Behavior Intervention Training at Douglas College

I’ve been neglecting this blog for most of this year, but I think I have a reasonably good excuse. I’ve been busy working towards a Behavior Intervention Certificate from Douglas College.

Pursing a BI Certificate wasn’t my original plan. My original plan was to take the Online Autism Outreach Training program though Douglas College to learn the basics of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The program consisted of two credit courses:

  • CCD 1150: Teaching and Learning: Foundations: In this course I learned the principles of applied behavior analysis, such as reinforcement, punishment, prompting and fading, shaping and chaining, extinction and differential reinforcement, maintenance and generalization.
  • BHIN 1340: Behavior Intervention Lab: In this course, I recorded videos of myself working with Kiddo on various intervention goals and wrote reflections on them. I also participated in bi-weekly video seminars with my classmates, watching and reflecting on each others’ videos.

I loved the program. Before I enrolled, I had only a vague idea of what ABA was, pieced together from bits and pieces of information, much of it disparaging. The program gave a thorough grounding in the basics of ABA and showed me what a powerful teaching tool it can be when done well.

If only ABA training had been part of my degree in education, I might still be a teacher today. I think every teacher, parent, and manager — almost everybody, actually — would benefit from learning these principles and their application.

Douglas College offers the option to roll those two credit courses into its Behavior Intervention Certificate program, which is what I decided to do.

This summer I took BHIN 1256: Supporting Positive Behavior and Communication. In this course, I learned about augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), functional behavior assessment (FBA) for people with autism, and FBA-based interventions. I found the FBA component of the course particularly interested, and I realized that it is one component that has been missing from Kiddo’s autism intervention. I hope to remedy that this fall when we hire a behavior consultant to help us with some of his challenging behaviors.

This semester I’m taking CCSD 1140: Introduction to Practice, which is supposed to be the first course in the BI Certificate, but order-schmorder, and next semester I’ll take two half courses:

And then I’ll be finished. Ta-da! I’m not planning to become a behavior interventionist, although I would like to do some BI work with families in our area if I can somehow find the time while being self-employed as a freelance writer, homeschooling Kiddo, and being a student.

What’s Next?

My main motivation for doing the full BI Certificate is that I’ve decided to pursue a master’s degree in ABA and become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). I love being a freelance writer, and I want to continue freelance writing during and after earning my master’s. I want the qualifications to write about autism from the perspective of a professional, as well as that of a parent.

Currently there are no BCBAs in my community, and I would like to be able to offer this valuable service to the families here. In addition to writing about autism and ABA, and working with families as a behavior consultant, I envision other opportunities to consult for the local school division and possibly the distributed learning school Kiddo is now attending (more on that in another post). Who knows, maybe I could even teach intro to ABA courses at the local community college, either as continuing education courses for parents or professional development courses for teachers.

It’s going to be a long haul to get there. I can only take one course at a time because I’ll continue working as a freelance writer and homeschooling Kiddo while pursing my master’s. But I think the hard work, sacrifice, and cost will be worth it, though, for my long-term happiness and financial security. Yay!

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