Sunday, May 28, 2017

To BCBA or Not to BCBA?

What a loaded question.

At least in my opinion it is. When I finished my Masters in December 2013 I was certain I was finished with school forever. I knew I had zero interest in getting my Doctorate because I have zero interest in writing a dissertation.

Fast forward to about late 2015. I've been working with an autism pre-school class for 4 years now. I have students receiving Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) supports both outside of the classroom and in the classroom, and if I didn't already realize what an integral part functional behavioral analysis played into programming for students with autism, it's now even more crystal clear. In fact, I think the coursework in preparation for my autism teaching certificate should have incorporated WAY MORE on an ABA approach than the little scratching the surface on behaviors that it did.

As the value of this instruction was becoming clearer and clearer to me I was starting to feel that I NEEDED to be better equipped with this knowledge to better meet the needs of my students. I needed to go deeper than my current understanding.

But what did that mean? What would that look like? Where could I take the classes? And what were they going to cost me?

As with any other unknown in my adult life, I took to Google.

I searched "ABA coursework" and the results gave me various Universities offering programs. A majority of which are online programs-- perfect! Truthfully, I didn't look into them all. Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) came up at the top, and I may have clicked around 1 or 2 others after that one. This kind of stuff can easily overwhelm me so from there I thought to seek recommendations. FIT was recommended to me based on quality and affordability. I now knew that when I was ready to start, FIT would be my choice.

Time passed. And passed, and passed, and passed. I never enrolled. I almost enrolled, then we were moving and I decided not to enroll. September 2016 I began teaching in a new school district with students with autism grades pre-k, kindergarten, and first all in the same room. {My current teaching position} and we have a contract with a company where a BCBA comes to the classroom weekly, to support myself with what's going on the classroom. What a resource we're lucky to have! She'd continually nudge me about the exam and what success she thought I'd have with it, but I had to continually remind her that I needed the coursework.

WELL she finally nudged me one last time and I did it. I registered for class. What felt like out of the blue one weekend before registration ended, but really was something that had been building for quite some time.

My initial searches started out as simply completing my ABA coursework and stopping there. Now that I have a better understanding of what all of that means I have decided "to BCBA"! Why spend all the time and effort in the courses and not sit for the certification exam. It will be a long road---hopefully not too long though!

So far I'm very satisfied with the course structure of FIT and while at moments I feel like I'm drowning with coursework and paperwork for school I know I'll manage through.

Are you a BCBA or in the process? What was your experience like and where did you take your classes? I'd love to know!   

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