We have worked in many schools in Australia where the school have sourced, recruited and hired a behaviour analyst to work with them. This way of working is very common in the USA, with many school-based positions in the USA. Here in the UK, it was pretty much unheard of until recently.
2006 saw us working in schools for the first time as ABA trained one to ones, paid for by the schools, as opposed to being sent in as ABA trained one to ones paid for by our families. Until 2008, we had only ever worked with schools in the UK when a parent had recruited us to work with their child in school and train the child's private one to one.
In 2009 we were asked by one of families to train a school-recruited and school-funded full time 1:1 learning support assistant. We then started to work in more and more schools with school staff, but we still had our services paid for by our families. At the end of 2009 we began working with our first school where the Local Education Authority paid our service-fees to train school staff and work with the child. Initially the dynamics between us and school were rather fractious, with LSAs not knowing where their responsibilities and accountabilities lay. We were responsible for training, but it was very tricky to track implentation and school progress. In 2010 that same Local Education Authority recruited us to work with a school for one child. We were then asked by the school to train their staff in the methods of behaviour analysis for all of their classes. 2011 saw us working with more Local Education Authorities and schools. Most services were recruited, however, off of the back of a tribunal which meant that relationships often began very fractured. There were always three sides: school; local education authority and home.... with us in the middle! We always try to see things from each party's perspective, keeping the child's education and progress at the centre.
2011 and 2012 has seen some really exciting developments, with innovative headteachers and SENCOs recruiting our services from the outset to run ABA programmes for specific children, train staff in the principles of ABA and also to run parent-workshops. We have also been asked to take over some key-worker roles in schools and colleges. One of the most exciting developments is definitely in working in school-based nureries to identify children who are at-risk of developing or who already show signs of autism, language delay and other developmental delays. We work closely with school and home to assess what is going on and put plans in to place for their child to make gains prior to diagnosis (if diagnosis is needed).
I think my favourite workshop of the year so far (Lu here!) has been at a special needs school, teaching staff how to decrease challenging behaviour and increase language. We can't wait to go back!
To find out more about how we work with schools, send us a message - firstname.lastname@example.org or call us in the UK on 03333 440201 or Canada 613-304-6628