Rebeccanne Ruddell (the kids call her Becky!) is a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) with Patterson Behavior Services. In this role, she works directly with children to teach new skills and reduce challenging behaviors.
Becky completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology at George Mason University. She also completed concentrations in clinical and developmental psychology. After graduation, Becky received her initial RBT training as an employee for Patterson Behavior Services. Our families are always complimenting Becky’s patient, understanding personality!
We asked her a few questions about her background and what it is like to work in the field.
How did you find applied behavior analysis (ABA)?
Was there anything in particular that drew you to the field?
I found ABA when applying for jobs after graduating from GMU. I love working with kids and helping them grow, so behavioral therapy seemed like the perfect fit.
Your job is to teach children new skills, but often the children teach us things as well.
What is something you’ve learned from a client?
I believe that children can teach you many different skills and lessons. I would have to say that my job has taught me patience and to appreciate every accomplishment, no matter how minuscule.
Tell us about a challenging situation you have encountered on the job. How did you handle it?
When starting with my first client, I wasn’t 100% confident in my abilities. As with most anything, reaching out to my Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Supervisor for advice helped. She gave me advice and even spent extra sessions supervising me to critique and praise my work. This helped to boost my confidence and give my client overall better assistance.
What do you think is your main strength in ABA?
I’m a child at heart. I love the activities that my clients do everyday including chalk, coloring, blowing bubbles, etc. This has helped me connect more with my clients and also allows me to fully engage with them.
If we did a preference assessment for you, which reinforcers would we find?
Reinforcers for myself would include reading, watching TV, cleaning my house, hosting social gatherings for friends and family members, vacationing on the beach, and traveling.
Can you share a favorite book, article, or video about ABA?
Here is a link to a podcast that invites a different specialist every episode to discuss new topics of ABA therapy. I found this interesting and informative!
What is your favorite part of your job?
Giving hope to parents and seeing improvements made by the kids. There are moments when we see an improvement and I get super excited about the accomplishment!
There are some misunderstandings about what ABA is and how ABA therapy works.
What is something you wish everyone understood about what you do?
I’ve heard people say that ABA therapy is a cure autism but it is not. Instead, we improve quality of life for people with social challenges or disabilities. And it’s not just for autism. ABA-based interventions help those with other challenges like ADHD, OCD, panic disorders, etc.