After graduating from UEA with an undergraduate master’s degree in Meteorology and Oceanography I eventually was offered a position and a weather forecaster in the UAE. I had never heard much about the city that I would be moving to, Abu Dhabi. It was here that I really found my passion. I began playing softball, a sport which was populated by numerous American teachers. It was through this sport that I began visiting local schools and talking to students about the weather and math applications in the real world.
One of my softball team mates had a school team with her colleagues which were taking part in a local competition for dragon boat racing. I agreed to take part with them, and had a blast! Later that month I met a lady in the gym who happened to coach a local dragon boating team. That was it, after several months of psyching myself up, I eventually attended my first training session. I had finally found a family overseas, but eventually I became bored of the monotonous day to day work as a weather forecaster and decided to leave and train as a teacher, however I was not ready to leave the UAE. It was at this point that a teammate suggested I apply to work with her at a special education school in Abu Dhabi, who provided education to individuals on the Autism Spectrum and also provide all staff the training needed. After yet more months I finally began working in a place that would capture my heart…
On my first day in my new classroom, I found the oldest, and largest, (gulp!) boys in the school. I walked in and became baffled. I observed strange teaching techniques, and witnessed this thing called “challenging behaviour,” and the most unintuitive reactions to the same. This was when I discovered the magical science called Applied Behaviour Analysis! Over the next few months, I was taught how to do ABA, but I didn’t understand why it worked. It was in June 2017 that I began my course in Professional Behaviour Analysis at FIT. Working in the field that I was learning the theory of provided hundreds of “green light” moments. “Oh, that’s why we do this with X,” “Ah, so that’s how/ why it works!”
The moment that completely solidified my love of what I do came after teaching a 13-year-old boy how to feed himself, and hearing the testimony of his mother expressing joy after her first evening ever of not spoon feeding her son since he was born. In subsequent years while studying I moved from one classroom to a home-based program in 2018, helping an adult in his every day life. I then moved in September 2019 into the position of independent living skills lead, where I helped individuals on my case load with learning vocational skills, and independent living skills such as cooking and cleaning. I set up a mock apartment within the school, and helped individuals completing jobs at internships with local community partners. From August 2020 until August 2021, I took over as a classroom lead, before repatriating to the UK in September 2021, and beginning my journey to the stars with Skybound in October 2021.