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From Roofing Salesman to Board Certified Behavior Analyst

From Roofing Salesman to Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Employee Spotlight: Meet BCBA Stephen

That’s not a typical path for a career as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). But that’s what makes up many people’s career progressions. Often there are chance opportunities and uncovering of gifts and passions to find your calling. No matter how your career starts, the end goal is to land in a place where you are fulfilled and making an impact.

Stephen’s non-typical path to BCBA is a great example. He took a break from school and was selling roofing for a contractor in Oklahoma. One day he realized, “I didn’t want to always be chasing the next storm. I needed to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life.”

Stephen had always had an interest in working with kids with special needs. The seed was planted when he was in middle school and he signed up to be a LINK – a peer mentor to a student with a disability. Stephen worked with a student with autism for an hour a day and realized he loved it! That spark lead to other encounters with children with special needs.

Pursuing A Career In ABA Therapy

That aha moment in Oklahoma led him to reach out to a friend who was a Board Certified Behavior Analyst to talk about her career. He moved back to Michigan and enrolled at Oakland University to pursue a degree in Psychology. Through his one ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) class he met Dr. Lori Warner who co-managed the Ted Lindsay Foundation HOPE Center at Beaumont Children’s with our founder Jamie McGillivary. He applied for the practicum position at the HOPE Center and started his career in ABA in 2013.

Healing Haven started to provide additional services outside of the HOPE Center’s program offerings. As Healing Haven’s programs grew, Jamie needed to focus her attention full-time on providing services to meet the demand. It was a natural transition for Stephen to move with Healing Haven at that time as an ABA therapist.

From Student to Therapist

Shortly after Healing Haven launched Stephen moved from ABA Therapist to Room Monitor. This position provides support and oversight to the ABA Therapists working one-on-one with the kids. Then he quickly moved into the Parent Training program, educating parents on ABA therapy techniques to use at home and out in the community.

While working here the past four years Stephen earned a Masters in Psychology and passed the exam becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in August 2017. (He did this while also becoming a Dad to two wonderful kids!) He describes Healing Haven as “a community of supportive staff who are invested and passionate about what they do.” Stephen added, “I have a Director who is both a mentor and who has a vision that she wants me to be a part of.”

A memorable moment from the past four years was when Stephen ran the Parent Training program. During the last session of training with a Mom and her child, Stephen was doing the final assessment to document any changes. The child pointed to a ball and said “ball” – it was his first word ever spoken! “To have a front row seat to moments like that is such a gift,” exclaimed Stephen.

When asked what his dream career is, Stephen responded, “I’m living it right now, and it continues to grow as the dream of this place grows.” He doesn’t feel like he just comes to work and punches a clock. “I love that I get to be part of a community that is so dedicated in what they do. They see the kids they serve as spectacular, even on tough days.”

ABA Career Advice

Stephen’s advice for someone considering a career in ABA therapy or as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst is to do your research. “Research where you want to learn and work. Make sure it’s at a company that has values in alignment with your own so your passion isn’t diminished. If you find the right environment this work is so incredibly rewarding!”

A bit more about Stephen:

  • Favorite food: BBQ
  • What radio station is on in your car? NPR never leaves my dial!
  • Favorite movie: Any kind of horror movie
  • How do you relax / de-stress outside of work? Spend time with my children
  • Coffee, tea or soda? Coffee
  • Favorite book (either fiction or non-fiction): The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

Does Stephen’s story inspire you in your own career ambitions? Take a look at the Join Our Team page for more details on what it’s like to work here and get in touch with us about current opportunities.