Angela Seal, MOT, OTR
Our centers are a very unique setting to work in as an Occupational Therapist, as it is essentially an all-day outpatient clinic in a school-like environment. The clients arrive typically by 8:30 in the morning and leave by 4:30 in the afternoon. During this time, I set up 3-5, 60-minute treatment sessions. Depending on the needs of the client, I am able to complete my treatment sessions in my office, in their treatment room, in our motor room, in our lunch room, in our hallway, in an ADL room (dependent upon center), on the playground or a combination of these locations. The clients may have a behavioral therapist present or not present depending upon the needs of the client. Although I do not have my certification in Applied Behavior Analysis, I utilize behavioral principals and procedures during my treatment sessions. These principles may include pairing, ABC data, token systems, reinforcement along with others. Although I have not received formal education in these areas, I am fortunate enough to work with several peers who are BCBA or BCaBA certified; therefore, they are able to immediately mentor me through more difficult situations.
During non-treatment time, I have the unique opportunity to have behavioral therapists, who work with these children up to 5 days a week, available for education on a checklist (similar to a home exercise program) I have created specifically for the client. It is the behavioral therapists’ responsibility then to complete the checklist daily. On the other side, the behavioral therapists have easy access to me as an Occupational Therapist where I can answer questions that arise during their day that may concern or not concern my treatment goals. For example, if the therapist is attempting to teach a sign but are having difficulty with the client learning it, he or she will come discuss it with me immediately. From there, I am able to offer suggestions the same day he or she asked the question while having the client present to trial various teaching techniques. This ability to work so cohesively as a team is invaluable to the learning and development of our clients.
Aimee Irwin, M.A., CCC-SLP, BCBA
In a typical day at BACA as a speech-language pathologist, I work directly with 5 clients. The clients on my caseload are all diagnosed with autism and rage from ages 3 to 14. They also range in speech and language abilities. In 1:1 speech and language treatment sessions, a variety of activities are used to target a variety of speech and language skills. Treatment sessions include activities such as playing matching games, describing pictures, answering questions about pictures, playing simple board games, imitating speech sounds with motor movements, naming items, and repeating sounds, words, and phrases. These activities are used to target repeating (echoic), labeling (tact), requesting (mand), and conversation (intraverbal) skills. After each treatment session is completed, I write a checklist for each client’s ABA technician to complete during the week. Items on some checklists include repeating words with target sounds, naming items with target sounds or syllable structures, following simple instructions, and taking turns babbling with the client. I explain and show the ABA technicians how to target items on the checklist. In addition to working directly with clients, a typical day might include a speech consultation in which I observe an ABA technician working with a client and make recommendations on how to teach speech skills. My day often ends updating speech and language goals for a client and writing a progress report.