News

Dr Katerina Dounavi delivered invited speech at 4th Autism Congress in Lille, France

Dr Katerina Dounavi presented scientific facts about autism, highlighted the importance of early detection and discussed universal access to ABA-based interventions as an ethical response to a pressing societal need. Dr Dounavi was an invited speaker in the 4th Autism Congress that took place on 13 October and delivered two talks entitled "The science of Applied Behaviour Analysis as the basis for effective autism treatment: current scientific data" and “Alternative solutions through innovative French concepts”.

Top of Page

Study published in flagship autism journal

PhD students Jenny Ferguson and Emma Craig, together with their supervisor Katerina Dounavi, published a systematic literature review on the delivery of behaviour analytic interventions through telehealth. The study, published in a flagship journal in the field of autism, the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, presents a synthesis of the literature and identifies important quality rigour issues in existing research that practitioners need to take into account when making decisions and researchers need to address in future research. The article has been published open access and can be read at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-018-3724-5

Top of Page

Using Precision Teaching with dermatology students

CBA members collaborated with colleagues from the University's School of Medicine to publish an article on the use of Precision Teaching to teach dermatology students effectively. An intervention versus control study was conducted with 135 3rd year medical students, demonstrating a positive effect of Precision Teaching on students’ dermatology diagnostic skills. This study signals new pedagogical opportunities for this behaviour analytic method in higher education teaching. Click here to freely access the article.

Top of Page

MScABA student Emma Delemere published in prestigious autism journal

MScABA student Emma Delemere, who in 2016 won prestigious UK-wide student research award, with her supervisor Dr Katerina Dounavi published an article in the prestigious Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. It focussed on the effectiveness of two behaviour analytic strategies, bedtime fading and positive routines, on the establishment of healthy sleep patterns for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Click here to read the article open access.

Top of Page

Keynote speech on behavioural components of effective mHealth apps

Dr Katerina Dounavi delivered a keynote speech on behavioural components of effective mHealth apps. MyHabeats, the behavioural vaccine app founded by Dr Milioni, is the result of a multidisciplinary collaboration that builds on knowledge from bariatric surgery, dietetics, behaviour analysis and mobile app design fundamentals. On MyHabeats Launch in May 2018, Dr Dounavi, in her role as a scientific advisor of MyHabeats, delivered a keynote speech on the behavioural components that make an mHealth effective. For more information on MyHabeats, visit http://www.myhabeats.co/

Top of Page

Systematic review on mHealth technology for weight management

Dr Katerina Dounavi and Olga Tsoumani conducted a systematic review of the evidence on the feasibility and effectiveness of mHealth technology for weight loss and presented key outcomes in the 8th Conference of the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders-European Chapter. It is widely accepted that modification of dietary and physical activity habits leads to a decreased risk for chronic disease, such as cancer and diabetes. The systematic review identified effective behavioural components of mobile health (mHealth) technology as a facilitator of lifestyle changes required for successful weight management. An abstract of the research was published in the Obesity Surgery journal.

Top of Page

Article on burnout among ABA professionals

MScABA student Camille Plantiveau, with her supervisor, Dr Katerina Dounavi, and Dr Virués-Ortega from the University of Auckland published an innovative article on burnout rates among ABA professionals, level of job satisfaction and burnout risk factors. Key findings reveal that about two in every three professionals suffer from burnout and one in every three experience a low level of satisfaction with their job. The existence of a social support network and supervision of newly certified professionals were found to mitigate these risks.

Click here to read the full article open access.

Top of Page

Award for CBA doctoral student

Congratulations to Sorah Stein (PhD candidate at the Centre for Behaviour Analysis) for being awarded Associate Faculty Merit Status from the Indiana University South Bend.

The award recognizes outstanding contributions of Associate Faculty. The status is awarded to Sorah for making a professional commitment to Indiana University South Bend in relation to her teaching, course development, student consultation, research, publications, performances, university and community service, and attendance at divisional and professional meetings.

We are proud to have Sorah on board for her distant learning PhD at the Centre for Behaviour Analysis at Queen’s University.

Top of Page

Doctoral student presents at USA conference

Nicole Pfaller-Sadovsky (PhD student in our Centre for Behaviour Analysis) presented a poster at the Women in Behavior Analysis conference (22-24 March) in Nashville, Tennessee. The poster was a follow up to her previously published MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis dissertation. Her study explored clicker training (i.e. backward chaining)  as a treatment for object guarding in pet dogs and investigated different strategies to maintain the previously trained skill of releasing a preferred item on cue (Pfaller-Sadovsky, Medina,  & Hurtado-Parrado, 2017).  Nicole's project was the only animal-related one among the 30 posters exhibited and interest was very high among delegates.  It was Nicole’s first poster presentation outside University setting and she felt very welcomed by conference delegates.  All in all, it was a superbly organised conference, in an excellent setting, highlighting the amazing work of female Behaviour Analysts. 

You can read more about Nicole’s work at: ‘It is mine! Using clicker training as a treatment of object guarding in four companion dogs (Canis lupus familiaris)’. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 22, 57–65. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2017.08.002  Pfaller-Sadovsky, N, Medina, LG, & Hurtado-Parrado, C (2017).

Top of Page

CBA seminar series - Employment of people with disabilities: The case of the Czech Republic

Date: 2 March 2018
Speaker: Dr Lucie Procházková from Masaryk University, Czech Republic
Institute for Research in Inclusive Education – Faculty of Education
https://www.muni.cz/en/people/20097-lucie-prochazkova

Work and preparation for it constitutes a substantial part of our lives. The right to work belongs among the basic human rights. People with disabilities face multiple difficulties when entering the labour market. Employment has been a part of political agenda in the whole EU, the support of disadvantaged groups of people even more so. In the Czech Republic, social inclusion of people with disabilities has been related to the overall political and economic situation of the country. People with disabilities were integrated in the labour market only to a small degree until the 1990s. It is only 30 years ago that people with disabilities began to be employed in the free labour market, their potential recognized and these people became members of working teams. Yet we can still recognise many obstacles in the process of employment of people with disabilities (attitudes of society, of employers and people with disabilities, barriers in the environment and the system).

Lucie Procházková, Ph.D. (Masaryk University, Czech Republic) is a senior lecturer at the Masaryk University, Faculty of Education. Her main focus is on the employment of people with disabilities and support during vocational education and integration to the labour market and society. At the moment, she focuses her research (and publishing) activities on the attitudes of employers to employment of people with disabilities as well as on experience of people with disabilities at the labour market. She leads courses dealing with education and support of adults with disabilities, courses for German speaking students and mentors students' practicum. She is involved in international projects. Before entering the Faculty of Education at MU, she worked as a researcher in Vienna, Austria.

 

Top of Page

ABAI Paris conference welcomes large CBA contingent

The Centre for Behaviour Analysis at Queen’s was well represented by approx 15-20 MScABA and PhD students, as well as post-docs and staff members, at the 9th International Conference of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) in Paris, France in November. Presentations covered early diagnosis and preventive interventions for infants with autism, behavioural safety, evoking vocals with non-verbal children with autism, teaching toileting skills, comparing ABA practices in the UK and China, policy-changing practices of an NGO of families in France, using ABA to help veterans, and the use of technology for teaching reading to children with severe learning disabilities. 

Top of Page

Bringing ABA to the community in the Czech Republic

Professor Karola Dillenburger was at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, to teach the 3rd Registered Behaviour Technician course.  Since 2015, her regular visits to the Czech Republic have been part of the EU funded Erasmus+ exchange programme between Queen's University and Masaryk University, with the aim of bringing the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) to the Czech Republic. 

On this occasion, 100 students attended her lectures. Profesoor Dillenburger also attended the opening seminar of the Skola Lyckova, the first ABA School in the Czech Republic, in Prague, with staff and parents and local academics. She will return to Masaryk Uni in the Spring of 2018 to continue to deliver the first Czech BACBA validated course sequence, to prepare local students to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts. 

Top of Page

User-centered reading interventions for individuals with autism and intellectual disability

Dr Anita Yakkundi CBA ASSISTID Fellow at CBA co-authored a conference paper on user-centered reading interventions for individuals with autism and intellectual disability, which was published as a chapter in the e-book series “Studies in Health Technologies and Informatics. Individuals with autism and intellectual disability (ID) have complex learning needs and often have difficulty in acquiring reading comprehension skills using conventional teaching tools. Evidence based reading interventions for these learners and the use of assistive technology and application of behaviour analysis to develop user-centered teaching is discussed in this paper. Yakkundi, A., Dillenburger, K., Goodman, L. & Dounavi, A. (2017). User Centered Reading Intervention for Individuals with Autism and Intellectual Disability. Netherlands: IOS Press, Vol. 242, p. 249-256 8 p. (Studies in Health Technology and Informatics; vol. 242) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28873806

Top of Page

Centre colleagues' input at AAATE conference

The Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe held its bi-annual conference in Sheffield recently.  Two of our Centre for Behaviour Analysis post-doctoral fellows presented their research in the AssistID fellowship group.  Dr Anita Yakkundi presented her work on iCanRead, an Applied Behaviour Analysis-based computer reading system for children with Autism, and Trish MacKeogh outlined her work on developing an interactive multimodal assessment tool for children with intellectual disabilities.

Top of Page

Paper based on MScABA research published in prestigious journal

The Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research has just published a paper based on research conducted as part of our MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis. The paper, entitled It’s mine! Using clicker training as a treatment of object guarding in four companion dogs (Canis lupus familiaris), is based onNicole Pfaller-Sadovsky's MScABA dissertation. Nicole's research was supervised by Dr Camilo Hurtado-Parrado, Konrad Lorenz University (Colombia).

Aggressive behaviours in companion dogs are a serious problem to owners, which often result in important physical and emotional damage on the victims. Aggressive incidents frequently happen during human-dog interactions (i.e. reaching toward the dog or petting it) while the dog is engaging with a preferred item (e.g. a toy, sock or shoe). The current study investigated whether a clicker-training approach, backward chaining, could decrease the frequency of category-II (e.g. ears flattened and/or hovering over object) and category-III (e.g. staring and/or stiffening up) behaviors by establishing an alternative target response of releasing preferred item on cue.

Top of Page

Trish MacKeogh (ASSISTID Fellow at CBA) invited to present at WHO conference in Geneva

The Global Research, Innovation, and Education in Assistive Technology (GREAT) Summit took place on the 3–4 August 2017 at WHO headquarters in Geneva. The Summit brought together 150 top global researchers, innovators and educators who carry out research or offer training programmes related to assistive technology policy, products, personnel, provision and use.

This emanates from the WHO Global priority research agenda to further the aims of GATE. The theme was central to research being carried out by ASSISTID programme and ASSISTID fellows Trish MacKeogh and Fleur Boot were invited to participate.

This research was supported by funding from the charity RESPECT and the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under REA grant agreement no. PCOFUND-GA-2013-608728’

Top of Page

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.

https://www.abatoday.com.au/dr-karolla-dillenburge
https://www.abatoday.com.au/masterclasses

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

CBA Seminar Series

Employment of people with disabilities: The case of the Czech Republic

2 March 2018

Speaker: Dr Lucie Procházková from Masaryk University, Czech Republic
Institute for Research in Inclusive Education – Faculty of Education
https://www.muni.cz/en/people/20097-lucie-prochazkova

Work and preparation for it constitutes a substantial part of our lives. The right to work belongs among the basic human rights. People with disabilities face multiple difficulties when entering the labour market. Employment has been a part of political agenda in the whole EU, the support of disadvantaged groups of people even more so. In the Czech Republic, social inclusion of people with disabilities has been related to the overall political and economic situation of the country. People with disabilities were integrated in the labour market only to a small degree until the 1990s. It is only 30 years ago that people with disabilities began to be employed in the free labour market, their potential recognized and these people became members of working teams. Yet we can still recognise many obstacles in the process of employment of people with disabilities (attitudes of society, of employers and people with disabilities, barriers in the environment and the system).

Lucie Procházková, Ph.D. (Masaryk University, Czech Republic) is a senior lecturer at the Masaryk University, Faculty of Education. Her main focus is on the employment of people with disabilities and support during vocational education and integration to the labour market and society. At the moment, she focuses her research (and publishing) activities on the attitudes of employers to employment of people with disabilities as well as on experience of people with disabilities at the labour market. She leads courses dealing with education and support of adults with disabilities, courses for German speaking students and mentors students' practicum. She is involved in international projects. Before entering the Faculty of Education at MU, she worked as a researcher in Vienna, Austria.

Top of Page

CBA Seminar Series

Employment of people with disabilities: The case of the Czech Republic

2 March 2018

Speaker: Dr Lucie Procházková from Masaryk University, Czech Republic
Institute for Research in Inclusive Education – Faculty of Education
https://www.muni.cz/en/people/20097-lucie-prochazkova

Work and preparation for it constitutes a substantial part of our lives. The right to work belongs among the basic human rights. People with disabilities face multiple difficulties when entering the labour market. Employment has been a part of political agenda in the whole EU, the support of disadvantaged groups of people even more so. In the Czech Republic, social inclusion of people with disabilities has been related to the overall political and economic situation of the country. People with disabilities were integrated in the labour market only to a small degree until the 1990s. It is only 30 years ago that people with disabilities began to be employed in the free labour market, their potential recognized and these people became members of working teams. Yet we can still recognise many obstacles in the process of employment of people with disabilities (attitudes of society, of employers and people with disabilities, barriers in the environment and the system).

Lucie Procházková, Ph.D. (Masaryk University, Czech Republic) is a senior lecturer at the Masaryk University, Faculty of Education. Her main focus is on the employment of people with disabilities and support during vocational education and integration to the labour market and society. At the moment, she focuses her research (and publishing) activities on the attitudes of employers to employment of people with disabilities as well as on experience of people with disabilities at the labour market. She leads courses dealing with education and support of adults with disabilities, courses for German speaking students and mentors students' practicum. She is involved in international projects. Before entering the Faculty of Education at MU, she worked as a researcher in Vienna, Austria.

Top of Page

CBA Seminar Series

Employment of people with disabilities: The case of the Czech Republic

2 March 2018

Speaker: Dr Lucie Procházková from Masaryk University, Czech Republic
Institute for Research in Inclusive Education – Faculty of Education
https://www.muni.cz/en/people/20097-lucie-prochazkova

Work and preparation for it constitutes a substantial part of our lives. The right to work belongs among the basic human rights. People with disabilities face multiple difficulties when entering the labour market. Employment has been a part of political agenda in the whole EU, the support of disadvantaged groups of people even more so. In the Czech Republic, social inclusion of people with disabilities has been related to the overall political and economic situation of the country. People with disabilities were integrated in the labour market only to a small degree until the 1990s. It is only 30 years ago that people with disabilities began to be employed in the free labour market, their potential recognized and these people became members of working teams. Yet we can still recognise many obstacles in the process of employment of people with disabilities (attitudes of society, of employers and people with disabilities, barriers in the environment and the system).

Lucie Procházková, Ph.D. (Masaryk University, Czech Republic) is a senior lecturer at the Masaryk University, Faculty of Education. Her main focus is on the employment of people with disabilities and support during vocational education and integration to the labour market and society. At the moment, she focuses her research (and publishing) activities on the attitudes of employers to employment of people with disabilities as well as on experience of people with disabilities at the labour market. She leads courses dealing with education and support of adults with disabilities, courses for German speaking students and mentors students' practicum. She is involved in international projects. Before entering the Faculty of Education at MU, she worked as a researcher in Vienna, Austria.

Top of Page