ABA Alumni Spotlight - Saira Carr
January 28, 2022 | Heather Fletcher
Saira Carr graduated from UWF in Summer 2021 with a master’s degree in exceptional student education with an ABA focus. She also holds a bachelor's degree in psychology.
Saira says that she discovered ABA when a student’s parent suggested looking into ABA after seeing things she was doing in the classroom.
“I was doing ABA-related work with students without realizing it but I didn’t have any of the terms. When I started the program, it became very easy for me to generalize the information, it clicked instantly.”
After graduating from UWF, Saira started working at Warrington Middle School. While this is her first year teaching in a public district, she has been working in education for over 10 years.
“Warrington Middle School is considered a failing school. Learning Science International (LSI), was brought in to improve the situation,” she explained. “The staff that was retained had to have certain qualifications or certain training or a background in behavior. Having a degree in behavior analysis qualified me to teach here.”
Saira’s favorite thing about working in this field has been the ability to understand her students at the individual level. She enjoys applying different schedules of reinforcement in her classroom and determining if they work or not.
“ABA gave me the knowledge and tools to manage classroom behaviors and to help other teachers understand why their students are behaving a certain way. I also feel like I am constantly growing—as a teacher, as someone who uses ABA in the classroom and as an individual who is always gaining a better understanding of my own behavior.”
What advice would Saira give to someone considering becoming this degree?
- “Keep your mind open. Understand that ABA is in everything we do and that it is applicable across so many fields and industries—it extends far beyond just autism or special needs applications.”
- “Don’t give up. Remember that it is a master’s program and it will be tricky at times. I almost let myself give up after bombing my first SAFMED checkout, but don’t worry—you will get better.”
- “Network as much as you can, even if it is just other students in your classes. Stay in touch with your classmates and your professors.”