What Are 5 Tips to Be An All Star Behavior Technician?

Introduction

Have you ever wondered what it takes to work with people who are neurodiverse?

What are the traits that a person has to have to be a successful Behavior Technician?
Are you familiar with what a Behavior Technician is or does?

Well, whether you’re someone who is looking to get into the field of healthcare, education Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a parent who wants to know what to look for in a service provider, or just someone who wants to to gain more knowledge on the subject, Autism Behavior Services, Inc. has “5 Tips to Be An All Star Behavior Technician”!

What is a behavior technician?

First off, a Behavior Technician is somebody who works with clients on the Autism Spectrum. In schools they can work in small groups and in the home they generally work one on one with clients of varying ages.

In working with clients, a behavior technician employs Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA is the study and application of principles of behavior discovered through the Analysis of Behavior to socially significant behaviors in the natural environment. It is a way to manage behaviors so that people can engage more positively with their environments, while managing the challenging behaviors that might create issues for them across multiple environments.

A Behavior Technician is just one part of the clinical team. They have a supervisor guiding them known as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). The Behavior Technician collects data across a series of programs that they run with the person they are working with. This data is parsed by the BCBA and from there changes can be made to the clients program.

The Behavior Technician technically only works with the client they are assigned to. However, especially in the home, you also work with the family to make sure that there is consistency in how programs are being run with the client.

Tips to become an all-star behavior technician

Everybody is different and everybody has certain strengths. As a Behavior Technician for the past 14 years, I have found myself in many different situations. The following 5 tips are what has helped me, I believe, be effective in the field with the clients and families I serve.

This is the cornerstone to being successful as a Behavior Technician. As someone who goes into people’s homes, a school setting, or even works in the community with a client, being there and being present is of paramount importance.

It isn’t just enough for parents to know that they can count on you, the person that you directly work with needs to know that, too. Once you have their trust, that will open doors to creating a relationship, and achieving goals with your client that you might never have realized were possible. Your reliability is your reliable way to success. Think about how you felt when you went to school. You wanted to know that your teacher, friends and other important people were going to be there.

The same is true of a behavior interventionist. Whether it’s in the home, school, or clinical setting, the behavior interventionist is often the first person the client and their families see. Your reliability goes a long way toward making their day and sessions successful ones.

We are working with clients for their well being and social/emotional skills. The mood we give off when we walk into a home, school, or community session, sets the tone for how things are going to go during our sessions. Parents and children look for us to be leaders in this department. You know the saying where there’s a will there’s a way? Well, it’s true and having a positive mindset, and sharing it with our clients, will make all the difference when things inevitably get tough in a session, because your positivity will make things not seem as rough for everyone.

In my sessions, when a client shows hesitancy towards doing something or going somewhere new, having a relaxed, positive attitude helps me and them. They see that what they are doing isn’t a big deal, and by remaining positive and offering praise, that generally makes them want to do whatever thing it is that’s causing them to be hesitant.

Some tricks to underscore being positive are to provide a timer so that the client knows how long they might be asked to do something. Being positive about the amount of time will help the client see that they really don’t have to do this non-preferred task for that long. In the future this very thing will probably be a lot easier for the client to do and it was all made possible because of YOUR positivity.

In short, be flexible. This is something that we work on all the time with our clients. We even have programs and social stories that spend a great deal of time working on this very skill. Being flexible isn’t just for people who are neurodiverse.

It’s for EVERYONE and when you work in education or the healthcare field, the best mindset is an “all hands on deck” approach. Your family needs to move a session, don’t be upset about having to cover a different session — it happens. (It can also introduce you to a new client that you can learn about and potentially work with in the future). The setting of a session changes last minute… again, it happens. The key here is to be flexible, positive, and make every effort to show up.

Making yourself somebody that people want around will make you the person that everybody wants on their team. So often we ask our clients to be flexible yet we’re inflexible with them about what they don’t want to do. We think they’re trying to “escape” or “avoid” the situation.

A lot of that has to do with preconceived notions we take into a session with us. We want to run a certain amount of programs. The client is usually focused and today they’re having an off day. It is in moments like this, when we’re flexible, that we can truly show our clients our positivity and reliability by being understanding.

While this tip seems like it should be a no-brainer, you would be surprised at how many people simply look at being a Behavior Technician as a job. Oftentimes, those people don’t last in this position. It isn’t because they’re bad people, or even lack interpersonal skills to do the job. It’s because working with people and providing any form of healthcare (neurodiverse or not) is demanding in a way that most jobs aren’t.

As a result of this, what will get you through both the happy times and the not so happy times is your passion. Passion is infectious and when parents, kids, teens, and other adults sense that you have it, oftentimes they become inspired and passionate as well. Think about the people that you want in your life. Are they people that constantly take your energy? Are they people that make every little aspect of a job seem like sheer dread or terror?

Honestly, being a behavior technician isn’t for everyone. Like any job there are politics and other outside forces that get in the way. However, when you have a passion for helping people, when you believe in what you are doing, that will go a long way towards mitigating the other factors of this job that might not even have anything to do with it.

In short, have interpersonal skills. If you walk into a client’s home and the person you are there to work with says, “Why are you here?” And they know you’re coming for a session, that is a problem. If parents don’t feel like they can’t talk to you, or that you aren’t providing assistance, again this is an issue. If other people on your team are constantly reprimanding you for not being a team player, not being positive, or reliable, then Building Rapport with the people you work with may be something you want to work on. 

When your clients feel like they have a rapport with you, you will find yourself getting them to do things they might not have thought possible. The best part is that they will want to do those things not because you want them to, but because THEY see the benefit of doing it. 

Having a solid rapport with the client, their family, your supervisor, and any one else who touches this person’s life will go a long way toward making you the All-Star Behavior technician you want to be.

 

So there you have it, “5 Tips to Be An All Star Behavior Technician”. Reliability, Positivity, Being A Team Player, Passion, and Being Great At Building Rapport. 

What makes these tips effective?

The best part is that these 5 tips are all experiential. You learn to do them more and more through experience. Many Behavior Technicians are receiving on the job experience constantly. By employing these 5 tips you will not only find success, but be well on your way to enriching the lives of EVERYBODY that you work with.

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