Surrey School District`s ABA Journey

Surrey School District’s ABA Journey
I am pleased to share a perspective – a bit of a retrospective – of
our efforts, struggles and successes in supporting children on the
autism spectrum. When we have achieved strong and sustainable
success, it has been the result of a true partnership with parents
and an unwavering commitment to do what is best for individual
children, all children with needs and all children of promise. Here
is our story from my vantage point.
Surrey School District has held a philosophy that states in part,
“personnel are committed to working collaboratively with families,
community agencies and school personnel to assist students with
diverse needs to reach their academic, social and emotional
potential. Parents/guardians are essential to the collaborative
process by providing advocacy for their child with unique needs”.
The Surrey School District is demonstrating on a daily basis our
commitment to meaningful collaboration with the ABA community. We
have together, made great strides in the supports and services for
students with an autism spectrum disorder who are involved in ABA
home programs.
In 2006, the Interim ABA Support Worker (ABA SW) job classification
was collaboratively developed with input from the ABA community. An
Interim ABA SW is required to have 1000 hours (250 hours focused on
discrete trial) of training in home programs under the supervision of
an ABA Behaviour Consultant. In addition, Interim ABA Support
Workers are required to complete the ABA SW Certification Program
developed and offered through Surrey College. Upon completion of the
ABA SW Program, the interim designation is removed. This agreement
represented a breakthrough and was a significant moment in the
development of trust and deep collaboration among home, school and
the ABA community and related resources.
As a province, we continue to focus on the primacy of the classroom
teacher’s role in creating learning environments, programming,
assessment and evaluation of all learners in the public education
system. The district and various provincial agencies are charged
with providing the training and professional development required to
equip classroom teachers with the necessary understandings and skills
to support a diverse range of learners.
Surrey Schools – Education Services Department 14033 92 Avenue, Surrey, B.C. V3V 0B7
Tel: (604) 596-7733 Fax: (604) 595-5326
In the current school year 2013-2014, Surrey employs approximately
145 ABA SWs. This represents part of the array of services available
to the district’s 806 students on the autism spectrum. A
collaborative model that includes other related special education
professionals has been embraced by the district. These additional
professionals include: Speech Language Pathologists, both school
based and those specializing in Augmentative and Alternative
Communication; School Psychologists; District Behaviour Specialists,
Special Education Helping Teachers, Integration Support Teachers;
Special Program teachers; and BASES secondary school teachers, all of
whom may play a role in the ongoing assessment, planning, instruction
and monitoring of educational programming for our students with
autism. We have recently hired a District Behaviour Specialist who
has BCBA credentials in order to continue to refine our practice and
support home team – school team collaboration within our ABA
At the district level, an ABA District Advisory body was created in
2006 to ensure opportunities to collaborate and communicate
effectively with home teams and community based consultants. This
group meets regularly to address both training and implementation
issues that arise in the district and within the relationship with
home teams. All parties focus on assuring the highest quality of pre
service training for paraprofessionals moving into the school
district as our employees. In all matters related to our
relationship with parents and community partners, Surrey School
District maintains a focus on the value of meaningful consultation to
navigate progress in the complex area of special education services.
2006 was a significant year for Surrey School District in the
identification and development of some essential new pathways for
engagement with families and for creating and refining supports for
students. The great work that went on in dreaming and the developing
new norms serves us well as a foundation from which we continue to
grow, to learn and to serve.
Mike McKay
Superintendent of Schools/CEO from 2005 to 2013
14033 – 92 Ave, Surrey, BC V3V 0B7
T 604.596-7733