Amplifying Voices Podcast – Episode 1

Autism Facts to Know

Douglas:  Amplifying voice is a weekly podcast that connects the autism community. One podcast at a time. Our podcast offers a friendly conversation with inspiring individuals and professionals. We intended to bring the latest information on autism, spectrum disorders, new science, new reports, and other information to this community, especially the families.

This is the first episode of the amplifying voices podcast. This podcast aims to raise awareness about autism spec disorder, learn more about ABA treatment, and be a resource for all families affected by autism. Oscar Siva will be our guest today. In addition to learning more about his role in BTA, he will answer some questions about autism.

Oscar: Thank you so much, Douglas. Did we mention that this is our first episode? I’m stoked about this episode. 

Douglas: Yeah, this is our first episode, and it’s very, I’m very excited about this because we’re doing something different for the community. People want to know. Who are you? What’s your role? What do you do?

Oscar: I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible. I’m a work-certified behavior analyst. I’ve been in the field of ABA for over a little over ten years. My current role at BTA is as a clinical supervisor working under the three-tier model. I work closely with the program supervisor and the BTA behavior technician assigned to each case.

And aside from my role as a clinical supervisor, I’m also part of the ABA faculty at the national university. So I teach a few sections of ABA. I work with students who want to continue to enhance their skills. And who aspire to become board certified one day.

Douglas: This is great. Does everybody need to understand what ABA therapies are?

What’s the role of the supervisors? What is the part of BCBA? But let’s start with the topic today. So we want to talk about autism and the facts to know. Let’s define autism. 

Oscar: Yeah. So we can have—an ongoing discussion. The idea is to keep it as simple as possible for our listeners, but autism is a developmental disorder.

One of the more common characteristics is maybe repetition, and we provide services to the autism community. We serve over actually five counties. So across Northern California, the mission is to continue to expand. But expand in a way where we are—helping vulnerable families where we are providing excellent quality services.

Douglas: How many people are affected by, 

Oscar: At one point, it was like one in one in 87. I think we have had a discussion now. It’s like one in every. 44. We can see that over the years, right? It’s becoming more prevalent

Douglas: As it’s becoming more prevalent, it’s essential to have appropriate therapy and inappropriate help.

How can we recognize that our kid has autism,

Oscar: Some early signs can be noticed in infants, but I think you begin to pick up on more behaviors. When the child, maybe anywhere between ages one and two, child’s not making eye contact or, again, engaging in repetitive behaviors.

If you’re noticing very rigid and flexible behaviors, if you see higher rates and higher levels of problem behaviors, I think those are some things that may catch your attention, if you will. 

Douglas: Sometimes parents are reluctant to sick a kid, a son, or a daughter with autism.

How can we have these conversations with the parents?

Oscar: Absolutely. It’s never an easy conversation, and no one wants to. Your child has autism. I think it’s one of those conversations where the professional or the person wants to relay this information?

I think it’s important to have a compassionate, caring approach. And maybe focus more on the positives, maybe focus on the positive side of things. So perhaps focusing more on how we can address the issues right earlier. 

Douglas: One of the reasons that, as a company, we decided to create this podcast was just because we want to raise awareness about autism and also about the treatments available.

And where are the benefits of educating the families, which is very important because, often, people will think. Yeah, there’s a kid with autism. Let’s have therapy sessions, but what about the family? And I know that here in BTA, we provide family training, which is very important, right?

Oscar: Absolutely. I think parent training, aside from the one-to-one intervention aside from coaching and feedback, is ongoing feedback given to the technician. I believe parent training is exceptionally essential. At the end of the day, suitable? Our goal as practitioners is to transfer right.

Instructional control, as we call it, is right over to the parents. So I always say the technician is in the home, just 10 hours a week. But that’s only a fraction of the child’s week who will cover, the other, I don’t know, 100 hours right in the week.

So I think it’s vital that we focus on parent training, right? Parent consultation ensures parents are actively involved in their child’s case.

Douglas: One thing that I also am sure of is that the way the treatment is provided is tailored to the kids’ needs. It’s not always the same. It’s just according to what the kid needs and the family needs.

Oscar: Absolutely. And it’s embedded in our ethics code; every treatment needs to be tailored. Every therapy needs to be individualized, as we call it, to meet the child’s needs at that point.

It’s essential to identify the behavior that we’re working on. What it looks like is the topography—and coming up right with an individualized plan.

Douglas: Can you give me an outlook about the career in the opportunities available for people that want to get, or to do something more rewarding, something that has the actual impact, and people right now looking for different things to do that maybe, cure their soul, make them feel happy. Just give me an idea of how this career has been progressing. 

Oscar: Absolutely. I think you nailed it, right? It’s essential to understand your passion, right? Understand what drives you and if you are driven by making someone’s day, putting a smile on someone’s.

I think this is a field if you’re driven by making significant changes in people’s lives. This is a field for you, and of course, our agency provides, and again, I’m just focusing on BTA and what we do here. But if, if you’re driven, if you’re motivated, we’re here for you.

The training, I. It’s going to come. It is going to come; we offer extensive training, right? We are invested in each one of our behavior technicians; we want to ensure our technicians are fully equipped and prepared right. To work. But at the end of the day, if you are motivated, we’re here for you.

To answer your question, proper? We offer entry-level positions, and then at that point, you are interested, right? You have equipped right for the RBT exam. If you want to continue enhancing your career, we provide ongoing supervision to ensure that our BTs are. And then, at that point, if you still want to continue improving your skills right in your career, there are graduate-level programs with which we can connect our technicians.

But the idea is to continue growing; you aspire to grow. There’s room for you in this field. The RBT credential I keep referencing is, of course, listed on the BCBA website. But it’s a so if you have a high school diploma, you qualify, you allow to obtain this credential. Cause I think it’s making a difference in the lives of. Like I said, in the lives of children, and digging a little deeper, right? Once you make a difference in the child’s lives, you’re also making a significant impact in the lives of a parent.

Because you can only imagine the challenges that the parents, the families, and those close to the child or face daily, want to

make a difference. Join our team to begin a career that will change your life. We’re looking for passionate and dedicated individuals eager to get hands-on experience in the ABA field. You will receive support, mentorship, and training to advance your career. As a registered behavior technician, you can apply and join our BTA family in our show notes.

Douglas: I agree with you. We were talking yesterday about the impact that BGA is making in the commitment of being one at a time, to help one kid at a time. And we can help just so many families, but we want to create an impact. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Oscar: This, yes. Our objective is right. Is to make sure of that. Your families feel supported. The idea again is for our families to come to us. And. Once you’re here, basically taking them through the process, taking them through the ABA process, and through what that’s going to look like.

What that’s going to entail is taking them through the intervention phase. What are some of the things to expect? During the intervention phase, And then again that point now, we’re talking about transition. What is the transition plan going to look like? What are you expecting?

After this whole, what changes are you expecting to see after this whole ABA thing is over,

Douglas: You mentioned the word intervention, which might be for some people. Sounds a little bit aggressive because we have this perception of intervention as if I’m doing something wrong or my family gets together, sit down with me.

I didn’t know anything. And wanna talk to me about something wrong, but in this word, intervention is different. Can you tell us a little bit more about what intervention means?

Oscar, the significant point is that we use very sophisticated vocabulary. There are negative connotations. Yes. Intervention again.

It is associated with the word intervention. But all interventions. What intervention means is that you’re focusing on a particular behavior. You have a list of strategies in place to compete right. With this behavior during the intervention phase, right? The child also has goals that are socially significant to their learning and or her life. And so that’s ultimately what the intervention phase consists of 

Douglas: great point too, to clarify the word because, to be honest, when I started working and started learning, working here and started learning more about, about the topic when I heard that word in the beginning, it was like, okay, 

it was, 

it [ was challenging to process, but now that you’re explaining, it makes stories in 

Oscar: definitely. And I think as practitioners, we need to do a much better job using people-friendly terminology; often, those terms can throw people off. They can catch people off guard.

Douglas. One of the things that I like to talk about is the impact results and one of the stories that I always hear here in the companies where a child is struggling with their childcare at their school. And sometimes, often parents don’t know. Their kid has autism until it’s been diagnosed and then started treatment. And then I hear they start progressing and having changes and start tolerating more school and enjoying a little more experience.

And it’s, it’s a process. I know that. So can you elaborate on that, please? 

Oscar: That’s the whole idea. That right there is the idea. That’s the idea behind this intervention thing we’re talking about, to see socially. Significant outcomes. And it’s crucial to know the process isn’t easy, right?

It can be overwhelming for parents and families because our research shows that. Behaviors are going to get worse right before they get better. But it’s essential to keep your eye on the grand prize. It’s important always to stay focused and know where we are going with this?

What are some of our objectives? What are some things we’re trying to accomplish right through this intervention? And so, once you have that outlined, everything falls into place—one thing. I want to say that all of our resources are in line. All of our interventions are in line with what we should expect. Or we should anticipate that we will see significant outcomes,

Douglas: how does the treatment help the kids become an adult? 

Oscar: Absolutely. So it’s important to note that again, Skills of the skills we’re teaching.

The focus of our intervention is going to change based on age. So what may be socially significant to a two-year-old will not necessarily be important to an individual, that is 12. And so again, that’s key, social, and social significance.

That said, The objectives will change, so a two-year-old, right? You may be focusing more on functional communication. But if you have a learner that’s 12 years old, who has complete available transmission but is having a challenging time again.

Making friends, making peers, the intervention’s going to, is going to be tailored to meet that individual’s needs.

Douglas: Exactly. And one of the things that you know we want to present on this podcast is the glow of the week, where we’re going to highlight a positive outcome because that’s where we’re looking for positive results.

Could you just you. Give us more information about the glow of the week and how we will be presenting these great things that happen probably every day in our daily jobs.

Oscar, as you’re mentioning that, right? So many things spark in my head because, again, I work with.

With many families. And so there’s just so much that sparks into my head, but the idea of the glow of the week is to talk, to have the opportunity to talk about our successes. I know often we concentrate. The aim is to open up each episode by focusing on the positives.

A lot of the negatives. But the idea is to highlight some of the positive things occurring in our daily interventions.

Douglas: That’s great. Yeah. I and again, you just said it: sometimes we focus on the negative or not the lovely things.

And we want to be focusing in, in, in the, in things that may be for us very small. But for a kid, accomplishing a task is a considerable gain. 

Oscar: Absolutely. Yeah. In some cases, when a child says their first word, it’s just an outcome of all of our hard work, but to a family, it’s a big thing, to the child. It’s a big thing. 

Douglas: That’s great. And to hear those histories, From the families to the staff, from everybody that daily impacts life. And I’m motivated.

Finally, an Oscar. What do you think about the future of this industry or this career? What I know is that BTA is working a lot in technology. We’re putting a lot of technology out there and content so that we can educate our community, our parents, everybody,

Oscar: I think they’re. We’re a growing field.

And there’s data to back this up; I recently went into the BCBA website, and I think there are over 55,000 certified 

practitioners and counting. You see how much. Growth. And how much room there is for someone looking to make a difference.

Douglas: That’s. I love what you say. It’s someone that’s looking to make a difference. That’s what we’re doing here, try to make a difference. And I want to thank you. For the time. Thank you for the work that you do. Thank you for inspiring your team in, in, in doing that, making a daily difference for kids and families that deserve that.

Oscar: Thank you for having me. I look forward to coming on future episodes and sharing and discussing some of the work. That we do. And again, I think one of the biggest challenges is trying to narrow that down and condense that into a 30-minute episode because there’s just so much that goes into what we do. And again, I’m hoping we do just that because it will not only help. Families that are looking for support, but it’s also going to help with proper dissemination of the science.

Douglas: Exactly. And for you out there that are in this industry, share your flow of the week with us.

We’ll put on the comments in our information and if you want to work. Get into this rewarding career, let us know we can, talk to you, and show you the options. And we’ll be happy to have you on board as well. And for the families, any questions also, and information will be there.

This is our first episode. We will be doing this podcast in English and Spanish because we serve a community of people who speak English and many families that speak Spanish. Okay, Oscar. Thank you so much. This is the first one. The first one is already there.

One of many, one of many, one of many, exactly. One of many. And I am looking forward to having this conversation and learning more because I’m here. I’m the one teaching about the industry about autism and something that I enjoy and appreciate—looking forward to the next episode.