A day in the life of….

24 hours (2 days) in the life of a… Busy Analytical Bee; BCBA, blogger (of sorts!), Tutor, Aspiring consultant.


Hello I am Kirsty Angel, and I am going to share with you two days in my life as a BCBA, tutor/consultant and blogger and disseminate-r of the field of ABA.


8:00: I’m travelling to my first client. I am working as a tutor and shadowing this child in school all day. The school isn’t too far from my where I live so I’m just listening to one of my favourite albums.  If I have a longer drive I like to listen to the Behavioural Observations or ABA Inside Track Podcast on the Stitcher app.

9:00: School is in full swing. We’re having a carpet session and my client has tokens to bridge the gap between this activity and their choosing time.

10:00 The programme consultant has arrived. This is my second day with this child so I’m focusing on pairing. This means I’m building an association between myself and the things this client likes (read the September 2016 edition to learn more about Pairing, alternatively read Schramm’s The seven steps). My client likes numbers and phonics, so there’s lots of activities in school to do around these. It was great to have the consultants support and feedback and have someone to share ideas with!

11:00 It’s time for some Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT; read the September 2014 edition to learn more about DTT). These sessions help learner practise a lot of skills in a short space of time. This helps improve fluency; responding accurately and quickly shows that skills are cemented. Its important to generalise all these skills later.

12:00 Lunch time. I have 30 minutes to check messages from friends, check emails and eat my lunch.

1:00 Back in the classroom and my client has Information Technology (IT) class. They enjoy using iPads, but like to choose their own games. I’m supporting them to complete the activity which is set by the teacher before moving on to a preferred app or game.

2:00 It’s carpet time and the group are listening to some songs on YouTube that support the classes term topics. My client LOVES music and will dance along. When the songs finish we go off for some more pairing, including building blocks to represent different numbers, one of their favourite activities.

3:00 It’s home time. I stay to do some graphing, session notes and review data.

4:00 I have an after school session with another client. This client loves logos and likes putting together magnetic letters to spell out some logos. Our first activity is based around this. Even though I’ve worked with this child for a long time and we have good instructional control (this learner is willing to interact with me and my teaching activities and will follow my instructions), it’s still good to start every session with some pairing (Kelly et al, 2015) .

5:00 We’re doing a variety of activities in this session. We looked at the hungry caterpillar and my learner points out some of the foods and labels some with me. We count the fruits and hold up the same number of fingers (this was a receptive target for this client, “show me 3 fingers” for example). We also do a puzzle and some DTT.

6:00 Its time to drive home and it will be about a 45 minute drive home. When I get home I am going to go for a run, so I eat a banana to give me some energy!

7:00 Running gear is on and I’m about to head out to run a few miles. I really enjoy running as it’s good for my physical and mental health. I am also training for a big race so have to fit my runs in around work.

8:00 I’m home and about to have dinner. Time to respond to a few emails and messages from clients and then I switch off for the night.

DAY 2:

8:00 I’m up but working from home this morning. I’m transferring some data into excel. I want to make some graphs as I have an Annual review coming up so will include these in my report. I always hate the idea of doing this, but once I get going I enjoy plugging the data in. In the background I’m listening to The Daily BA. I will often have the TV on in the background when I work on my computer, but sometimes I like to put these videos on and listen to a few in one go.

9:00 I’m still hard at work but have a Skype meeting and have to install some update and make sure I have a fresh tea before the meeting starts.

10:00 The skype meeting has begun. They are just beginning their ABA journey and we are discussing anxiety and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). We discussed how language constructs and anxiety functions according to the Relational Frame Theory (RFT) framework (read the December 2015 edition to learn more about ACT, relating to depression, or the ACT blog; ‘What is ACT?’)

11:00 I had a phone call from a colleague. We were discussing life, ABA and collaborating in the future for a piece for Busy Analytical Bee.

12:00 Having lunch and getting ready for a session. One of my consultancy clients are just setting up the programme and advertising for tutors. I am doing a few tutoring sessions in the mean time as I have some availability.

1:00 We are making letters with play dough. I have bought some new cutters so brought these with me. There was a large selection but my client liked the letters. We did A-F but then we changed to a different activity. These sessions are focusing on pairing as we are just getting started, but I am slowly increasing the number of instructions I give.

2:00 Now we’re crashing cars into blocks! It’s lots of fun to build up a wall of wooden blocks and push the cars into them. Next I put on some music including phonics songs and nursery rhymes.

3:00 The session has finished. It’s a short session as he’s quite young and new to ABA. I am off to the supermarket to buy some ingredients for dinner and food for the next few days.

4:00 I get home and have a cup of tea with my Grandad. We watch a bit of Tipping point. It’s important to find time to spend time with the people you are close to, even if it’s just over a cup of tea!

5:00 I am preparing some dinner and meals. Meal planning is important for me. As I run, I need to plan my meals around when I will run, and I also don’t have any children and I eat a different time to my Grandad so I usually cook for myself. This means usually making meals and freezing them.

6:00 I have to reorganise a client’s programme folder. I like to have the tabs as each of the verbal operants and have clear Skill tracking sheets under each tab so I can see all the targets in that skill area. This clients programme has expanded quickly in the last few months as their compliance and fluency has increased dramatically. The folder will now accommodate all these new targets!

7:00 Spending some time updating Busy Analytical Bee. I find it really hard to keep the social media side of things up to date. Facebook allows you to set up scheduled posts, so I like to go through and set up a few posts so they go out every or most days. This makes life a little easier for me! This is definitely something I would like to get better at.

8:00 I just have one email to send and them I am switching off for the night. I aim to switch off at 8-9pm and have some time to myself. I might do some reading (typically ABA related reading!; read the June edition 2014 to learn more about Must Read), some mindfulness activities (with the Headspace app; read the November 2018 edition to learn more about Mindfullness) or I just watch rubbish reality TV!


Recently in London on a running training day!


Thanks for reading about my day! I hope you enjoyed this insight into my life! If you had any questions about the activities I do (ABA related or generally!) feel free to contact me! I’d love to hear from you.

Do you have any interesting day and want to share? May be you’re an ABA parent or work with a different population. I’d love to hear from you!


Further Reading

Shramm R., “Seven Steps to Earning Instructional Control” – http://knospe-aba.com/cms/us/aba-info/aba-articles/the-7-steps.html

Kelly, A. N., Axe,  J. B., Allen, R. F., & Maguire, R. W. (2015). Effects of presession pairing on the challenging behavior and academic responding of children with Autism. Behavioral Interventions, 30, 135-156.



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