What can a Learning and Behaviour Consultant do?

Since moving to Nova Scotia, I have had to really think about how to explain what can I do for children with special needs and their families.  See, the term Behaviour Analyst is not a common moniker up here.  In fact, when I first came there was only one other Certified Assistant Behaviour Analyst in the whole province!  He had just graduated with a bachelors degree from the US and was working with a group home as a Direct Care Worker.  No one knew what a CBA is … what a huge difference from owning a company in southern New Jersey where you can throw a rock and hit a CBA.  I went from having serious professional competition in my field, to a place where my letters had no meaning and my past professional experience didn’t quite fit.  I was fortunate enough to be hired by one of the only gigs in town, the IWK’s Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention program.  While the program did not require that I be a Certified Behaviour Analyst, the work was similar and the approaches were specific to evidence-based ABA.  I was then immersed in intensive training for Pivotal Response Treatment. PRT is a treatment approach packaged by Drs. Koegel and Koegel, (http://www.koegelautism.com/), highly respected behavior analysts in California where some would say, intensive intervention for autism began.  I was thrilled to be having an opportunity to receive training since I had researched PRT while in the US, but after a year and half, I was missing the ability to be more innovative and work with more populations and ages than we could serve.  So now I faced the question again … what can I do to help?  While I cannot offer the breadth of treatment that a licensed psychologist can provide, I am highly skilled on how to assess a child’s functional abilities and design specific interventions to teach skills to function in everyday life.  This includes, social skills, daily living skills, basic academics and communication skills needed to replace difficult behaviours.  I am the person who can help thread together the critical therapeutic gains made with a team of therapists including Speech and Language therapists, Occupational therapists, etc.  Because behaviours are not just the things that your child does that you wish would disappear, behaviour is also getting ready for school on time, asking a kid to play, seeking a hug to calm rather than lashing out.