Interview with Jennifer Gruber, Behavior Analyst

We sat down with this month’s Gold Star winner Jennifer Gruber to discover what drives her as a Behavior Analyst, what she likes about working for Golden Care Therapy. and what her day-to-day looks like

 

 

 

Tell us a bit about your job as a BCBA.

I love my job! It is the best feeling in the world when a child learns a skill that helps them become more independent. I love being able to break down activities for learners to be as successful as possible. 

How has Golden Care helped you in your career development?

Golden Care works with the nicest and most supportive families. The culture is success oriented for the learner and every employee is supported to continue learning and becoming better as professionals. 

What drew you to Golden Care originally?

With Golden Care, I know that I am valued as an employee. The office and clinical team are always accessible and, as a result, any questions or concerns are resolved quickly. I prefer to deal with a smaller office with a more personal feeling. This has not changed in my time with the company. 

What is the favorite part of your work as a BCBA/working for Golden Care?

It keeps me young! Playing while learning is not only effective for children, but it keeps your own minds active while having fun. Play is serious business. 

What does the day to day of your job look like?

I am a full time special education teacher, so my BCBA job starts in the afternoons. I am so lucky to see most of my clients and their amazing therapists after school and still be home in time to have a quiet relaxing evening. My time with Golden Care is spent modeling programs, training therapists, teaching new skills to parents, and working with some amazing kids. 

 

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Interview with Jayah Washington, ABA Therapist

We sat down with this month’s Gold Star winner Jayah Washington to discover what drives her as an ABA therapist, what she likes about working for Golden Care Therapy. and how she manages her work-life balance

 

 

Tell us a bit about your job as an ABA Therapist

I have bachelors in Speech Pathology & Audiology and love working with children.

How do you balance your career and family?

I always make time for my family rather it’s game night at the house or going to our favorite restaurants.

How has Golden Care helped you in your career development?

Golden Care has given me the opportunity to work with amazing clients and grow so much in the field of behavior therapy.

What advice do you have for prospective Golden Care candidates?

My advice to prospective Golden Care candidates is to always have lots of sensory toys and games on hand .

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

The best advice I have been given is what it’s meant to be will be. I tell my younger self to worry and to not stress over the small stuff.

What is your proudest moment at Golden Care/ in your work as an ABA Therapist?

I love working for Golden Care as an aba therapist and my proudest moment is hearing my client talk for the first time. As a nonverbal client, this meant a lot to me. 

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How to Help Your Child with Autism During the Coronavirus Lockdown

Due to COVID-19, schools and daycare centers in New Jersey and many other States have been closed. This is a stressful and challenging situation for all of us, especially for children with autism and their families.

We know that many of you must be asking yourselves how best to discuss this with your children and how to help them through this difficult period. That’s why we’ve put together this blog, which we hope will provide you with some practical advice and reassurance when it come to supporting your child with ASD during the Coronavirus lockdown. 

Talk to Your Child About the Coronavirus

You’ve no doubt already had plenty of conversations with your child about the coronavirus. However it’s really important that you continue to give them honest but reassuring information, while also debunking rumors or any inaccurate information they’ve heard from elsewhere. 

When having these conversations, make sure it’s your child that is leading them. Ask them questions like:

  • What has he/she heard about coronavirus?
  • How does he/she feel about it?
  • How do you feel about school closing?

Have some reassuring answers prepared. This will make sure you’re not caught off guard and say anything that may worry them further. It’s a good chance for you to quell their worries, set some expectations, and also connect with them. 

Look After Yourself

It’s perfectly normal for your child to be struggling to comprehend or come to terms with the current situation. However, you can help them by leading by example. 

If you have anxiety about the virus, try to work through it with exercise, mindful activities, or whatever else you may need. As you know, children with ASD are extremely perceptive and can pick up on doubt or panic in others. 

We completely understand that as a caregiver, it’s in your nature to put your child’s needs before your own. However, taking care of yourself shouldn’t be taken for granted at this time. It creates a brighter atmosphere for you and your child and the rest of your family. 

Make Washing Their Hands as Fun as Possible

Hand washing may be mandatory, but you can make it as fun as possible for your child. We’re all aware of the 20-second rule set out by the World Health Organization (WHO). To make this less of a chore for your child, get into the habit of singing a song when they wash their hands. 

Here’s a website where you can generate your own handwashing poster with lyrics from a 20-second segment of a song. You can use this if your child has a favorite song or artist or, if your child is a bit younger, here’s some nursery rhymes you can use.

Keep Up a Routine 

Get your child up at the same time as if they were going to school and then start setting a routine for the rest of the day. This can include things like study time, lunchtime, playtime, backyard time and screen time, which can all be spaced out at the same time each day.

You can even sit down with your child and write out a new routine together, one where school work is still a priority but there are still some fun activities, too.

Look Out For Signs of Anxiety

You know your child better than anyone. Therefore, you’ll be able to spot any anxiety, ill temperament, or frustration in them very quickly. Again, this to be expected during this time period. 

If you do get in this situation or are generally struggling, it may be worth joining some autism support groups or finding parents in similar situations on social media. Remember, many people are in the exact same situation you are and may be able to offer solutions or a general outlet. We’re all in this together!

Overall, Just Be There For Them

This is a difficult period for everyone. However, by looking after yourself, remaining calm and open, and offering all the love and support that all of us parents provide to our children, we’ll be sure to get through this period without any major difficulties.

Featured image photo by Sandie Clarke on Unsplash

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Behavior Tech & Registered Behavior Technician Jobs in NJ

Working with children with autism is an extremely rewarding career. While the work can be challenging at times, no two days are ever the same. And with children in New Jersey having the highest rate of autism in the country, there is more demand than ever for talented and passionate professionals.

Who are we

We’re Golden Care Therapy, an in-home ABA therapy provider servicing children with autism and their families across New Jersey. Our mission is to help children with autism to live happy, independent and fulfilling lives. We do this by equipping them with the mental, physical and emotional skills they need to help them thrive. 

It’s thanks to the dedication and professionalism of our fantastic therapists that we’re able to deliver this mission. Our BCBAs take the time to truly personalize all of our clients’ treatment plans, to ensure every child receives the best possible therapy for their needs. While our Behavior Techs and Registered Behavior Technicians have the freedom to deliver the therapy on the ground how they see best.     

About the job

As a Behavior Tech or Registered Behavior Technician, you’ll be working on the front line, delivering ABA therapy in-home to the children that we work with. You’ll be supervised by an experienced BCBA and will base your therapy sessions on the treatment plans that they develop. This will involve running therapy sessions, tracking data and ensuring the client’s goals are being met, as well as working closely with their parents every step of the way.

Here’s what what we require from our candidates

  • Minimum 6 months experience in the ABA field
  • Reliable transportation
  • Ability to work well, and relate to children in a compassionate and effective manner
  • Integrity and reliability

In return, you’ll receive the following from us:

  • Flexible, per diem hours- take on as much or as little as you want!
  • Great hourly compensation!
  • Excellent clinical/ supervisory team
  • Client base within your local area

Our locations

We provide in-home ABA therapy throughout New Jersey, so have openings available across the state. Some of our in-demand areas include:

  • Atlantic County
  • Bergen County
  • Burlington County
  • Camden County
  • Cape May County
  • Cumberland County
  • Essex County
  • Gloucester County
  • Hudson County
  • Hunterdon County
  • Mercer County
  • Middlesex County
  • Monmouth County
  • Morris County
  • Ocean County
  • Passaic County
  • Salem County
  • Somerset County
  • Sussex County
  • Union County
  • Warren County

How to apply

If you’re interested in joining the team here at Golden Care Therapy, then you can apply for a Behavior Technician role on our careers page here

What if you’re not a Registered Behavior Technician but want to become one?

The Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT) is a paraprofessional qualification in behavioral analysis. It requires training, competency assessments and the successful completion of an exam. The below infographic, courtesy of the Behavior Analysis Certification Board, shows the steps required in becoming a BRT.       

Registered Behavior Technician training infographic

Featured image by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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A Complete List of Autism Walks, Runs and Rides in New Jersey in 2020

Autism walks, rides and runs are a great way to be active, have fun and raise money for a cause that’s close to all of our hearts.

There are a large number of autism walks in New Jersey each year, as well as rides and runs, so everyone has the chance to participate no matter their fitness level.

In this article, we’ve put together a list of all the big events that are happening in NJ in 2020.

Autism Walks

There are two organizations that organize the major autism walks in NJ: Autism Speaks and POAC.

POAC Autism Walks

POAC is hosting the following walks in the following locations in 2020:

  • Lakewood, Ocean County – 11am, Saturday, May 9th 2020
  • Woodbridge, Middlesex County – 11am, Saturday, May 16th 2020
  • Ewing, Mercer County – 11am, Sunday, May 17th 2020
  • Sayreville, Middlesex County – 11am, Saturday, May 30th 2020
  • Manahawkin, Ocean County – 11am, Sunday, May 31st 2020
  • North Jersey, Passaic County – 11am, Sunday, June 7th 2020

You can either join a team, start your own team, or come and walk on your own. Find out more information and sign up here.

Autism Speaks Walks

This year’s Autism Speaks walks are being held on the following dates in these locations:

  • South Jersey Walk, Mount Laurel – 10:15am, Saturday, May 30th 2020
  • Northern New Jersey Walk, East Rutherford – 10:30am, Sunday, May 31st 2020
  • New Jersey Shore Walk, Long Branch – 11:30am, Saturday, October 3rd 2020
  • Union and Morris County Walk, Cranford – 11:30am, Sunday, October 4th 2020
  • Central New Jersey, Trenton – 10:30am, Sunday, October 11th 2020

You can view all of their walks and sign up here, either as part of a team, as your own team, or just by yourself.

Autism Rides and Runs

This year there are a number of autism rides and runs in New Jersey. Here’s a list of the main events.

Ride for Autism

Ride for Autism NJ is the biggest event of its kind in the region and is now in its 20th year, having raised more than $880,000 during that time.

All ability levels are catered for, with riders having a choice between six routes, ranging in length from 5 to 100 miles. 

And to celebrate the event’s 20th anniversary, there will also be a 5K fun run/walk, which is open to all abilities. 

  • Location: Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ
  • Date: Saturday, June 13th 2020

Go the Distance for Autism

Go the Distance for Autism is another major fundraising event for autism in NJ. It offers a choice between different bike rides and a fun run.

For cyclists, you have the choice between 10, 25 and 50-mile events through Bergen County, while runners can take part in a 5K fun run.

  • Location: Bergen Community College, Paramus, NJ
  • Date: Sunday, June 7th 2020

Eden Autism 5K

The Eden Autism 5K is the biggest fundraising event that’s organized each year by the non-profit special education school. Join more than 1,500 runners and walkers who take part in the race each year.

  • Location: The Eden School, Princeton, NJ
  • Date: Sunday, October 4th 2020 

Want to explore more NJ autism resources?

Visit our blog directory for more New Jersey autism resources. Or if you would like to find out more about the ABA services we provide to children with autism, you can get in touch here.

Featured image photo by Mārtiņš Zemlickis on Unsplash

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5 Ways to Help Your Child with Autism on Valentine’s Day

We all hold precious memories of Valentine’s Days from our childhoods. Cupid hearts, handmade cards and crafts, and more candy than was ever sensible to eat. But while they form a part of our cherished childhood memories, Valentine’s Day can create difficulties for children with autism. However, with some careful planning, you can ensure that your son, daughter or child in your class with ASD can form their own special memories of the big day.

Autism and Valentine’s Day – possible problems

Firstly, it’s important to understand the potential triggers that can accompany the day, which can include:

  • A break from routine
  • Different social norms and signals
  • Unfamiliar words and phrases
  • Unusual decorations and displays  
  • Group activities with unclear purposes

While it’s of course impossible to avoid all of these, there are however plenty of steps you can take to help prepare your child. And in this article I’ve listed what I consider to be the five most important, which any parent or carer can do.  

1. Write a Valentine’s Day social story

Social stories are short descriptions of a particular situation or activity which provides specific information on what to expect and why. For children with autism these can really help to build greater social understanding of everyday situations. It does this by enabling them to visualize and predict their role and its outcome.

First developed by the therapist Carol Gray, the great thing about social stories is that anyone can write one about any situation. All you need to do is consider the end goal of the story and what your child needs to understand to achieve this. You then create a story and place your child as a key character within it. 

So for a Valentine’s Day social story, you could write a story that has the end goal of your child giving Valentine’s cards to classmates. The story would show the significance behind this gesture, by explaining how other children feel when they receive these cards.

2. Incorporate your child’s specific interests

Incorporating your child’s interests is a great way to get them to engage with the day. So if your child loves Frozen they could draw their favorite character on the cards that they make. Or alternatively you could buy some cards that feature this.   

It’s also important to bear in mind, particularly on a day like Valentine’s Day, that your child may form friendships based on shared interests. Meanwhile, they may be less engaged in the emotional side of relationships. Therefore, ensuring that their specific interests take a lead role in their creativity and gift giving helps to ensure that your child remains engaged in these activities.    

3. Plan ahead with the school

As with any change of routine, these need to be planned carefully, by giving your child plenty of notice. So check with the school what Valentine’s Day activities they’re planning on doing and when. Make sure you get all the small details from the school as well. This includes things like the decorations they plan on putting up and any colored clothing that children are going to be encouraged to wear.  

Once you know the schedule for this, you can gradually increase your child’s exposure to this in the days running up to it. You can also incorporate elements of what the school has planned into a Valentine’s Day social story, as discussed above.

4. Prepare for specific activities with role plays 

As with social stories, role plays are another great way to “learn by doing”. This helps children with ASD to familiarize themselves with common social interactions. This in turn helps to equip them with the language and actions that are required to engage appropriately when in these situations.   

To prepare for Valentine’s Day, you could role play giving out cards to classmates, where you and other family members play the part of the classmates. This can help your child to practice what they say and how they act when they do this. Once you’ve completed this role play, reverse it so you’re giving cards to your child. This will help them learn how to process receiving cards as well as giving them.

5. Discuss the meaning behind Valentine’s Day

All of the above steps are of course quite abstract, so it’s important that you also discuss the meaning behind Valentine’s Day. How you do this and the level of detail you go into will depend on your child’s age and level of development. 

However, the most important aspect to get across is that Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the people in our lives that are the most important to us. This can therefore be used as a great way for your child to identify all the people in their life that are special to them.

Want to explore more autism resources for parents?

For more autism resources for families in New Jersey, visit our blog directory. Or if you would like to find out more about the ABA services we provide to children with autism, you can get in touch here.

Featured image photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash

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Interview with Leon Yin, BCBA

We sat down with this month’s Gold Star winner Leon Yin to discover what drives him as a BCBA, what he likes about working for Golden Care Therapy, and what’s the best advice he’s ever been given.

Tell us a bit about your job as a BCBA

I see my job as creating a collaborative environment between BCBA, tech, and parents so that the client can benefit from the involvement of all parties.

What drove you to the BCBA profession?

I began my career as a special ed/ABA teacher over a decade ago. I became a BCBA so I could have the education and credentials to better serve my students.  As a BCBA and teacher, I am able to observe my students everyday and get a better overall picture.

How has Golden Care helped you in your career development?

The flexible schedule allows me to work and at the same time finish graduate school.

What do you find the most challenging in your work as a BCBA?

Working with other professionals who use non-evidence based interventions.

What have you gained from working at Golden Care?

CGT provides a supportive working environment that allows me to be able to concentrate on providing the best service to my clients.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t talk so much when working with people with communication deficits.

What is the favorite part of your work as a BCBA/ of working for Golden Care?

My interactions with the clients.

What is your proudest moment at Golden Care/ in your work as a BCBA?

Seeing kids learn new skills and having parents realize their kids’ potential.

If you’re interested in our services, you can find out more information about our in-home ABA therapy in New Jersey here. Or for job openings, you can view our BCBA therapy jobs NJ here.

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A Parents Guide to the New Jersey Autism Registry

The New Jersey Autism Registry was created in 2007 with the aim of improving access to autism services in the state. However, while the registry is intended to benefit those with autism, we find that some families have concerns about this. Therefore, we’ve written a brief guide to the NJ autism registry for parents.  

What’s the purpose of the registry?

The NJ autism registry has two purposes. Firstly, it connects families to specialist child health management services provided at the county level, as well as other autism support groups and resources. Many of these services are free to use, but you must be registered in order to access them.

Secondly, it’s used to provide insight and statistical data on the rate of autism diagnosis within New Jersey. This helps the state to better forecast demand for services and make more informed decisions.       

Who’s added to the registry?

All New Jersey residents under the age of 22 who are diagnosed with ASD.

How do I register my child? 

Your primary health care provider and/or the diagnosing doctor will add your child to the registry. Health care professionals should be proactive with this. However, you can facilitate this by informing them of it if they haven’t discussed it with you in the immediate sessions after a diagnosis. They must obtain a signed written statement from you before they add your child to the registry.

Once your child is registered, you will receive informational documents in the post, detailing the services in your area that you can access.

Can I refuse to have my child registered?

No, the registry is mandatory. You can, however, request an anonymous registration. But if you choose to do this then you will not have access to the services discussed above.  

Is the data confidential?

Yes, all data is kept confidential and is not shared with any other government agencies or organizations, other than to facilitate access to the service mentioned above. 

Is this the same thing as the New Jersey Autism Mandate?

No, this is a separate piece of legislation that provides protection for families when accessing autism services through their health insurance policies. You can read our guide to the New Jersey Autism Mandate for more information on this.  

How do I find out more information?

The New Jersey Department of Health website provides more information about the registry here

Want to explore more autism resources for parents?

Visit our blog directory for more New Jersey autism resources here. Or if you would like to find out more about the ABA services we provide to children with autism, you can get in touch here.

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Interview with Nicole D’Agostino, BCBA

GCT: Hi Nicole, please tell us a bit about your job as a BCBA.

ND: I’ve been a behaviorist in schools as well as in the home. When I make suggestions for children, whether it’s in the home or in school, not only do I utilize strategies that have been proven successful, but I also make sure they can be implemented within that setting and that they’re appropriate for the child. I enjoy doing assessments because you really learn a lot about each child and their family, but I also love watching children interact with their therapists and seeing relationships being built.

GCT: What drove you to the BCBA profession?

ND: I started as a paraprofessional for students with autism. It was so interesting and rewarding for me. I had my certificate in general education but immediately started looking into becoming a BCBA after working with amazing behaviorists at the school for students with autism.

GCT: How has Golden Care helped you in your career development?  

ND: I’ve learned so much about the assessment procedure since I started at Golden Care and more about insurance and billing. I’ve met so many helpful and supportive people.

GCT: What advice do you have for prospective Golden Care candidates?  

ND: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, be open minded and flexible. Also, if you don’t have passion for this field and a desire to learn more, then it may not be the right field for you. I feel that in order to enjoy and succeed in this field, you must start out invested because you’re working with someone’s child and you need to be patient and committed.

GCT: What do you find the most challenging in your work as a BCBA?

ND: Ensuring continuity and consistency between sessions and within the home can be very challenging.

GCT: What drew you to Golden Care originally? And how has Golden Care changed since?

ND:  I found the posting and as soon as I met with the director, I was drawn in by how organized and supportive the staff were. There is always someone willing to answer questions and assist in solving problems.

GCT: What have you gained from working at Golden Care?

ND: I’ve gained more knowledge and confidence in this field and I’ve been able to work with amazing staff and families, and watch children grow and make progress.   

GCT: What is the favorite part in your work as a BCBA/of working for Golden Care?
ND: I love studying behavior. I love figuring out what a child needs or developing an intervention and seeing it make a difference. I love when a child masters a new skill or the pride on their parents’ faces. And I love making a connection with a parent and the look of happiness on their face when they feel understood.

GCT: What is your proudest moment at Golden Care/in your work as a BCBA?

ND: Receiving this award, it means so much to be recognized.

GCT: What is one thing that you wished people knew about your job?

ND: I wish people realized how much of an emotional investment it is. You don’t forget about the cases when you’re at home. And every child is different. No intervention or recommendations are identical because there are so many factors in each case that affect how a child learns and grows.

GCT: What does the day to day of your job look like?

ND: I’m a fulltime teacher in a behavioral disabilities class. So usually, I’m teaching all day and then I transport my children where they need to be while I attend a case and then come home and care for my family before I go to bed and do it all over again. But my career is very fulfilling and I know I am doing exactly what I am meant to do.

GCT: How do you balance your career and family? 

ND: This field is very flexible and I have a supportive husband and family that watch my children when I need them to.

GCT:  What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

ND: To have confidence in myself.

GCT: Thank you for your time Nicole and congratulations again on being January’s Golden Star Award winner. Please keep up all the great work that you do, we really appreciate everything you do for our clients.

If you would like more information on autism resources for families in New Jersey, visit our blog directory. Or if you would like to find out more about the ABA services we provide to children with autism, you can get in touch here.

 

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The Science Behind ABA Therapy

Receiving an autism diagnosis can be a big shock for any family. Once you’ve had time to process the news, the coming weeks and months will most likely be taken up by researching what’s the most effective autism therapy for your child.

If you’ve already started this research, then you’ll know that the sheer amount of advice and treatment options out there can be overwhelming. But while there is a near endless amount of choices, ABA therapy is scientifically proven to be an evidence based best practice treatment.

How ABA therapy works

ABA treatment is based on proven scientific theories from the behavior field of psychology, including positive reinforcement and Antecedent-Behavior-Consequences (ABC). Essentially, ABA seeks to encourage desired behavior through a system of rewards and consequences.

Positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement helps to encourage specific behaviors through rewards: 

  • An ABA therapist identifies a skill that requires improvement
  • The skill is then taught to the child, and as the child engages in the desired skill they gain access to reinforcing items
  • Over time, these rewards encourage the child to continue engaging in the targeted skills 

Antecedent-behavior-consequences

This is a scientific model which helps us understand what triggers certain behaviors and how different consequences can affect whether it will happen again. An antecedent is what happens before a behavior occurs and a consequence is what happens afterwards. For example   

  • Antecedent: You ask your child to get ready for bed
  • Behavior: Your child refuses 
  • Consequences: You lose your temper and your child gets upset 

With ABA therapy, we can use this model of behavior to encourage a better outcome, such as:

  • Antecedent: You ask your child to get ready for bed
  • Behavior: Your child asks if they can finish what they’re doing
  • Consequences: You let your child finish what they’re doing before bed time

Using DATA to track progress

ABA therapy is grounded in scientific principles. Therefore, the collection and use of data is vital in order to constantly monitor progress and optimize the treatment plan. 

Data is used to carefully track outcomes from the above two approaches, as well as to monitor all behavior goals. Ultimately, all future changes and modifications to the treatment plan can then be based on data. The treatment plan can therefore be personalized to the specific needs of your child.

Is ABA scientifically proven?

Yes, ABA is scientifically proven to be an effective therapy for the treatment of autism. Both the US Surgeon General and the American Psychological Association consider it an evidenced based best practice treatment.

In addition to this, more than a dozen scientific, federal and state organizations have classified ABA therapy as a best practice approach to treating autism.

Over 20 studies have proven that ABA therapy delivered for between 1 to 3 years, improves outcomes for many children with autism. These improved outcomes include intellectual functioning, language development and social functioning.

What to find out more about ABA therapy?

We’ve written a wide range of resources to help parents discover more about ABA therapy, including:

Or if you would like to find out more about the ABA services we provide to children with autism, you can get in touch here.

Featured image photo by Maxime Bhm on Unsplash

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