Q & A with Hope Builders’ Child Development Careers Training Supervisor

Lauren Eddy

To mark the completion of Hope Builders’ first 4-week Field Experience assignments for trainees in its newly launched Child Development Careers Training Program we conducted the following Q & A with Lauren Eddy, Training Supervisor.

Q: Can you please describe how the Field Experiences supports Hope Builders’ 12-week Child Development Training Program? 

A: To best prepare trainees to launch their child development careers, we focus on college level coursework during the first 8 weeks of training to ensure they have the skills to identify the key principles of child development, such as functions of behavior, and develop and execute behavior plans with clients. During the final 4 weeks of training, trainees are matched to Field Experience sites to reinforce concepts learned in the classroom in professional settings.

Each week, trainees prepare a reflection and share in small and large group settings any behaviors they observed, how the behavior(s) were managed and key learnings for future application. 

Q: Who are our current Field Experience partners?

A: Trainees are assigned 6 hours of training each week at CHOC Thompson Autism & Neurodevelopmental Center, Vibrant Minds Charter School, and Unlimited Possibilities.

Both CHOC and Unlimited Possibilities help prepare candidates interested in pursuing Behavioral Technician careers. At CHOC trainees participate in state-of-the-art Virtual Reality (VR) training which simulates real life scenarios that offer experience executing applied behavioral analysis strategies with children. The VR program will test their response time to a variety of situations; and they must successfully show proficiency in each task before moving on to the next scenario.

At Unlimited Possibilities, trainees travel to the homes of individual families, job shadowing staff who provide experienced care for children with disabilities. Trainees will engage with each child and assist the experienced specialist who provides support through enrichment and daily life activities.

Lastly, those interested in working as para-educators in classroom settings are matched to Vibrant Minds Charter School to assist in an elementary school classroom for grades TK through 6th grade. Trainees engage with the students and teacher through classroom activities, job shadowing and learning from the teacher and paraprofessional.

Q: How will these experiences help trainees as they prepare to enter professional Internships or launch their careers?

A: This hands-on-experience is similar to the requirements of local college students to help increase confidence and prepare them for roles as Instructional Aides, Para-educators, Behavioral Technicians, Child Development Assistants, etc. Ultimately, the goal is to reaffirm career pathway choices and best prepare trainees for the scenarios they will encounter at their future job sites.