I began my journey in the field of special needs in 1996. I started working in group homes for those with developmental disabilities. Then, it progressed to day programs and job coaching. I worked full time in a behavioral unit for individuals with DD and severe behaviors. I continued to work part time in group homes. In May 2000, I began working at a school designed specifically for those with autism while still working at group homes and, on my days off, in the behavioral unit. I quickly became a behavior assistant and loved the responsibilities that came with it. Then, I started working for early intervention which I continue to do to this day. Working with special needs started off as a job and ended up as a lifelong career. I found my passion in helping others. I love(d) seeing the progress that each one of my children went/go through. I saw the need for help from the parents and even had some of my students stay with me so their parents could go away on vacation or take a needed break. My daughter loved what I did, and she became involved in special Olympics as a volunteer. In 2021, I became a part of the Golden Care Therapy (GCT) family. Working at GCT has been amazing. They have become my second family. Everyone is so nice and treats you with so much respect. They listen to our concerns and help us navigate any problems we are encountering. My favorite part, if I have to pick one, is that GCT gives us support as BCBAs. As a BCBA there are many challenging parts and the most challenging part for me is not being able to help everyone. There is such a high demand for therapist and BCBAs and it bothers me so much that we are not able to help everyone that needs it. This is the hardest part of being in this field. The best advice I was given was to get my BCBA because others saw my passion to help those with special needs. I loved what I did and did not want to give up the hands-on part of working with my clients. I realized that I did not have to give that up and went for my BCBA. Going from a therapist to a BCBA made me see how hard a therapist job is. So as a BCBA, I always keep my therapist in mind and let them be a part of my decision making. I will never ask them to do anything I would not do; I will jump in and work with my client since this is the best part of my career. Being a BCBA is the best decision I made for my career. I just wish people really knew how much work goes on behind the scenes as a BCBA like the tireless research and all the planning that goes into making individuals treatment plan. There are nights that many BCBAs stay up thinking about what else can we do to help, what more can we do, is there new research on this, am I doing enough, the thoughts go on and on. Then, when you see the progress, you realize that it was/is all worth it. If I could go back and tell my younger self one thing it would have been to tell my self to get your BCBA sooner and not to be so scared of getting it. As a single mother, there were a lot of worries and fears. I wish I conquered them sooner but, in the end, it turned out great. I am now a grandmother 2 two boys and juggling being a grandmother and a BCBA can have its own challenges. Being able to prioritize and make time for both has been my priority and so far, it has been a great adventure that I was able to conquer.
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