Discover all the different careers Opportunity Village has to offer with this series of in-depth profession overviews. 

Meet Ashly Westgarth, a Registered Behavior Technician.

In this series of "Day in the Life of ____", we will be highlighting the various professions Opportunity Village has to offer. This feature is focused on Registered Behavior Technician, Ashly Westgarth. 

What led you to OV/your current position? 

I graduated from my undergraduate program in 2017 and was not really sure what I was looking for, I was applying to so many jobs. After several months, OV found me. I began working as an Activities Coordinator in the PRIDE program at the Ralph & Betty Engelstad Campus. I worked my way up, first as a Lead Activities Coordinator, then a Case Manager, and lastly my current job -- Registered Behavior Technician (with a little bit of Case Management). 

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day in the life of Ashly, as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), looks like spending a lot of quality time with young children. I work with three children ranging from 7-10 years old diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I have the pleasure to provide services at the kiddos' home and provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. The ultimate goal is to increase their overall quality of life. 

My first kiddo of the day loves to talk, I spend three hours mainly working with him on academics, eating solid food, and motor dexterity. When earned, we play indoor tennis with a balloon (his favorite!). Afterward, I head over to my next kiddo's house. I spend 2.5 hours working with him on preparing for school readiness (i.e. sitting in a chair, utilizing expressive language, and identifying basic functions/features). Lastly, I will spend two hours with my last kiddo of the day. Our focus is social communication and to not exhibit verbal/aggressive behaviors. At first, she would say "okay" to any comment or question you would say. Now, she is communicating socially appropriately and being kind to others. 

What is the most exciting part of your job?

The most exciting part of my job is noticing the improvements (small or big) that each kiddo makes. One struggled with sitting in a chair for two minutes, now he can sit for six minutes. There was another kiddo who had difficulties with carrying out a conversation, now she is asking 'get-to-know-you' questions before you can even speak. One kiddo used to only drink breakfast essential drinks for every meal. Now he is eating pancakes, bacon, eggs, french fries, and burgers. It really is the small things that make you smile!

Who inspires you?

My older sister is a huge inspiration to me. She has proven to me that when you work hard and focus on what is important to you, you can achieve anything. She has been a role model figure of what a strong, independent, successful woman looks like.

What is your favorite thing to do when you're not working? 

My ABSOLUTE favorite thing to do when I am not working is spending time with my dog by either lounging, going to the park, or traveling. My favorite saying is "Who rescued who?"

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