Back to Basics

It was in the middle of my first year teaching in a special education class in public school that the district  decided to make some changes. For the most part, they realized that it would be beneficial to create an ABA program. Which means that they’d need teachers to teach those classes.

I guess they chose my class to be one of those since I’m structured by nature, and have a no-nonsense air about me. I have a passion for teaching. I build great connections with my students. I enjoy spending time in my students’ company. And I make sure that they know that. With all that, I’m pretty no-nonsense, too.

So they sent a behaviorist, Julie,  into my classroom, say, 15 hours a week. A week! Can you imagine how much training I got? We also had formal trainings to get us on track and jumpstart the program mid-year.

So we were moving along, using good behavioral techniques throughout the day. Incorporated mand training into all mealtimes. Evaluated all students with the ABLLS-R. Got our DTT started. Pretty impressive for such a short amount of time.

And each time I’d talk to Julie about a problem that had cropped up, she shared the same idea, which, like concrete, became more solidly entrenched in my professional psyche as time went on. Go back to the basics. Basics of behavioral principles. Like pairing. Reinforcement. Manding. Replacement skills. 

I still go by it today. When I run into a bump in the road with a particular client, I know what I need to do.

Go back to the basics.

Thank you, Julie.

Raizy Perlstein