Carrie Woodward, M.S., B.C.B.A.

ABA Outside of the Therapy Room

I know that most technicians begin their career in ABA right out of college, having usually studied some related field such as psychology or sociology, but usually have very little knowledge of what ABA is. Then as a technician goes through training, they learn all about ABA and how they can implement it in the course of our work with children with developmental disabilities. And as magical as our work with our clients can be (and inspiring and meaningful and amazing), it’s such a small glimpse of the potential of what ABA can do.I hope at this point at least, you have learned that the principles of behavior are universal; they apply to almost every living creature from the simple goldfish to complex human beings (yes, you read that correctly: people have used ABA to train goldfish to swim through hoops). I hope that you have an understanding that most every being on this planet is simply a product of their environment; starting to see the variables that have reinforced and shaped certain behaviors, the punishers that have inhibited and reduced other behaviors. At the very least, you can take the skills you have learned and utilize them with the kids and pets in your life; reinforcing your nephew for listening to you the first time, placing your dog’s barking on extinction. What I hope, though, is a larger understanding of the power of ABA and a desire to learn more. I hope that you share your knowledge with the people in your life. In my opinion, a world made up of people that have more understanding of why humans behave the way that they do is a better, more just world. For me, it has allowed a more generous view of humans; rather than feeling judgmental and angry, I am better able to have compassion for their behavior based on the variables in their life rather than looking at their behavior in a vacuum and ascribing unknown intentions to it. I’m not perfect, and there are definitely times where my feelings override my logic, but I work at it a lot.At this point, I’m sure that you know that all of the BCBAs at CUSP are passionate about ABA. What I hope is that you can start to see that our passion is not limited to the therapy rooms of our clients, but is a fire burning for the potential that ABA has to change our community, our lives, and the world. Call me a dreamer, but especially at times like these, it’s nice to feel hopeful and optimistic.