Chowan Presents Psychology Graduate Speaker Series | Joanette Smith
On Monday, October 26, 2020, Chowan University's Psychology Department concluded its virtual alumni lecture series featuring 2016 graduate, Joanette Smith. Currently, Joanette uses her B.S. in Psychology on a daily basis working as a Registered Behavior Technician with the S.P.A.R.K.S. Group, specializing with autistic clients ranging from ages 2- 21 years old. Joanette was motivated to find a job working with autistic children because her youngest brother, who is currently 18 years old, was diagnosed with the disease as an infant. Their experiences growing up together inspired Joanette to pursue a career helping children with similar circumstances.
Using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Joanette helps her clients create and execute a plan to help them cope with daily experiences. On a daily basis Joanette, provides behavioral treatment services, redirects maladaptive behaviors, teaches replacement behaviors through functional communication, and helps her clients develop social skills and play repertories. In addition to her hands-on therapeutic work, Joanette regularly collects and analyzes data to determine each client’s progress. Data collection and analysis is important when learning specifics about how each client operates, for example, discovering what incentives motivate each client to learn.
After detailing what Joanette does at her current job, she shared a useful chart that detailed the different ABA career opportunities and what education and certifications each line of work requires. This explanation was especially helpful to the psychology majors in the Zoom audience so they could visually comprehend the steps they need to take in order to achieve their desired career. Additionally, Joanette noted that an employee working to accomplish the next tier of qualifications can find financial assistance from the company that currently employs them. Oftentimes, required training sessions are covered, but the student usually pays to take assessments such as the RBT test.