The path to becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) can be a long one and requires lots of dedication. Aspiring BCBAs must complete Graduate Level coursework in Behavior Analysis, complete 2,000 hours of supervised fieldwork, pass the BCBA exam, and become licensed in the state that they wish to practice in. Later this year, three of our Graduate Assistants will take the final steps in this process and sit for their exam. Clare Peropat '20, '22 (M.S.) started her training when she worked at the Kinney Center as a SCHOLAR and now shares her story as she looks back at her time at the Kinney Center.
Kinney Autism & Support
Finding and Obtaining Employment for Neurodiverse Individuals
Securing and retaining a job are some of the biggest hurdles facing individuals on the spectrum today; employment rates are estimated to be around 20% (Austin and Pisano, 2017). However, did you know that roughly 81% ASPIRE graduates have secured employment after leaving SJU? Read on for some tips that neurodivergent candidates can employ to obtain employment
- Job Search: It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when beginning a job search. While individuals may take a traditional route using standard job search methods, there are also a growing number of organizations looking to increase their neurodiverse workforce. Options include a wide variety of jobs at companies such as Vertex, JPMorgan Chase, and Home Depot, among others. Additionally, the ASPIRE Program works with undergraduate students to start building their job search skills in their sophomore year. Students participate in activities such as networking with alumni, writing an “elevator pitch”, and more! This month, students attended an on-campus career fair to practice in a naturalistic environment. Networking can provoke anxiety, but practice makes perfect!
- Interviewing: The social structure and pressure of an interview can be overwhelming. We only have a short time to make a good first impression! One way to minimize anxiety is to know what to expect. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about who you will be interviewing with, where their office is located in the building, and how to get there (Think: general directions, parking, whether you need to check in with a receptionist, etc.) You are able to request reasonable accommodations (but be prepared to explain why they will be helpful). For example, you might benefit from a copy of the questions in writing during the interview because you are a visual learner. Finally, consider bringing a portfolio of your past work to anchor your responses with concrete examples. This will help you define your skill set and sell your strengths!
- Onboarding: When starting a new job, it can be helpful to let your supervisor know what you need to be most productive. For example, requesting instructions in writing can help you get clarity about a project or assignment, and allow you to revisit the instructions if you are confused or have questions. Asking a question via email vs. in person is an easy way to automatically get information in writing! Additionally, it can be helpful to get a sense for the office “culture”. Who do you report to? Get clear on what questions are best addressed with your supervisor (To gain additional advice for completing a project) vs. best addressed with a coworker (Where to locate office supplies). What social opportunities (happy hours, professional development days, etc.) are available to you? Feeling like you understand and have access to the social culture of your organization can help you in feeling more at home in a new job
Gaining independence through a meaningful career is an important milestone for many adults. The Kinney Center is always working to support our clients in achieving their employment goals.