IBI Training was the turning point…
The first day I ever started working in the field as an instructor therapist, I was ready to quit. I didn’t think the field was right for me. Often I was told to sit with the learner and start playing; however, when your learner is engaging in self-stimulatory behaviours it can be very difficult.
I didn’t want to give up but I also wanted to be fair to the young children and my workplace. So I decided to stay for the month and give it my all and see what happens. Well before that month could end, I fell in love with the field, the children, my team and every aspect of the job.
The biggest challenge that an instructor therapist may face initially is the lack of hands-on training or IBI training. In college or university programs, we may learn the terms and concepts but not real life examples and situations.
What made me change my mind about the field was the ongoing IBI training that I started seeking. I would call my supervisor to come watch me during therapy, give me feedback and tell me where I could improve. Anything I learned, I would go home and practice. I attended conferences, workshops and anything I could find online. In my opinion, being successful, more confident and happier at work was the result of further IBI training.
As part of college requirement, students are now exposed to field work; however, depending on the placement, students may or may not get a chance to work directly with the learners.
So if you are an instructor therapist or behaviour therapist, IBI training is crucial. You will need to learn how to use the science in practice. If I simply tell you to use reinforcement, you may have an idea of how but chances are you will not be able to apply it successfully to change behaviour. However, when you are working with a child and your supervisor says “let’s use reinforcement here. Give the learner a preferred reinforcer contingent on the desired behaviour”, this may be more effective in experiencing what reinforcement is all about. Your supervisor can walk you through the process to show you the impact of reinforcement directly on a behaviour.
I think it’s important to speak to your supervisor and seek additional IBI training. It’s important to understand that job satisfaction has many parts and is influenced by several things, but one important factor is your ability to do the job well and feel like you are doing a great job… even if no one tells you. As a therapist, my supervisor didn’t come around everyday or every week to tell me that I was doing a great job, because supervisors are busy and can forget. It’s normal. What made me confident and happy was when I saw results within the learner. I would run a program and by the end of my session the learner was engaging in the correct behaviour. I would often celebrate this by calling my supervisor to watch and see.
College programs have definitely improved and have helped students learn the foundation within our field. It’s crucial that you take further steps to improve your quality of work by learning more. I can’t stress that enough. Learning never stops.