Master’s student blogs on how becoming a behavior analyst is her passion
By: Carolina Lenis, master’s student in ABA
My name is Carolina Lenis, and I’m currently pursuing my master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at Caldwell University. I am originally from Colombia, South America, and I have been in the United States for about 7 years now. When I completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology at a college in Colombia, I decided to come to this country to learn English; my plan was to stay one year. I came as an au pair with an exchange program, and a trip that was supposed to last a year turned into the journey of my life. I was intrigued when I received an offer to be an au pair for a family in the States who had a teenager diagnosed with autism.- I had always been interested in learning more about individuals with disabilities. Before I arrived in New Jersey, Matthew’s mother described him to me as a very caring, smart and fun young boy who attended an amazing school based on a scientifically-validated intervention called applied behavior analysis (ABA).
During the first months, I had the opportunity to observe Matthew at school and learn how to teach him in different settings. At first, I started to go a couple of days a week and ended up volunteering at that school for almost a year. After the first month, I was amazed with the teaching methods at the school, how every learner had their own curriculum and behavior plan in place, and how well the teachers arranged everything to maximize every learner’s potential. I remember calling my family in Colombia and telling them, “I have found what I want to do in my life. I want to learn more about autism and ABA, and acquire the necessary experience to help individuals diagnosed with autism.”
After about three years, I started my master’s degree in ABA at Caldwell University. It has been a great professional and personal experience learning the science of behavior analysis, and I’m able to apply it during my practicum experience at the Center for Autism and ABA at Caldwell University. As a student of behavior analysis, I am able to help individuals diagnosed with autism to have a better quality of life by teaching social, leisure, communication, academic, and vocational skills. Every day is full of challenges, but it is a very rewarding career that I enjoy and I would not change for anything. Each child at the Center is unique, and we focus on their strengths and abilities to help them reach the highest level for individual growth, achievement, and independence through teaching based on ABA. Being a behavior analyst is my passion – Every day I look forward to teaching new things to learners and learning from them as well.