Supervision for Certification in the Field of Applied Behaviour Analysis

An article focusing on supervision for certification in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis has been published by Katerina Dounavi, Brian Fennell and Erin Early. Implications for evidence-based supervision of professionals in the process of becoming certified will be useful for BCBAs offering supervision services. The article is freely accessible at

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Launch of Job Coaches for Adults with Disabilities: A practical guide

Centre for Behaviour Analysis colleagues hosted a seminar by Dr Helena Vaďurová (Masaryk University) on Employing People with Disabilities in the Czech Republic: From Obligation to Recognition, followed by a book launch of Job Coaches for Adults with Disabilities: A practical guide.

Professor David Jones (Pro-Vice-Chancellor) welcomed an audience of professionals, students, and job coaches and Professor Karola Dillenburger (editor of the book) described the European Job Coach Project and the ‘birth’ of the book.

Some of the authors made presentations on their chapters: Norman Sterritt (Triangle Progression to Employment) spoke about Job Coaching and the European Union of Supported Employment; Dr Helena Vaďurová (Masaryk University) spoke about issues for employers; Trish MacKeogh (DIT-QUB ASSISTID Fellow 2018) talked about employees with physical and sensory disabilities; Dr Brian Fennell (Middletown Centre for Autism) elaborated on his chapter regarding dealing with challenging behaviours; and Dr Lyn McKerr (School of SSESW) described her chapters regarding 'insider' views, including employees who have job coaches and professional job coaches themselves.

Disabled people are disproportionately unemployed or under-employed. Their potential to make a living and contribute economically is not fully utilised, which has negative effects not only their quality of life but on society as a whole. It is the role of the job coach to help people with disabilities to find and maintain a job. The professional qualifications and training standards for job coaches remain rather unclear in most countries, although European standards have been developed. This book is the key text in the field. It brings together authors from the European Union, USA and New Zealand. 

(from left): Dr Lyn McKerr (SSESW), Trish MacKeogh (Dublin), Dr Helena Vaďurová (Masaryk University, Czech Republic), Norman Sterritt (Triangle Housing), Prof Karola Dillenburger (SSESW), Prof David Jones (Pro-Vice-Chancellor).

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CBA contribution to Sharland Foundation

SSESW academic and CBA member Catherine Storey was invited to join the Sharland Foundation Developmental Disabilities ABA Research and Impact Network. It focusses on intellectual disabilities and using ABA-based methods to support individuals’ skills development and quality of life and to reduce the impact of problem behaviours forming barriers to learning or community participation. Catherine attended the first meeting for her research strand “Teaching skills including pre-school and academic skills to children and young people, primarily in school contexts” in Coventry earlier this academic year. With fellow Foundation members, Catherine is running two literacy projects with Mencap NI and The Fostering Network.

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Systematic Review of Behavioural Interventions for Water Safety

People with autism are much more likely to die from drowning than members of the general population. Drowning can take place in quite small bodies of water so acquiring good water safety skills is of the utmost importance. A systematic review of effective behavioural interventions for water safety and swim skills was conducted by PhD candidate Catriona (Tia) Martin and supervisor Karola Dillenburger for Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Findings show that behaviourally based interventions can improve water safety and swim skills in children with autism. See more at

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Influential research published in collaboration with colleagues from School of Medical Education

Intravenous fluid (IV) therapy is an important component of care for many hospital patients, especially in perioperative and acute care settings. However, errors in fluid composition and dosing can be life-threatening. To achieve competent professional performance, i.e., accurate and fluent, it is vitally important that medical students receive effective training in IV. Centre for Behaviour Analysis colleagues Katerina Dounavi and Karola Dillenburger, together with the team from the School of Medical Education, explored how behaviour analytic teaching methods can enhance outcomes of usual medical education techniques. Read more at Walsh, I.K., Dounavi, K., Houghton, J., Cullen, K.M., & Dillenburger, K. (2019). Fluency training in medical education: Improving competence in IV fluid therapy knowledge and skills. AMEE MedEdPublish.

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The seamlessCARE platform

The seamlessCARE platform is the culmination of a three-year Marie Curie/ASSISTID postdoctoral research Fellowship held by Dr Aviva Cohen, hosted in our Centre for Behaviour Analysis (CBA) and supervised by Karola Dillenburger (Director of CBA) and Lizbeth Goodman (University College Dublin). The project addresses the emerging crisis caused by a lack of future planning by ageing carers of loved ones with intellectual disability, learning disability, autism spectrum disorders, acquired brain injury, dementia and a range of other complex needs. It also tackles the inadequacies of paper-based and digital care planning tools used in caring and therapeutic organisations.

The seamlessCARE platform enables care givers to take photographs, record short videos and make notes about the medical, social and communication issues for each care recipient. Parents and guardians can receive an alert about the updates. The platform creates an accessible digital archive that can be viewed by everyone who interacts with that person, ensuring continuity of care while providing privacy, where needed, through password protection. Through a process of inclusive design, Aviva created a user friendly interface that can be operated by anyone, including those with little technical knowhow. Aviva tested her archive model as an iOS platform and gathered feedback at the design phase from over 200 participants including family carers and health care professionals.  

The final version of the seamlessCARE platform will also include a tool that records some of the vocalisations made by non-verbal people and translates these sounds into text that carers can read. In addition, it will include sophisticated data analytics relating to those communications. The Irish government have invested in the seamlessCARE project and Aviva is seeking further investment to extend its use.

For more information see or

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Dolan Social Farm

Karola Dillenburger (left) and Lyn McKerr (right) visited Dolan Social Farm near Garrison, Fermanagh, to start work on a project supported by an InvestNI Innovation Voucher. The voucher is funding provided to a small or medium sized business to work with an expert knowledge provider.

Farm owners Miriam and Malachy Dolan said: ‘Social Farming and Care farming are the practices of offering family farms and farming as a form of social service. The farm is not a specialized treatment farm; rather the farm remains a typical working farm where people in need of support can benefit from participation in the farm’s activities in a non-clinical environment. It can also reconnect farmers with their local communities through the opening up of their farms as part of the social support system of the community.’

The Innovation Voucher will be used to conduct an in-depth analysis of the physical and mental well-being and social inclusion of the service users, (adults with learning disabilities or mental health issues) and of their families, to determine if taking part in social farming can add value to their lives and how they feel the experience could be enhanced.

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Seminar - Helping dog owners to understand problem behaviours: Conducting functional analyses

Nicole Pfaller-Sadovsky MScABA (distant PhD Student from Austria) presented a very interesting Centre for Behaviour Analysis Seminar on 13 March to discuss her research on conducting functional analysis to assess the relationship between caregiver behaviour and dog behaviour. The event saw a great turn-out of staff, students and practitioners. 

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Collaboration in the Czech Republic

Karola Dillenburger (centre) visited Masaryk University, Brno, in the Czech Republic recently to continue her collaboration with parents, academics, and professionals on the Government funded ABA project. This visit focussed on developing the Czech Verified Course Sequence further to ensure it continues to meet professional standards. She is pictured with (L-R) Zuzanna Mastena BCBA, Professor Karel Pancocha MUNI, Milena Nemocova Czech Society for Behaviour Analysis, and Professor Mickey Keenan, Ulster University.

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MScABA student Lucie Lukášová

Students on our MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis work all over the world. Lucie Lukášová, one of our MScABA students, is from the Czech Republic and is conducting supervised practice with children at Masaryk University Centre for Applied Behaviour Analysis (CABA) in Brno. Lucie is aiming to become a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA).

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Good Inclusion Game

PhD candidate Caleb Coyle and supervisor Professor Karola Dillenburger developed and evaluated the ‘Good Inclusion Game’ (GIG). The GIG is a group contingency-based procedure for classrooms. The results from two classrooms showed an increase in inclusive behaviours between all children, those with and without identified special educational needs. A notable collateral benefit of the GIG was that disruptive pupil behaviours reduced to a minimum, even without being specifically targeted. A report of successful replication studies across 9 classrooms is under review as a separate paper. Available open access

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ABA doctoral student published

PhD student Caleb Coyle (passed his viva in Dec 2018) and supervisor Prof Karola Dillenburger have published a paper describing the development of ‘The good inclusion game (GIG), an effective practice for inclusive education’

Abstract: Inclusion has become a guiding principle in education, although a lack of bespoke teaching methods frequently hinders successful realisation. We developed and evaluated the ‘Good Inclusion Game’ (GIG). The GIG, based on the ‘Good Behaviour Game’ (GBG), is a group contingency-based procedure for classrooms. We first conducted a brief pilot study that confirmed the GBG’s already proven benefit of decreasing disruptive pupil behaviours (e.g., talking-out and out-of-seat). However, findings showed that the rules of the GBG significantly reduced the opportunity for inclusive behaviours to occur. Consequently, we changed the rules with the aim of increasing inclusive behaviours (that is, communicating with each other and sharing items or information). The results from two classrooms are reported. An increase in inclusive behaviours was observed between all children, those with and without identified special educational needs. A notable collateral benefit of the GIG was that disruptive pupil behaviours reduced to a minimum, even without being specifically targeted. Replication studies are underway. Read more at

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