7.20.2008

"I'm a behaviorist ..." {insert perplexed look}


So, I have to be honest ... it was a lot easier to explain my previous job over the one I have now. In fact, no explanation was necessary. I taught seminary. The end.

But these days, things aren't so simple. When people ask what I do and I inform them that I am a behaviorist (or a behavior specialist, either works) I get this confused, perplexed look that screams, "What on this green earth is that?" Or even better yet, "I know she made up her own degree, now she's making up her own job too?"

So, I'm dedicating the next three minutes of my life to try and explain to you what I do. :) I work with adults and children with disabilities, specifically those with extremely challenging behaviors ... Behaviors that include, but are not limited to: hitting, kicking, biting, pinching, smacking, throwing-up {on purpose} and smearing it, smearing feces, property destruction, swearing, and my favorite: rectal picking and feces eating. Yum.

What do I do exactly? I have to find a way to make them STOP. :)

A lot of my time is spent figuring out why the person does what they do and then writing up a very intense document {at least nine pages long} called a behavior plan with preventative, teaching, reinforcing, and consequence strategies that will help decrease the behaviors. In the process of this all, I have to step into the line of fire quite often. End result: I look like a battered woman. These photos are from this past week.


This is a pinch from my favorite 13-year-old with a touch of Bipolar disorder and Autism. Oh, I just noticed the bruise on my other arm too! And then we have ...



A bite!

The day this happened a friend of mine, Michael Brian Lundberg, texted me and asked how my day was. I told him it had been fine, minus the being bit part. He then texted, "By a human?!" Hahaha, yes. Most people get bitten by animals, bugs, etc. ... And naturally, I always have to dance to the beat of my own drum and have to be bitten by humans. :)

I honestly don't mind being bitten, as long as it doesn't break the skin. Once it breaks the skin you have to go to the doctor and have blood drawn, tests taken, and shots given to make sure you don't get AIDS, Rabies, or any other fun and exciting disease from the person who bit you. :) This was my first bite ever that broke the skin. Curses.

Then my absolute favorite ....


No, this is not how we dress to go to work. This is how we cover up our cute clothes while at work so when we have to go clean up the smeared feces we don't get any on us!

Now, I know after understanding a little more about my job that you ... want it. And hope to become a behaviorist yourself one day. I'll be looking forward to that day so we can compare battle wounds and disgusting stories. :)

And, uh ... yeah, the end. :)

7 comments:

Allred Mom said...

OUCH! You had a bad week! I'm so sorry! Hopefully you get "hazardous" pay! :-) (I know, "yeah, right!" since I also work with special needs kids, I didn't give the perplexed look!I've been there in some of your "fun" experiences-never got the broken skin though!! Some days are a lot more fun than others obviously! I hope this is a better week! I think you need a night on the town!!!!! Okay, Mindy Utah friends......take her somewhere fun!

Di said...

wow! You have more patience than I do that is for sure.

Marie and Jeremy said...

Ouch! You are so brave! You're the right person for the job though...lots of strength and energy.

Meg said...

Oh girl do I EVER have stories for you! I worked for a YEAR as a life skills therepist in Carbondale, IL with kids with Brain injuries. I had to go to the hospital. I got beat up so bad that I got sciatica through my whole left side and couldn't even lay in a bed for a MONTH!! Let's talk kids one day! Keep your shin guards on!

Toni said...

Huh ...strong work! I love battle scars! At least at my job when that happens, we can tie all 4 extremities to the bed and sedate them :) Love and miss you!

Marina said...

Wow! That sounds crazy! I worked with some kids with pretty intense autism in Romania, but the worst of it was getting my hair pulled, slapped, or slightly bitten! I am not sure if I would have had the fortitude to deal with feces!

Geoff & Cami Brown said...

haha dont you LOVE our job??? I know i do. Great post. I laughed the whole time!

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