I feel very lucky to have a job that I love. Yes there can be some tough times, and there can be frustrating bureaucracy to deal with, but being able to support clients and their families and friends, to help increase quality of life and independence, is what I love.
What I also love, is sharing what we're doing with others. The service delivery, education and support for parents, carers, teachers, aides, other people in our client's lives... It's not always an easy job - we have to help the people in our client's lives figure out the best way to support the client, but there are usually other variables that affect this - time, other kids/students, energy etc!
Our service model is constantly evolving. When I first started this as a business, I was determined that the model was good, and was going to stick. I had templates, plans, timelines... but what I have learned over the years, is nothing is static. And that is OK! It's actually good, because it means there is constant change, and constant room to improve.
During supervision for my BCBA, my supervisor basically pushed me (in a very good way!) into presenting a poster at a conference. I was travelling to the annual ABAI convention in Chicago and she said "Well you're going all that way, so you may as well share something!" It scared the crap out of me - it still does - but it was such a good experience, and when I shared the difficulties I faced, the constraints, the variables I couldn't really control, as well as the positive outcomes and what we were able to achieve, it really made me feel more confident in my work, and model.
I think I have been able to shape and change the delivery of services, after each bit of research I have presented. This is more service delivery research than actual research at a university level - showing what we did, on a very basic, practical, out there in the real world level, but I think we need more of that. More clinicians and practitioners to say "You know what, it wasn't a perfect laboratory set up, but this is what we found, and this is what we're going to do next" (Let the data guide you!)
You can have a look at some of the posters and presentations we have done on our website. We very recently found out a poster we submitted for this year's ABAI Convention was accepted - great news! We have a few other things planned for the year too, so stay tuned!