News

CBA contributes to ABA training in the Czech Republic

Following on from a seminar held at the Czech Parliament in February this year, Karola Dillenburger of the Centre for Behaviour Analysis (in her capacity as a member of the Board of Directors of the European Association for Behaviour Analysis) met with the Czech Medical Association and the Czech Association for Behaviour Analysis to secure an important agreement to set training standards for Applied Behaviour Analysts in the Czech Republic.  Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is used to enhance the quality of life for individuals with Autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders and CBA colleagues have been at the forefront of ABA training and research in Northern Ireland for nearly 20 years.

The first ABA course took place at Masaryk University, Czech Republic, supported by Erasmus+ partnership with our Centre for Behaviour Analysis and the School of Psychology, Ulster University. Karola Dillenburger (pictured left with Karel Pancocha, Masaryk University, and Mickey Keenan, Ulster University) delivered ABA training to a group of over 50 students on Masaryk's Masters in Special Education as well as Registered Behaviour Technician trainees.  This ABA training course is now a core requirement for all Masters in Special Education students at Masaryk University.  The Czech BACB approved course sequence at Masaryk will have its first intake in 2017-18, supported by Professor Dillenburger in her role as Visiting Professor.

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Final BASE Report now available on OFMDFM webpage

Helping the most vulnerable out of the poverty trap and reducing inequality: Policies, Strategies and Services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Vol 5) Dillenburger, McKerr and Jordan (2016) http://bit.ly/2e1g3gY

"There is extensive and unequivocal evidence (National Autism Center (NAC), 2015) that early intensive behavioural interventions (i.e., based on the scientific discipline of Applied Behaviour Analysis; ABA6) can enhance the quality of life of individuals with ASD and their families (BASE Project Vol. 1) and lead to optimal outcomes (Fein et al., 2013; Orinstein et al., 2014)."

Without early intensive behaviour analysis-based interventions the outlook is bleak. Howlin, Savage, Moss, Tempier, and Rutter (2014) conducted a 40-year follow-up of adults (n=65; mean age 44 years), whom they had diagnosed as children in the 1970s. Evidently, early intensive behaviour analysis-based interventions lead to positive long-term outcomes (BASE Project Vol. 1) and thus constitute a crucial mechanism to help vulnerable people with autism out of poverty and inequality. Based on a cost- savings analysis, Case Study 2 is an example of good practice in relation to early behaviour analysis-based intervention that could function as a model for implementation in Northern Ireland. 

Full Reports (Vol 1-4) available for free download at http://bit.ly/2f07mQW

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Deputy Director Visits Futuroscope

Futoroschool in Paris (Vaincre l'Autisme) recently secured funding by the regional governmental agency for another 15 years of ABA-based service provision to children and young persons with autism. Dr Katerina Dounavi from the Centre for Behaviour Analysis recently conducted a visit to Futuroschool for an on-site supervision, to review children's progress, deliver staff training and meet with families.

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Centre well represented at the European Association for Behaviour Analysis 8th conference, in Enna, Sicily

The 8th conference of the European Association for Behaviour Analysis (EABA) took place at Kore University in Enna, Sicily.

A number of CBA students and staff presented papers and posters, including PhD student Amy Tanner who presented on how to use a parent-mediated intervention to treat autism symptoms in infants; Caleb Coyle on the use of the Good Inclusion Game (GIG) showing how to build solidarity and inclusion in the classroom; Smita Awasti on inducing vocalisations in non-vocal children with autism. MScABA graduants, Emma Delemere (MScABA) on the efficacy of parent-implemented bedtime fading and positive routines on sleep onset latency, total sleep duration and night awakenings for children with autistic spectrum disorder. Emma’s paper was awarded the 2016 student research prize by the UK Society for Behaviour Analysis; and Camille Plantiveau together with CBA Deputy Director, Dr Katerina Dounavi, on burnout among ABA professionals. Prof. Karola Dillenburger is a Member of the Board of Directors on the EABA. More events are planned including the 2nd bi-annual EABA summer school in Cadiz, Spain on 5-8 July 2017 and the 9th bi-annual EABA conference on 19-23 Sept 2018 in Würzburg, Germany.

Picture from left to right: Amy Tanner (PhD student), Dr Katerina Dounavi (CBA Deputy Director), Emma Delemere (MScABA graduate)

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Launch of BASE report at Stormont Castle on 19 September
photograph of young boy examining a leaf through a magnifying glass

The Centre for Behaviour Analysis cordially invites families and individuals directly affected by autism to the launch of the BASE Project Research Reports:

  • Helping people with Autism (including intellectual and neurodevelopmental disabilities) out of the poverty trap and reducing inequality in Northern Ireland

The launch will take place in Stormont Castle, Long Gallery on 19 Sept. 2016 from 2-4pm. 

Please confirm your attendance in advance by returning the RSVP slip (below) to a.keaney@qub.ac.uk. Please print the invitation (below) and present it at the security gates.

Brief outline of the research: 

This 3-year research project was funded by OFMDFM (2012-2015) and provides a baseline that allows for benchmarking of progress with regards to autism services in NI. The research was carried out by a team from the Centre for Behaviour Analysis at Queen’s University Belfast, led by Professor Karola Dillenburger. The outcome consisted of five reports:

1 - A comprehensive review of research literature about autism with regard to poverty and social inclusion, that includes a summary of autism related reports in Northern Ireland since 2002 (BASE Volume 1).

2 - Results of the first autism module included in the Northern Ireland Life and Times survey (NILT 2012), that examined public attitudes, knowledge and awareness with regard to autism in a sample of 1200 adults in NI  (BASE Volume 2).

3 - A comprehensive analysis of existing regional and  national data sets, that are relevant to the lives of individuals and families affected by autism in Northern Ireland, focusing on education, employment, and poverty (BASE Volume 3).

4 - A qualitative analysis exploring the experiences of individuals with autism, their parents/carergivers and the staff (both public and private sector) who support service users  with autism, and that examines how effectively  autism policies and strategies translate into real-life services (BASE Volume 4). 

5 - The final project report that summarizes the main findings of the research, and included detailed, out-come focused recommendations. This report identifies four key areas that, if addressed, would have the greatest positive impact for individuals with autism and their families across the lifespan (BASE Volume 5).

The final summary report (Vol 5) can be download from https://www.executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk/publications/helping-most-vulnerable-out-poverty-trap-and-reducing-inequality-policies-strategies-and-services)

All five volumes of the BASE Project Report can be downloaded from: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentreforBehaviourAnalysis/Research/BenchmarkingAutismServiceEfficacyBASE/

For peer-reviewed journal publications that report some of the research results see www.qub.ac.uk/cba


 

Mervyn Storey MLA

 

requests the pleasure of the company of

 

..……….…

at a Launch of the BASE Project:

Helping people with Autism (including intellectual and neurodevelopmental disabilities) out of the poverty trap and reducing inequality in Northern Ireland

in the

Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Belfast

on behalf of

Centre for Behaviour Analysis, Queen’s University


REPLY SLIP              EVENT AT PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS ON [16/09/2016]

 

(tick appropriate)  

*          Yes, I will attend the above event    ------------------    

*          No, I will not attend the above event -----------------   

Name:  _____________________________________________

Address: _____________________________________________

Tel No: _________________  E-mail: ______________________

*          My vehicle registration number is        _________________________

*          Please indicate if you require special access arrangements

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Yini Liao wins Faculty prize in poster competition

Yini Liao, a PhD student from the Centre for Behaviour Analysis, was named as the Faculty of AHSS winner at the Annual Graduate School Researcher Poster Competition.  Yini's poster displayed her research comparing Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the UK and China.  Yini's work is funded by a Queen’s University Chinese Studentship.  She was delighted to collect her £100 prize in recognition of the high standard of her poster.

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Presentation at 18th Annual International Conference on Education, Athens

Dr Katerina Dounavi and Dr Stefania Giannakaki presented a paper entitled “Effective Behaviour-Analytic Strategies for Promoting ASD Inclusive Classes: The Role of the Teacher and Peers” at the 18th Annual International Conference on Education organised by The Education Research Unit of ATINER in Athens in May 2016.

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Canadian interest in CBA student's study

Amy Tanner, PhD student at the Centre for Behaviour Analysis, was interviewed by Global News in Canada in relation to her study focusing on parent-mediated interventions for very young children with autism. The project is supervised by Dr Katerina Dounavi and has attracted the attention of Canadian policy makers. Watch the video at http://bit.ly/1ZEwrAR

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Association for Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) Convention

Tia Martin, Caleb Coyle, Smita Awasthi and Jason Majchrzak (left to right), PhD students from Centre for Behaviour Analysis, attended and presented at Association for Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) Convention in Washington, DC 31 March-2 April 2016 (http://www.apbahome.net/2016conv.php)

The professionalization of applied behaviour analysis has emerged from a number of influences. An accumulating research base has continued to improve the field’s capabilities.  Other professions, public and private service providers, and the culture at large have become more aware of the capabilities of this science-based technology.  A growing demand for effective intervention for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and other conditions has driven more consumers and employers to seek behaviour analytic services. Colleges and universities have responded to these demands by establishing professional training programmes in applied behaviour analysis.

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Helping families living with autism

A report by Karola Dillenburger, Director for the Centre for Behaviour Analysis, highlighted that early intervention based on applied behaviour analysis (ABA) is recognised internationally as best practice and can enhance the quality of life of people with autism. http://bit.ly/1MDXYeY

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Visiting scholar - Aviva Cohen

I am a Marie Curie ASSISTID post-doctoral fellow. My research is supported by the charity RESPECT under the supervision of Professor Dillenburger, Queen’s, and Professor Goodman UCD.

I am working to help ageing parents plan the future care of their sons and daughters with intellectual difficulty or cognitive challenges. Fewer than a third of carers make effective futures plans. As a consequence, vulnerable adults often face the trauma of leaving home for the first time after a parent is no longer able to care for them. This also puts pressure on health care services who find it difficult to provide appropriate accommodation at short notice.  

To address this, I am creating two practical tools. Using video modelling technology, we will develop an app to enable parents to record short videos of everyday activities. New carers can view these videos and understand (and model on) how the person with disabilities likes to eat, dress or meet people. I will also design a multimedia training course. It will educate, inform and support ageing carers in planning the future for and, where possible, with their loved ones. Topics include: finding accommodation, managing finances and creating legal security. In addition, parents will learn how to plan for their own future.

My work will be informed by Applied Behaviour Analysis and as part of my ASSISTID fellowship I will undertake the online MScABA at the School of Education at Queen’s.  (www.assistid.eu)

 

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Visiting scholar - Aviva Cohen

I am a Marie Curie ASSISTID post-doctoral fellow. My research is supported by the charity RESPECT under the supervision of Professor Dillenburger, Queen’s University, and Professor Goodman, University College Dublin.

I am working to help ageing parents plan the future care of their sons and daughters with intellectual difficulty or cognitive challenges. Fewer than a third of carers make effective future plans. As a consequence, vulnerable adults often face the trauma of leaving home for the first time after a parent is no longer able to care for them. This also puts pressure on health care services who find it difficult to provide appropriate accommodation at short notice.  

To address this, I am creating two practical tools. Using video modelling technology, we will develop an app to enable parents to record short videos of everyday activities. New carers can view these videos and understand (and model on) how the person with disabilities likes to eat, dress or meet people. I will also design a multimedia training course. It will educate, inform and support ageing carers in planning the future for and, where possible, with their loved ones. Topics include: finding accommodation, managing finances and creating legal security. In addition, parents will learn how to plan for their own future.

My work will be informed by Applied Behaviour Analysis and as part of my ASSISTID fellowship I will undertake the online MScABA at the Centre of Behaviour Analysis at the School of Education, Queen’s University.  (www.assistid.eu)

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Dr Trish MacKeogh ASSISTID Fellow and Visiting Research Fellow at CBA

Trish comes to us from Dublin Institute of Technology. Her project focusses developing best practice in matching technology to the needs of persons with disabilities.

New technologies are increasing the capabilities of assistive technology (AT) to support people with disabilities in everyday activities.  For children with intellectual disabilities and autism, technologies can provide opportunities for greater and more flexible access to everyday activities and to education then traditional methods.  This research adopts a universal design approach to identify the main factors for children with intellectual disabilities to both acquire and successfully use AT and will develop an assessment tool, an online training course and an information source.  A key aspect of this work is an understanding of the needs and abilities of children with intellectual disability and autism through behaviour analysis and I am delighted that my two year secondment phase of the three year outgoing Marie Curie Fellowship is with Professor Dillenburger at the Centre for Behavioural Analysis.

t.mackeogh@qub.ac.uk

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Yini Liao wins Scholarship to fund study at Monash University, Australia

Yini Liao, PhD student at the Centre for Behaviour Analysis, has secured a William & Betty MacQuitty Travel Scholarship from the University, to support her research trip to Melbourne, Australia. Yini will spend a three month study period at Monash University, hosted by Dr Angelika Anderson, where she is undertaking research training and a practical internship. Yini's PhD research focusses on a comparison between UK and China of the implementation of applied behaviour analysis-based early interventions for children with autism. She is presently writing up the results of three inter-related studies that included a large scale survey, qualitative interviews and quantitative direct observations. 

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The Centre welcomes Visiting Scholar - Anita Yakkundi

My ASSISTID fellowship is a part of the Marie Curie-EU scheme hosted by University College Dublin with a secondment phase at Centre for Behaviour Analysis (CBA), School of Education.  I propose to provide academic intervention to individuals with Autism and intellectual disabilities using assistive and behaviour technology.  Applying behaviour analysis to shape the learning behaviour of participants would be a key part of my research and therefore I chose to work with Prof Dillenburger, CBA, SoE, QUB, due to their expertise in behaviour analysis. I am a scientific researcher and autism parent with a vast experience in autism, having recently completed Masters in ABA. My vision is to work towards developing a learning centre for early vocational/employment as well as independent life skills for individuals with ASD using Evidence-based practice.

Anita can be contacted at a.yakkundi@qub.ac.uk

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ABA presentation and project launch at Stormont

By invitation of Brenda Hale (MLA), a presentation was made at Stormont about applied behaviour analysis based interventions in autism, the work of the charity Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists (PEAT). The audience heard parents’ reports of the benefits of working with PEAT and the new Road Safety Project was launched.

CBA is proud to partner in a number of projects with PEAT. The most recent project aimed at improving Road Safety was funded by Department of Transport and includes video-modelling procedures to help children with autism behave safely in traffic. CBA consulted in the development of the videos and the voice over was provided by one of CBA research students. Referring to the fact that many children with autism wander and thus are exposed to road dangers, the Minister for Transport, Mr Mark H Durkan, who launched the project said: ‘This project has the potential to save lives.’

The videos are available (free) on the PEAT webpages www.peatni.org

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April - Autism Awareness month

The Centre for Behaviour Analysis (CBA) at Queen's University Belfast are celebrating April Autism Awareness month with a workshop about teaching strategies for children/young people with ASD and related disorders.

This workshop will focus on training for parents and professionals (particularly teaching staff) for working with children and young people with autism.

The workshop is run in collaboration with PEAT charity and will be delivered by a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst.

Everyone welcome. For tickets please contact Lynsay@peatni.org

https://www.facebook.com/events/533384826810972/

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Workshops and meetings at Presov University

Meetings to discuss and develop training in ABA and future collaborations with CBA/QUB were held at Presov University, Slovakia in advance of a workshop about ABA and autism. Professor Milan Portik, PhD., Vice-Rector for Science, Art, Sport and Accreditation, University of Presov and Deans, Heads of School (Special Education) met together with parents organisations and Representatives from the Ministry of Education to discuss further developments of training in ABA. The workshops and meetings followed from workshops in Bratislava in Oct 2015, when Professor Dillenburger and others presented to over 250 parents and professionals. 

The full-day workshop at Presov University was very well received by approx 100 students, parents and professionals who are keen to learn more about ABA-based interventions in autism. Further collaborations between Presov University and QUB are planned through Erasmus+ mobility activities.


Pictured (from left)
- Radoslav Rusnak, PhD., Vice-Dean for International Relations, Development and Quality Assurance, Faculty of Education University of Presov in Presov,
- assoc. prof. Bibiana Hlebova, Head of the Department of Special Education, Faculty of Education, University of Presov in Presov, 
- prof. Karola Dillenburger, School of Education, Queen´s University, 
- prof. PhDr. Milan Portik, PhD., Vice-Rector for Science, Art, Sport and Accreditation, University of Presov in Presov, 
- prof. Mickey Keenan, School of Psychology, Ulster University, 
- Lucia Hrebenarova, Ph.D., Department of Special Education, Faculty of Education, University of Presov in Presov, 
- assoc. prof. M. Sc. Jana Burgerová, PhD., Dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Presov, 
- assoc. prof. dr. Renata Bernátová, PhD., Vice-Dean for Educational Affairs, Faculty of Education, University of Presov in Presov,
- Alena Chlebikova, advisor of the state secretary of the Ministry of Education Romana Kanovska, 
- Mgr. Jana Muránska, PhD., RATA, (Parent association), 
- assoc. prof. Ladislav Hornak, PhD., Department of Special Education, Faculty of Education, University of Presov in Presov.

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Czech Republic: Paving the way for autism services and professional training in ABA

A meeting was held at the Czech Republic Ministry of Health to discuss the development of autism servcies based on Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and University-based training in ABA. This meeting followed the pervious meeting with Professor Dillenburger and Mgr Jaroslav Fidrmuc, Deputy minister, Ministry of Education and the Deputy Minister for Education in October 2015. Since then the Czech Association for Behaviour Analysis (CzABA) has been formed and the first ABA course is planned at Masaryk University in Brno in September 2016. Further developments include Erasmus+ contracts for staff exchange between Masaryk University and Queen's University Belfast.

The meeting affirmed the commitment from the Czech Ministry of Health and the Czech Ministry of Education to Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) based autism services and university-based training in ABA, and the commitment of the Director of Non-medical (Allied) Health Professionals, Ministry of Health to explore pathways to include Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBA) under their remit.

The meeting followed a Hearing at the Czech Government offices of evidence about ABA and autism. Evidence was delivered by Professor Dillenburger (School of Education, Queen's University), Professor Keenan (Ulster University), Professor Lorri Unumb (Autism Speaks) and Dr Neil Martin (BACB). The evidence hearing was attended by approx 150 delegates.

Pictured (from left):

David Kasal MD, Member of Parliament, Vice-President of Committee on Health; President of Czech Society for ABA
Mgr Lenka BlaĆŸková, assistant to deputy Minister of Health
Mgr Alice Strnadová, MBA, section Director, Non-medical (Allied) Health Professionals, Ministry of Health
Professor Karola Dillenburger, School of Education, Queen’s University Belfast
Mgr Jaroslav Fidrmuc, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education
Lorri Unumb, Autism Speaks, Vice-President for State Affairs
Dr Neil Martin, Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), Director of International Development
Professor Mickey Keenan, Ulster University
Dr Jana Gandalovicová (Parent organisation; Founder member of Czech Society for ABA)

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Chinese Spring Festival

The Chinese Spring Festival was celebrated at School of Education, with Yini Liao (pictured right, PhD student at our Centre for Behaviour Analysis) and friends in beautiful traditional Qipao (Chinese dress). Yini then presented her research at the Doctoral Research Centre Seminar Series.

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