With autism on the increase, it could be a good time to explore careers for an applied behavior analyst with a concentration in autism spectrum disorder. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) focuses on how people learn, and ABA techniques are often used to help people with autism make changes in their behavior. Applied behavior analysts work with people of all ages on the autism spectrum and in a variety of settings. Although ABA has been in use to help people with autism for many years, according to the organization Autism Speak, it has become an especially important and widely accepted way of helping those with autism in the past decade.
Different Types of Settings for Applied Behavior Analysts
Since applied behavior analysts help people learn all sorts of important life skills, including reading, listening, self care, relating to others and holding conversations, they tend to work with people in a wide variety of settings. Classrooms, homes, and therapy offices are three places where you might end up working as an ABA. Therapy sessions might be with individuals, families, or groups, depending on the need. ABA has been shown to effective with very young children, so work in classrooms or early intervention programs is also a strong possibility. When applied behavior analysts work with adults or young adults, the emphasis is often on teaching life skills that will help them to be more independent. Some applied behavior analysts work in clinics or hospitals. Essentially, any setting where a patient may need help working on problem type behavior or learning new skills is a place where an analyst might work.
A Variety of Jobs and Roles
A look at a job board gives an idea of the many different types of roles and jobs you could have within a career in applied behavior analysis. Depending on level of education, some of the jobs you could explore include therapist, program coordinator at an applied behavior center, or a registered behavior technician. ABAs are board certified, while behavior technicians are para-professionals who don’t hold that certification and generally have to work under someone who does. There are a variety of other jobs connected to ABA that might not involve direct training in behavior analysis but are linked to helping autistic patients achieve similar outcomes. Childcare providers, child welfare workers, speech language pathologists, clinical psychologists, and occupational therapists may work in tandem with applied behavior analysts to help autistic clients achieve their learning goals.
Not everyone who studies ABA concentrates on autism spectrum disorder, but it can be a rewarding area of focus. Individuals on the autism spectrum may have mild or challenging learning needs, and applied behavior analysts can help them to improve their behavior and learn new skills that will hopefully improve their quality of life. If working with those who have autism is something that interests you, you might want to learn more about applied behavior analysis and how it can help people, especially in matters of language and behavior. There are a variety of careers for an applied behavior analyst with a concentration in autism spectrum disorder.