All of our YPA members have their own stories and we want to take the time to introduce as many of them as possible. Today we are sharing our interview with YPA member Ashley Kindrat – a Board Certified Analst (BCBA) with the Applied Behaviour Analysis team.

Tell us a bit about what you do!

I am a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) with the Applied Behaviour Analysis team with the Rainbow District School Board’s Special Education Department.  Applied Behaviour Analysis, or ABA, is a scientifically validated approach to discovering and understanding environmental variables that reliably influence socially significant behaviour.  The principles and methods of ABA are applied to bring about meaningful and positive change in a person’s behaviour.

The ABA Team follows a model which services students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 across all 33 elementary school and 9 secondary schools in Sudbury, Espanola and Manitoulin Island.  Our services range from providing staff training and professional development opportunities to functional behaviour assessments and consultative services for students in our schools.

We collect and analyze baseline data, in order to hypothesize the purpose of the challenging behaviour, and then provide recommendations to decrease the challenging behaviour and increase appropriate behaviour.  We also work with a team of teachers who help support and model the recommendations with the student’s school team (e.g. classroom teacher, special education recourse teacher, educational assistant).

Was this the career you have always envisioned for yourself? What inspired you to pursue?

Growing up I always wanted to be a teacher.  However, that changed throughout high school.  I was interested in the sciences, so I began my Biomedical Biology undergraduate degree at Laurentian University following what my father always said, “You should be a doctor.”

Through my coursework, I became more interested in Psychology and Behavioural Neurobiology.  Then, in my second semester of third year, I was assigned a project on Autism Spectrum Disorder.  I was so intrigued with the disorder that I chose to continue my studies in Child Psychology and began providing respite services to families with children with Autism and Acquired Brain Injuries.

It wasn’t until a course in Clinical Psychology in my fourth year that I learned about ABA from a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst guest speaker.  From there, I pursued a student placement with Child and Community Resources in the Intensive Behaviour Intervention program and applied for a Masters of Applied Disability Studies at Brock University.

The cumulative combination of experiences I have been fortunate to have, led me to discovering my passion for helping others with behavioural issues.  For me, whether it would have been teaching, or a career as a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst, it all comes down to improving quality of life for clients, students and families I get the privilege to work with.  That is what inspired me to pursue a career in the field of ABA.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?

I am in a career with a specific certification that not many people know about.  Do not be scared to pursue a passion… it can lead you to a fulfilling career.

What is your favourite local spot in Sudbury?

Beards Coffee Bar & Bakery – especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Anyone that knows me knows I love a good donut!

What made you decide to become a YPA member? What has been your favourite YPA event?

I decided to become a YPA member when I moved back to Sudbury in 2017 to network with other young professionals in the area.  My favourite YPA event thus far has been the Adulting 101: Eating for Energy at Be Greater Organics, another one of my favourite local spots in Sudbury.

Any other additional information?

Outside of my professional career, I am passionate about health and fitness and can usually be found at the gym or being active outdoors.

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