Here at Skybound Therapies, we have been fortunate to have received funding through Jobs Growth Wales to create a new position for an 18-24 year old who was out of work. We have loved being part of the scheme and here Cazine tells her story!
When I was younger I couldn’t see what career path I would follow when I looked into the future. Growing up, my friends would discuss their’s and set their goals. I simply couldn’t find any. Every career I was advised to do, or was recommended to me just wasn’t right. I wanted to help people and was fascinated by behaviour, no career seemed to match.
I took a diploma in Motor Vehicle Technology, and learnt a lot of handy skills, but it wasn’t right for me. I proceeded on completing an NVQ 1 and 2 in Hairdressing, barbering and beauty. I enjoyed this, but could I do it for the rest of my life and feel as though I have achieved my goals? No. I then took a job as a karaoke host, this was amazing, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it was always a ‘for now’ job.
One day I felt failure. I have two beautiful children and a lovely home. but I was feeling as if I am never going to fulfil my desires and dreams in the career path, as there was simply no career that matched my desires. Or so I thought…..
I picked up my laptop and started searching, I used keywords like ‘helping people’ and ‘behaviour’. A counselling degree with the open university was always the first link on the search engine, after a while of thinking, I decided to apply, after all being a counsellor helps people and looks at behaviours. As I was hovering over the submit button, I thought to myself ‘Surely there’s something more that I can do, I don’t want to be sat behind a desk, i want to get involved, get to the roots of these behaviours by experiencing them’. I opened another tab and searched for the same keywords as before but this time ‘behaviour technician’ caught my eye. I was so excited and intrigued. It was a job role that was advertised through Jobs Growth Wales, by Skybound Therapies. I did lots of research, I found that Skybound therapies uses Applied Behaviour Analysis, Positive Behaviour Support, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy and Social Skills with children, adolescents and adults with Autism and related conditions. I couldn’t believe it, a job role that suited me entirely, and it was based here in Pembrokeshire? I applied instantly.
I got the job, and have been here five months. I feel euphoric! It is the most rewarding job for me that I could ever do. However, I was still entering the job with only just finding out about the world of ABA that I have never known before. I had training to complete on Relias Learning, this was 40 hours of video courses, questions and exams. Sounds daunting, but it was fantastic. Each video was focusing on each individual aspect of the job, and gave me a much wider understanding behind it all and the importance of it. I started working with clients and continued my training in between. I found by having a mixture of practical experience by working with the clients, and doing the online training it was so much easier for me to put my training into perspective as I was learning it. I understood the videos and could practise them!
Every client is different
This statement couldn’t be anymore accurate. Everything we do is purely based on each individual. We don’t have one big set programme that we follow with every client, each client has a program suited for them personally and to suit the parents/carers desires. I find it incredibly fascinating to see how much work the BCBA’s put into creating the specifically tailored programme to suit the client.
Some programmes may include some Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Academic Skills Etc. The aim is to increase appropriate behaviours (such as cooperation, toilet training, developing speech, academic skills and the list goes on!) and decrease inappropriate or challenging behaviours such as aggressive behaviour, property destruction, PICA, self injury and self stimulation.
Teaching social skills is a significant role in this job. An individual needs to be able to communicate whether they use Verbal Communication, Sign Language, Prologue or Visually. If a client can express something, and we understand what they would like etc. The problematic behaviour that stems from the client wanting something will decrease if we teach the appropriate way to gain an item and reinforce that!
There are so many benefits from teaching each skill to a client, there are so many I could really ramble on forever!
The difficult aspects for me personally are that, parents and carers can experience being debilitated, and I feel as though I cannot do enough. We all experience days where we are more tired than usual, but under the circumstances for the parents and carers their situation is magnified. Sometimes they may forget an item for therapy, or haven’t had time to print out the data sheets and they worry so much about this. I feel as though I just want to tell them it’s ok, it doesn’t matter in the slightest and I wish I could banish all of their worries and send them to a spa hotel that these inspirational parents ultimately deserve. Obviously I cannot do that due to boundaries, so instead I let this drive me to become a better technician for their child.
The same applies for when I experience some challenging behaviours like spitting, hitting, biting and hair pulling. At the beginning I found this somewhat overwhelming, as I’m simply not used to it. But that says it all, I am NOT used to this. Parents/ carers are used to it, and it hits me that this is what I’m here for. I need to focus on taking ABC data on these behaviours (Anteceedent, behaviour and consequence) to find out the function of the behaviour so we can implement strategies on decreasing the inappropriate and increasing the appropriate. This way I am indeed helping the parents and carers experiences less of these behaviours!
My favourite part, the perks of the job
Where do I start… We get to know our clients individually, we pair with them. So when we turn up to our therapy session they are excited to see us! When I go to a session to find the client waiting at the window for me, it makes me feel amazing.
Watching their progress is just incredible as well, I finally feel complete and successful. No matter what obstacles we’ve overcome or barriers we’ve had to tear down, when you see progress in a client, that has to be the most rewarding part of it all.
The team here at Skybound Therapies is incredible, I have received so much support in every way from all of the team, including the fellow technicians I work with, the SALT’s, O.T’s and BCBA’s. Risca is dedicated to keeping employees happy and striving, with regular meetings to focus on our own well being, and constant offers of support. Not to mention the outstanding amounts of training courses that are offered. I am certainly fulfilling my goal of wanting to learn. We are also kept upto date with the best scientific methods of ABA etc.
My Journey of becoming a Behaviour technician is ongoing and amazing, I cannot wait to see what the future brings.