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Dear Bilingual Therapist, even though you are not valued by the average Employer, I’m here to remind you how AWESOME you really are.

Attention job employers, if you are searching for a bilingual therapist or anyone to work for your company at that, then understand that you are asking for an additional skillset that not everyone has and merits additional compensation…and no, not just an additional dollar per hour.

Ask me to put a price on being able to target an entire new demographic for you to provide services to and profit off of by (my additional skillset) of being able to connect to an entirely new culture and build trust equals priceless…so it’s time to pay up and give the respect that bilingual therapists deserve. But oftentimes what really ends up happening is bilingual therapists are offered the same pay while providing more value to the company and working harder to provide more services to a larger pool of customers. How is it that we have allowed this to happen time and time again?

Is it our fault for not seeing our value and working for belittling companies or are we just trying to put food on the table? I believe it is about time to have a governing body that represents bilingual therapists and other employees being used instead of valued for their fluency to provide services in another language. As a matter of fact, people in the workforce have been known to be bullied or discriminated against just for even using their first or second language! From my own personal experience when I have asked for additional compensation for being bilingual most companies simply told me there isn’t none. Work for us or don’t. That seems to be the motto, when really what they’re saying is, “let exploit your additional skills and not pay you for that special service you bring to the playing field.”

Quite frankly, the only way this may change is if there is some kind of bilingual strike. But we all know that’s probably not going to happen, while very few bilingual therapists are going to deny a good job opportunity. There shouldn’t be an ultimatum to have to do so! Therefore, having a bilingual governing board may help in representing and even getting more bilingual therapists recognized so that we can begin to create a standard pay upgrade for bilingual therapists and employees as a whole.

Learning a new language doesn’t just entail proficiency to be able to reach more customers, it can quite literally make you a more diversified and better person because you are able to recognize and interact with people of different backgrounds. These are the type of leaders that we should strive to have in our companies.

So let’s start paying more attention to what we can offer our bilingual therapists, or us clever bilingual therapist may have to resort to creating a coalition of some sort to gain the respect that we earned and deserve.

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ABA Beyond Autism: The Future of Applied Behavior Analysis is Bright!

So, you love the field of ABA therapy and all the data taking techniques that come with it but autism is not the only demographic you want to work with? Maybe you just don’t want to work with children all together or would like to diversify the clients you provide your services for. What are the steps you need to take in order to take your skillset and rebrand yourself as an ABA therapist? Hmmm…well, a big part of this responsibility is going to lie on the overall Applied Behavior Analysis community to advocate for the expansion of different areas of expertise ABA can be applied to and this begins with you.

You don’t have to feel bad about wanting more from your credentials. Working repetitively in any given field can be daunting. It may feel like you are not growing as a person. The best way to begin leveraging your skills to other areas of interest is to sit down and write a list of all the things you are good at or would like to learn more about. Essentially, you want to see what you are truly passionate about and are willing to take the time to see how you can “apply” the principals of ABA into that field.

Areas of ABA that are already expanding due to the advocacy of passionate ABA therapist in different fields are ABA Sports & Fitness, ABA in the fight against Obesity, ABA Life Coaching and Counseling, ABA targeting disruptive and destructive behaviors such as OCD and Addiction, ABA Animal Behavioral Patterns & Communication, ABA Criminology, ABA Consumerism, and ABA Organizational & Planning Skills, along with so many more untapped areas of expertise! The beauty of our profession is that it has been built on sound research and science so it’s not going anywhere.

Ultimately, we are able to analyze the data to allow us to create programs based on factual evidence to produce a change. The data we provide as skilled behaviorist is essentially our voice to provide back to those who can benefit from its conclusion in order to help them produce new behaviors that gain satisfactory results! Does that sound like something that is only useful to autism patients? The reality is that everyone can benefit from the the subfield science that stems from psychology better known as behavior analysis from a well trained clinician.

If you would like to learn more about how ABA is shifting into more areas to help save the world make sure to subscribe to this blog!

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WHAT IS STRUCTURED PLAY

What is Structured Play
ABA and Voice (blog)

In therapy you may have come across your supervisor explaining that structured play is required in the plan of care for your patient or client. What this simply means is that the activity is driven by you, the therapist, in which it should lead to a specific learning outcome. Unstructured play means that the child can play as they please without any specific requirements involved in reaching any set goal, if no goal at all. Although all play promotes healthy brain functioning and activity, structured play produces intentional learning results.

For example, think of this…you are playing a video game that requires a controller, (think, super smash brothers). But you have absolutely no idea what any of the buttons do. Therefore, you continue playing by smashing into each and every one of those buttons as you get to see your favorite character swoop and fall, and kick, and fall down the playing scene to its impending death in which you see it hover backup and rejuvenate again leading to minimal consequences. Then, if you head over to Twitch (if you’re into that kind of stuff) and you turn on a super smash brothers tournament game, you can tell that the level of playing is strategic with every single movement of their fingers coding in a move on their controller in order to defeat their opponent.

Another example would be when we use the keyboard to type or text a message to our friends. A guilty pleasure that seems effortless, but requires quite a good amount of neural functioning and coordination. We have to encode a message that is intentional for the decoder to receive it’s intentional meaning. Even though we sometimes generate an unintentional secondary meaning taken out of context. That is why I’m giving you a friendly reminder to always read your messages twice before sending). CLICK (oh no!)…But, our brain isn’t just passing over each of these letters without having programmed ourselves to do this in such a way that it is now effortless to produce the results of a message waiting to be received.

Imagine if we could trick developing young brains to learn through play? Hence the term “structured play”. We do this through structured, fun tasks in which the goal of the therapist is for the learner to like the props or activity at hand enough in order to facilitate learning outcomes. Structured play allows us to teach skills that are crucial for cognitive functioning in which the learner practices mastery of them with the hopes of using essential cognitive processing skills to last a lifetime.