ABA Community: The Journey of Julie Seel Renaud

The field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. According to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), demand for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) has increased by 23% in the past year alone. The reason for this high growth is due to increased awareness about this long-underserved community. In recent years there has been an even greater push to expand awareness through the many state, diversity, and behavior communities.

While the ABA population has grown so much, it remains a very tight-knit group. Whether you are just beginning your career in behavior analysis or have been working in the field for years, there is support and a community for you to be a part of.

Looking to learn more about the ABA community? Check out some of the stories of our former students and the networks they built throughout their careers.

Meet Julie, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and now author of the new book, Lotus Flowers and Superpowers. Julie graduated from the Master of Education in Foundations in Behavior Analysis online program at the University of Cincinnati in 2018.

Registered Behavior Technician Community

Julie describes the field of behavior analysis as “colorful and diverse” because it is full of individuals with different backgrounds and undergraduate degrees of study. Before moving from England to the US, she worked most of her career in healthcare field.  Her prior education and work experience included a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and as a Registered Mental Health Nurse. Julie found herself looking for a job that would allow her to be home with her children outside of school hours. Her vast experience led her to accept a position as a special education paraprofessional in her children’s school district. This career path was fulfilling for her since she had always gravitated toward the students who were experiencing challenging behavior. She recounts the words she heard from Dr. Pat Friman of Boys Town “There are no bad boys, only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking,” which impacted how she approached situations in her career.

Julie was fortunate enough to be part of a pilot project to introduce registered behavior technicians (RBTs) to her school district. What started out as 3 RBTs has now expanded to 30 and has proven very successful with ongoing supervision, professional development, and support from the district BCBAs.

As a member of this RBT community, Julie formed relationships that she still utilizes to this day. They would share resources, brainstorm challenging situations, provide support, and learn from each other. She collaborated closely with the other RBTs and really viewed her counterparts as a “team”.

Behavior Analysis Community

Looking to expand her career, Julie viewed going back to school as a way to gain purpose, open doors, and increase her opportunities to positively impact children’s lives. After talking with a colleague about their graduate school experience, Julie felt the encouragement needed to go back to school. Her colleague had attended UC Online and had a very positive experience and passed the BCBA exam on her first try.
The fully online format of our program worked well for Julie’s situation. It allowed her to continue her work as an RBT while she obtained her master’s degree. The asynchronous scheduling was a huge asset and despite never meeting with her professors in person, there were never any issues building connections with both students and faculty. She worked together with other students on group projects, connected professionally outside of school, and made it a point to meet up at professional conferences. Julie felt her professors were engaged in her journey, relatable, and showed genuine interest in her success.

The connections formed in the program carried with her, even to this day. She continues to connect with peers at conferences and is grateful for her relationship with professors, especially Professor McCoy whose connection extended beyond graduation and who continues to be a professional she respects and learns from.

Julie also worked alongside three dynamic and helpful BCBAs while obtaining her degree. One of those peers played a big role in her decision to go back and offered to be her supervisor. With her supervisor’s help, she worked through the task list and went on to sit for the BACB Exam. All the studying and preparation paid off, she passed the exam on her first try and was now a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Julie has continued to grow in the ABA community by joining organizations such as the Ohio Association for Behavior Analysis (OHABA), the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS), the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), and the Board of Psychology (as part of becoming a Certified Ohio Behavior Analyst (COBA).

Lotus Flowers and Superpowers

acceptance and commitment training (act)
Learn more about ACT

Lotus Flowers and Superpowers is Julie’s first venture into authorship. Inspired by her former “science and nature loving students” she wanted to make the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) more accessible and digestible for learners, educators, and families. Presented in the form of a colorful, engaging, fictional story, the core concepts and processes of ACT can be woven into classroom culture. Through its storyline, modeling, metaphors, and a blend of experiential and mindfulness exercises, learners explore strategies for developing “psychological flexibility,” known as “The superpower of mental health and well-being.”

The story is a blend of Julie’s personal values and beliefs along with her fascination for observing the relationships between organisms and their environments. It is influenced strongly by her professional career, and she credits all the families, educators, mental health specialists, and innovators that she has met along her journey. She has been blown away by all the reviews and feedback from respected peers and luminaries within the ABA industry.

Julie’s journey started with a simple conversation. Our Enrollment Services Advisors are waiting and ready to answer your questions and make sure our program is the right fit for you. The University of Cincinnati offers both an M.Ed. and a Certificate in Behavior Analysis 100% online. Both programs are designed to help you gain cutting-edge marketability, knowledge, and skills to increase your earning potential while improving the quality of life of others. Ready to learn more about behavior analysis programs? Connect with an Enrollment Services Advisor to learn more about the curriculum and how it might fit your lifestyle.


More about Lotus Flowers and Superpowers

“Lotus Flowers and Superpowers organically weaves social-emotional learning (SEL) into a classroom or conversation in a thoughtful, engaging, and playful way. It provides a framework for building a culture of belonging and understanding who we are.

Readers embark on a mindfulness-inspired adventure into science and nature with Fry, a juvenile Koi fish, as she explores the often quirky and unique hidden talents (superpowers) of the garden wildlife and works through life’s challenges using a blend of mindfulness and the core concepts of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Fry’s story models, teaches, and provides opportunities for learners to practice adaptive responses to life’s challenges, stay true to their values, and take purposeful action even when things are hard – what Fry would refer to as “living with all your heart.”

Supplementary academic and SEL resources and extension activities relating to themes explored within the book can be found at www.JulieSeelRenaud.com, along with information about the author, the art, recipes, coloring pages, mindfulness scripts, and more.”

If you would like to order a copy, please check out your local bookstore, or go to one of these sites for a preorder.

Amazon USA – https://a.co/d/5GVQ7oV

Amazon UK – https://amzn.eu/d/4hTBBX3

Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lotus-flowers-and-superpowers-julie-seel-renaud/1142940088




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