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Being The Hype Man(Woman) While Teaching Learners with Autism

  • Category: Careers
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Landria Seals Green, MA., CCC-SLP, BCBA
Being The Hype Man(Woman) While Teaching Learners with Autism

Or the importance of sweating while working

A BCBA I once worked with often stated while training

“If you are not sweating; you are not working hard enough.”

It’s a phrase I carry with me and use often when observing behavior technicians in treatment programs. I now train the trainers with this mindset so that this influence is long-lasting.

That phrase reminds me of what it means to be a hypeman. I watched the movie Roxanne Roxanne on Netflix over the weekend and found her hypegirl to be consistent no matter what was happening “The Champ Is Here. The Champ is Here”.

When listening to or watching a hip-hop concert, you often see a hypeman who is working just as hard as the actual artist. It is the hypeman that is making the audience (environment, school, parents) believe harder and join in on the push of making that artist ( our client’s and learner’s) do his or her best work in that moment. Behind the scenes, the hypeman is the one getting the artist ready through words, tough love, pushing him beyond limitations, and even giving ideas for show creativity. The hypeman never quits, never loses energy, always believes, and is the cheerleader. The hypeman is the technician and for every BCBA Chief Engineer, a hypeman RBT is required.

Imagine this. The Behavior Technician is the Hypeman/woman. The Technician believes always in the artist abilities (shown or not); gives energy throughout of the show, and is consistent in how they present the artist in the most positive light no.matter.what.

If the artist is the client that we pour into- shape– grow– and give wings to fly…the Behavior Technician is the hypeman/woman..and the BCBA is the Chief Engineer.

Here are some other ideas to ponder on the importance of the hypeman.

They hypeman is also:

  1. Informed. About every part of the program. Can articulate the show layout (the daily schedule) to all who may ask (parents, school).
  2. Confident. He(she) believes that the work of confidence building; audience participation; artist care is important to the craft and professional identity.
  3. Clear about his/her role. He/She understands who they are. They are not the Engineer, the Artist. They play their position well.
  4. Is Excited about the day.
  5. Is prepared to sweat while working. He or She is appropriately dressed so that there are no distractions and brings water and a towel…so that the work does not stop.
  6. Follows the tempo of the artist and maintains the script of the show (session) at the same time.
  7. Doesn’t get bored even though it's the same show every day…because he knows he brings the fun(k)!!
  8. Stops and Quiets himself when the show is over. Understands the power of restoration after the show prep, show, and follow-up are all done.

The parallel here is important when training beyond our own generations and more important, making technical information more socially significant and transferable to our ABA Technicians and even in the Train the Trainer model.

Training people is important. But it is in the HOW that makes all the difference when trying to get information to Stick.

The Behavior Technician role is significant and integral to the team. Even more so, it is and can be a career option. Adjusting how we perceive and treat individuals in this role will create excitement while simultaneously increasing quality people to support these vital roles in ABA programming.

The HypeMan is not a magical nor iconic figure. Rather, they get to have a up close and personal experience in building a person and engaging clients and their families…because when We do ABA…the world is our stage.