Top 3 Challenges for New Behavior Technicians
As Behavior Technicians, we have a multifaceted job description that comes with many successes and challenges. While helping our clients to learn often feels extremely rewarding, there are some aspects of the position make the learning curve steep for new Behavior Technicians. I have listed the top 3 challenges for new Behavior Technicians or people new to the field of ABA experience followed by my advice for conquering those challenges.
- Applying Newly Learned ABA Strategies into Practice
After completing my training, I embarked on my new position as a Behavior Technician. I reread my job description, excited to begin my journey in the field of ABA. Although I studied hard and felt confident in my knowledge, I arrived at my first client’s home asking myself, “Am I prepared enough?” Now that I am in my second year as a Behavior Technician, I realize that the feeling of unpreparedness is actually quite common in this position.
Using my newly acquired knowledge (e.g., specific strategies in ABA) and determining how to apply them to my client felt overwhelming. Before focusing on application, it is important to learn about your client first such as knowing their likes, dislikes and current skill set. Once you understand more about your client, you will have a better idea for which strategies are the most effective to use in order to reach their goals and engage in socially significant behaviors.
If you still have questions for the implementation of programs or about your client, you should always ask for support from your supervisor. It will take time and practice to successfully implement some strategies. Be patient with yourself, keep learning, and do not give up.
- Parent Training
Providing parent training can be one of the many parts of a Behavior Technician’s job description. Parent training allows you time to teach the guardian/caregiver concepts and strategies that are effective with the client, which are often based on the Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) and skill acquisition goals. When I started as a Behavior Technician, I felt that giving a successfully parent training was a huge expectation that I needed to meet because the guardians are relying on me to assist them with their child’s learning and behavior. That expectation left me feeling nervous about my abilities to do the job effectively.
As I think back to that moment, the most valuable advice I can give for anyone starting as a new Behavior Technician or on a new case is to always do the following:
- Build rapport with the client and family
- Maintain professionalism
- Always refer to your supervisor
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions to your supervisor
By building rapport with the client and their family you are getting to know them and their needs while building trust with them. It is important to maintain your professionalism since it is important to establish and engage in professional boundaries. If the parent has concerns or questions that you do not know the answer to you will need to consult your supervisor. It is okay to not always have the answers to all of their questions and it will take a lot practice to become good at this skill. It will also take time so remember to be patient with yourself and know that you will start feeling more fluent in your role with practice.
- Feeling Overwhelmed when Challenging Behaviors Occur
There will be times when the client engages in challenging behavior which may last for long periods of time or vary in intensity. You may feel that progress is regressing or that you are not doing your job correctly because of the challenging behavior that is occurring. Although this can feel overwhelming, one of the most important pieces of advice I have for working in the field of ABA is to be patient.
Be patient with your client.
Be patient with their families.
Your supervisor will collaborate with you and support you to determine which strategies to use to decrease the challenging behavior. Remember that we all have good days as well as bad days and it is important to remain patient and remember that progress will come in time.
These are the top 3 challenges for new Behavior Technicians. Be sure to also check out our other blog posts on the website that are geared specifically towards Behavior Technicians: