The title of this blog comes from the famous song "White Christmas", and the line that follows is "and may all your Christmases be white". As I sit and write this, I have to be honest, with the soaring temperatures and bushfires we're currently experiencing down here in Australia, a white Christmas would be a beautiful thing right now. A rainy Christmas would be even better!
As always, the last year flew by, and I'm wondering where it went. Soon I'll be overwhelmed and conditioning myself to write '2020' because I've just spent the last 9 years writing a '1' where the '2' will now sit.
For me, 2019 has been a year of achievement and a whole lot of learning. Though it was difficult at times, I have loved the journey. Around 4 years ago, I became interested in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). I met someone who is now a wonderful friend at a professional development workshop, and part of her introduction to the audience included an account of her own journey towards becoming a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA). I knew right then, and there this was the path I had been looking for. So we chatted, then emailed each other and continued to keep in regular contact. Fast forward to 2019, and after finishing 2.5 years of coursework, 1500 hours of practical experience and passing the big exam, I finally became a BCBA! I can also say it was worth every bit of hard work to arrive at this part of the path. You might ask why? And that's the question, so many friends and family have asked me.
If you see someone struggling along the way, stop and help them. I'm not sure where that line comes from folks, so I'm not claiming it as mine, but it is undoubtedly, I believe, words to live by. What I do is so worth it because I get to not only help children with and without disabilities be the best version of themselves, but I also ensure the socially significant changes that occur for a child flow through to their families as well. The brightest outcomes are those where everyone benefits.
Something else I love about ABA is that I'm continually learning and finding more effective means with which to improve social outcomes for children and their families. I engaged in a lot of incredible professional development this year. Parent coaching, challenging behaviours, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and 'The Inventory of Good Learner Repertoires' are a few focus areas I'm passionate about and, in 2020 I will continue to develop and strengthen my skills around these services. Some of my future blogs will discuss these practices and methods of instruction in more detail.
This year, Dr Megan Miller (BCBA-D), one of my heroes in the field of behaviour analysis created the hashtag #dobetter. This and #bekind are going to be spread like confetti by me from here on. These words don't just apply to the domain of ABA, it also applies to whatever we do, whether it's our relationships with others or ourselves, our environment or our work. #dobetter #bekind
I'm looking forward to what the new year will bring! My final words to those who are reading this blog are about taking care of yourself around this time. For parents of children with disabilities, this can be a trying time on so many levels. A wrote a blog last Christmas about self-care called 'It's the most wonderful time of the year?????'. It's simple words with an emphasis on checking in on your values and focussing on what's important to you. I can't emphasize enough the importance of taking those little moments for yourself during this holiday period.
Lastly, to my clients and their amazing families - Enjoy the moments, enjoy the warm hugs and the laughter with your loved ones. Merry Christmas everyone!! xx