Dayna Parker is the Director of ABA at Peak Behavioral Health, a multidisciplinary clinic in Oklahoma. Her journey is inspiring and relatable to those of us in the field who know things don’t always come easy. Starting out in elementary education, she later changed her major to special education after getting an opportunity to work with an autistic boy from her church. Dayna then went on to pursue her master’s degree and struggled to get the hours needed for BCBA certification. Having moved from Las Vegas to Oklahoma, opportunities were few and far between. She even resulted in cold calling professionals to make connections.
After finding the sponsorship she needed, Dayna landed her first BCBA job, only to found out that her sponsoring supervisor wasn’t properly credentialed. This meant that most of the hours she accrued now were useless! Instead of giving up, she was able to access the reinforcement she needed to remind herself why this work meant so much to her. She’s made her way into her current director-level position, despite all of life’s twists and turns. Although Dayna’s work now is more operational and administrative than hands-on, being able to empower the BCBAs she works with is extremely rewarding.
Dayna’s resilience is really something to be admired. She gave us great advice on what to do when you reach a point of burnout and reminded us that we can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s important to lean on encouraging friends and family, take the time to step back, and seek counseling when appropriate. The path to becoming a BCBA can be a challenging journey, but Dayna is so glad she kept her eye on the prize and never gave up.
- Dayna’s personal account of what it was like to become a BCBA.
- What to do when challenges arise during the certification process.
- Why it’s important to take time to nurture yourself when you’ve reached burnout.