By: Kim Hogan & Kaitlyn Hettinger
Congratulations to the newest Masters graduate in Applied Behavior Analysis, Kaitlyn! We are so proud of all the hard work and dedication she put into her studies over the past year and a half. With this new degree, she can pursue her dreams of becoming a BCBA and making a positive impact on the clients she works with at Cornerstone.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Kaitlyn and ask about her experience in the master’s program at Ball State University. Please get to know Kaitlyn, what inspired her, and what plans she has for the future. Her journey will leave you feeling motivated and ready to take on your own goals!
Why did you want to pursue a master’s degree in ABA?
I decided to pursue a master’s degree in ABA to fulfill my heart’s desire to try my best to make a positive impact and change in other individuals’ lives. I love how ABA therapy benefits our clients with ASD to be able to live a safe and happy life with the skills necessary to communicate and follow directions. We can also apply the principles of ABA and training to help our parents navigate situations at home, and within the community they may face while raising their child.
What are some of the skills you learned while completing this degree?
While completing my degree, I learned some valuable skills throughout the journey, such as the importance of collaborating with other professionals to be able to provide the best treatment possible to our clients as well as having the opportunity to learn more about various interventions and treatment options to better serve our clients and families affected by autism.
Did you have a favorite class?
My favorite classes during the past year and a half consisted of a class where I was able to learn the skills necessary to supervise staff and learn effective ways to deliver and receive feedback. I have found these skills to be helpful and critical to have while assisting RBTs in delivering ABA therapy to be able to provide the best treatment possible to our clients and families. I have also discovered while working in this field that it is critical to be able to receive and apply feedback to provide the best care to our clients and to be able to grow professionally.
Another class I thoroughly enjoyed discussed various interventions and treatments for working with individuals with autism. I found this class beneficial because I was able to learn more about different interventions, such as the importance of early interventions, family collaboration, play interventions, and how we can incorporate these techniques within our client’s treatment plans to increase growth and independence within their everyday lives.
What was the most challenging class?
A class that I found most difficult, but I also found to be a learning experience, was a class that consisted of research in applied behavior analysis. This class was a bit tricky due to my lack of experience researching articles and applying the information I read within the articles to various projects and assignments. Even though it was a bit of a learning curve, I learned the importance of research and how to identify and apply the key components of research articles to our clients’ caseloads to help them thrive and succeed in life.
Is there any advice you would give someone considering a master’s in ABA?
If you are passionate about learning and serving our children and families affected by autism- attend graduate school and earn your master’s degree in ABA!! Remember, it will be a long journey with little sleep and long to-do lists, but it is important to ensure that you have a strong why (the reasoning behind seeking higher education), and it will be so worth it! I would also advise future graduate students to ensure their stress level is low/manageable and that their life/personal space is organized and decluttered before starting a master’s program- these simple tasks will greatly help you succeed in school!
What was your biggest takeaway?
My biggest takeaway while earning my master’s degree was learning that hard work pays off and that challenging and stressful moments are temporary! The sun will shine again! Since earning my master’s degree, I am so excited for the opportunities the near future will bring, and I’m excited to see how I can better serve the staff, clients, and families of CAC! I am very grateful for the opportunity and privilege I had to attend college, and for all the excellent training and support I have received along the journey! Thank you, Cornerstone!
May 16, 2023, Kim Hogan & Kaitlyn Hettinger