Chapter Spotlight: Bermuda ABA
2020 was a shock for Bermuda and the rest of the world having come face-to-face with a global pandemic! Covid-19 took its toll on the world and Bermuda was not spared, but through the challenges Behavior Analysts in Bermuda persevered, pivoted, and adapted all with the goal of finding a way to continue to provide the necessary services and therapy to clients and families who needed it.
Members of the Bermuda Association of Behavior Analysis (BABA) and generally the behavior analyst profession in Bermuda proved how to be resilient in 2020!
BABA continues to be comprised of Behavior Analysts, Verbal Behavior Therapists, Junior Therapists, Non-profit Leaders, and Parents. Its close partnership continues with Tomorrow’s Voices – Bermuda Autism Early Intervention Centre, Bermuda’s first and only autism early intervention center, and this enables the majority of its members to come through that relationship.
BABA’s membership contracted slightly due to the impact of Covid-19 and former members need to focus on just surviving through the pandemic, notwithstanding the growth in the awareness and use of ABA in Bermuda continues to be directly linked to the development and continued sustainability of Tomorrow’s Voices Autism Centre.
In 2020, Tomorrow’s Voices celebrated its 13th year of existence in Bermuda, validating the need for an international center providing services dedicated to those with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities. Since its inception, the clinical center has hired and trained 50 professionals (Bermudian and Non-Bermudian) in the use of Applied Behavior Analysis and Verbal Behavior, not to mention the thousands of parents, volunteers, students, educators, medical and allied health professionals trained and engaged through workshops, seminars, consultancies, internships, and work shadows.
The formation of BABA in fall 2011 was due mostly to the ongoing work by Tomorrow’s Voices Autism Center and continues to be sustained through this synergistic partnership, as most of the professionals who practice ABA in Bermuda are employed with Tomorrow’s Voices.
Currently there are 10 professionals in Bermuda registered with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), from Registered Behavior Therapists through to board certified behavior analysts, which bodes well for the growth of the profession in our Island. The partnership between Tomorrow’s Voices and Bermuda Association of Behavior Analysis has directly contributed to the ability of 80% of these professionals to gain the necessary professional development and skills required to become registered.
Although the Coronavirus Pandemic essentially shut Bermuda down for a substantial period of time in 2020, Behavior Analyst professionals pivoted to Telehealth as a way to assist families. Through the partnership with Tomorrow’s Voices, the following seminars and training workshops were presented by BABA members – Tomorrow’s Voices’ Senior Verbal Behavior Therapist Jahnae Harvey, BCBA as well as Verbal Behavior Therapists Melissa Myers and Vurnell Ball – on subjects related to ABA and special needs:
- Training Institute – 93 attendees
- February 19th, 2020: Discovering Autism and the Triumphs that are Possible.
- June 17th, 2020: It’s more than just a Theory.
- September 16th, 2020: Coming into The 21st Century – It is all about Technology
- November 18th, 2020: Keep Calm and Carry On – Looking at the Whole Picture – Anxiety and Autism
- Preschool Training Institute – 52 attendees
- Staying on the Yellow Brick Road – Creating Strategies for Challenging Behaviors
- The Power of Reinforcement
- Finding the Balance Between Work and Play – Natural Environment Teaching
- Lending a Helping Hand – A workshop on how to assist using Prompting.
- In Touch with Autism
In 2020 a total of 145 persons attended the 9 workshops (8 virtually), consisting of parents, teachers, college students, health professionals, government officials, and others in the community resulting on 290 hours of professional development hours.
BABA members committed to their own professional development and growth in Behavior Analysis through participating virtually in the following international seminars, workshops, and events:
- 46th Annual Convention hosted by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI)
- 2020 Autism Law Summit
- Living with Autism Conference
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) certification
- Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) Training
BABA members, through Tomorrow’s Voices, also became members of the Council of Autism Service Providers (CASP).
The coronavirus pandemic’s onset allowed BABA members to adapt to unusual situations and Telehealth ABA Therapy was embraced as the only way to continue to support families and clients. Virtual meeting platforms, phone calls, and emails were used as tools when face-to-face therapy could not be provided.
BABA and thereby Tomorrow’s Voices, are honored to continue to lead the way with regards to growing the ABA profession in Bermuda. BABA members continue to serve on the Bermuda Government’s ASD Taskforce providing a behavior lens to addressing the issues facing our Island’s students and adults with ASD and related disorders.
But we continue to have grave concerns over BACB’s decision to no longer certify international BCBA’s, as this will have a direct impact on our Island’s current BCBA’s and those currently and in the future striving towards certification by BACB. As such, we will need to work closer with ABAI and our international partners to develop solutions to this real-world professional challenge.
BABA desires to tangibly grow its membership and more specifically to expand its Executive Board with Behavior professionals. In 2020, it was all about survival and having resilience to do so. In 2021 our goal is to grow our outreach and membership base and as such, we are actively seeking persons, especially those beyond Tomorrow’s Voices, interested in the ABA field to join. Anyone interested in becoming a member of BABA or finding out more information should contact Erica Smith at email@example.com.