Viva success for Smita Awasthi

Smita Awasthi successfully defended her PhD thesis recently.  Entitled ‘Emergence of Vocalization in Non Vocal Children with a Diagnoses of Autism: Building An Evidence Base for Interventions’, Smita's study spanned five years and reviewed the technologies developed for the emergence of speech in non-vocal children with autism.  It examined the effectiveness of sign mand training, intraverbal training, the role of ‘stimulus : stimulus’ pairing and motivating operations in inducing first instances of speech in non-vocal children on the autism spectrum.

A total of 126 non-vocal children between the ages 1.4 years to 13.5 years participated in four experiments that used delayed multiple baseline design across subjects.  The technologies were effective in inducing first instances of speech in 83% participants.  The time to vocalization, vocals across operants, type of vocal emergence, age of vocalization and the relative successes of the technologies used are all explored.

Dr Smita Awasthi was a distant learning PhD student in the School, conducting her research right across India.  She took part in the viva via Skype.  Her External Examiner was Dr Olive Healy (Trinity College Dublin) and her Internal Examiner was Dr Katerina Dounavi (School of SSESW, Queen’s University Belfast).

Top of Page

Dr Yini Liao - viva success

Yini successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention for Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Comparative Study between Practices and Policies in the UK and China. Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI), which is under the umbrella of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), is an established treatment method for young children with ASD. This study focuses on how ABA-based intervention is applied, in terms of relevant policies and practices. In particular, the application of EIBI in China and the UK is critically examined within the cultural, medical and social context of the two countries. In order to achieve the research aims, mixed methods will be used to collect data in this cross-cultural investigation. This research contributes to understanding issues in an increasingly multi-cultural and connected society.

Top of Page

Autism Behaviour Intervention Association (ABIA) Conference

Melbourne, Australia – a Keynote address and Masterclass were delivered by Professor Karola Dillenburger. During the keynote, Karola talked about how we must expect more in terms of caring for children with autism across their lifespan; addressing issues, practice and future planning. By providing a full life-span approach, results reported here build on and extend a body of previous research regarding the experiences and needs of ageing parent/caregivers of sons and daughters with disability (Dillenburger & McKerr, 2009a; 2009b; 2010) and younger parents/caregivers of children with disability (Dillenburger & Keenan et al., 2010; 2011; Keenan & Dillenburger, et al., 2007; 2010). Furthermore, the results illustrate the consequences of current ageing and childcare strategies as experienced by parent/caregivers and their sons/daughters with disabilities, thus enabling policy makers and professionals to ‘hear the data’. Recommendations are formulated for future childcare and ageing caregiver strategies, policies, and practice.

Karola also delivered a 3-hour Masterclass on Behavioural Parent Training (BPT) for professionals who are involved in training parents to alter their child’s behaviour at home. As ABA professionals and therapists, we know the importance and value of parental involvement in children’s learning and development. Karola took delegates further into this topic, offering information and tips on the theory, practice, and evidence of BPT.

Top of Page

World Autism Awareness Day 2017 Event at CBA

On 3 April visiting scholar in the Centre for Behaviour Analysis Dr Anita Yakkundi (ASSISTID Fellow UCD/QUB) presented her work on 'I Can Read: using technology to learn to read for children with autism' to a full house of delegates from various autism agencies, disability organisations, students, and parents of children with autism

Individuals with autism spectral disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability often encounter problems with reading and comprehension. This limits their social, communication and employment prospects impacting on the quality of life of the affected individuals and their caregivers. Due to their complex learning abilities, they are unable to acquire literacy skills using the standard reading programs. An individualised and user friendly technology is required to enable learning. Touch screen gadgets are user friendly devices for most individuals with ASD and presenting them with a reading program on such a gadget makes learning interactive and engaging.

Top of Page

RBT course in Czech Republic

The second course for Registered Behaviour Technicians (RBT) took place in Brno, Czech Republic, attended by over 40 professionals and Masters students.  Professor Karola Dillenburger, who is part of the course teaching team, delivered training with a focus on Functional Assessment and Behavioural Observation skills. 

Top of Page

Why Applied Behaviour Analysis Conference in Bratislava, Slovakia

An ABA conference and workshop took place in Bratislava, Slovakia, organised by parents and attended by approximately 150 parents of children with autism and professionals.  Professor Karola Dillenburger delivered a number of keynote addresses focusing on the Scientific Evidence of ABA and Parent Training.

Top of Page

MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis - Spring Term workshops

On-campus workshops were held for MScABA students. The MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis is largely taught online.  However, once a term our students come to Belfast to meet, discuss and learn together.  These workshops are attended by MScABA students from all over the world including UK, Ireland, Bahrain, Indonesia and El Salvador.


Top of Page