ABA: Told By a Practitioner

Welcome to LKFOA Becca Adams!

Becca and I met when my son began getting ABA in 2009 and she worked with both of my children until she moved to the DC area.  Thanks for all of your hard work with my kiddos.


I began my journey in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in 2004 at a special needs Hebrew School just outside of Boston, MA. I was assigned as an aide for a little boy and the supervisor told me, “He has Autism so he wanders around the classroom and gets upset if you interrupt him.” I didn’t know anything about Autism and was a little nervous so I sought out advice from the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) on staff. She reiterated that he may become upset with me if I interrupt a preferred activity, but that didn’t mean I SHOULDN’T interrupt. She told me that while, initially, he may become upset, in the long run I would be teaching him an extremely valuable skill of tolerating interruptions.

I followed her advice, and after a couple of days of building rapport with him, I started to interrupt his activities little by little. The first day was rough! He screamed loud enough to make his teacher turn around and glare at me. The second day was rough, as were the third, fourth, and fifth days. But by the sixth day, he began to tolerate my interruptions and by the end of the year, he was tolerating me redirecting him to an entirely different activity. I was so impressed with his progress that I spoke to the BCBA again and asked her to fill me in on the field of ABA.

She explained to me that ABA is a field with a wide use of applications, but that currently, it was primarily used with children on the Autism Spectrum. It involves the use of positive reinforcement in combination with systematic teaching of small, discrete steps to larger skills. Armed with this information, I continued to seek out jobs in the field of ABA.

Through college, I saw the field expand and awareness of Autism increase. I chose to continue in the field – becoming a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCABA) in 2010. I’m currently finishing up graduate school and plan to sit for my BCBA in August.

As I’ve implemented ABA treatment plans in homes, in schools, and in communities, I’ve seen the impact ABA can have on individuals and on families. Small changes in the parents respond to their child’s behavior in the moment can drastically change their child’s behavior in the long term. While ABA is by no means going to cure a child of Autism, and it definitely won’t solve all of a family’s frustrations and stresses, it is a method that can help a child with Autism function in a world that can be challenging and confusing.


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