child up for success.
Step 5: Plan after-school and weekend activities with other families.
Your ABA provider may also offer after-school social skills groups. Those can give your child a safe and friendly environment in which to socialize. It can also help them practice socializing with peers. Each group has a behavior technician or analyst for personalized support. If your provider offers a social skills group for your child’s age range, consider signing up.
Like your child, you can take part in social events, too, and make friends with fellow parents. School events and parent evenings let you meet and talk with others. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and strike up a conversation. Over time, this sort of interaction can lead to friendships for both you and your child.
As you get ready for the upcoming school year, keep in mind that school is about more than just academics. It’s about fostering friendships. Use these tips to set up your child for friendship success.
For more tips on raising children on the autism spectrum, read our blog post, “Help Your Child Build Friendships With Kids With Autism.”