30/07/2014 - Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey Autism Module Results
04/07/2014 - Dr Brian Fennell graduates with a PhD
12/06/2014 - Book to be translated into Greek!
10/06/2014 - Registered Behaviour Technician (RBT) training available at Centre for Behaviour Analysis
21/05/2014 - Assistive Technologies for people with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism (ASSISTID) was launched 15 May 2014. st Call for Research Fellows opens Sep 2014
01/05/2014 - Project ABLE Report
28/04/2014 - Tia Martin, PhD candidate at the Centre for Behaviour Analysis
28/04/2014 - CBA new paper contributes to the evidence debate in autism interventions
15/04/2014 - WAAD training workshop
15/04/2014 - Dr Ian Cantley, Lecturer in Education (Mathematics), has joined the Centre for Behaviour Analysis
15/04/2014 - Professor Karola Dillenburger to teach on German Masters in Clinical Casework
09/04/2014 - CBA research project with Solas
Autism prevalence is now nearly 2% of all school children. At part of the BASE project, a team of the Centre for Behaviour Analysis conducted an autism module of the Northern Ireland Life and Times (NILT) Survey (2012) to assess public awareness, attitudes, knowledge, and projected behaviours with regard to individuals with ASD (primary data and technical reports)
The NILT survey autism module (n=1204) offers a baseline against which the impact of new autism legislation, policies, and strategies can be measured.
• 82% awareness: Most people in Northern Ireland are aware of autism (n=989)
• 50% of all participants knew someone with autism personally (n=606)
Of those who were aware of autism:
• 19% had a close family member with autism (n=186), and/or a friends/acquaintance (n=296), and/or a work colleague (n=79) with autism
• Autism awareness was lower for those from ethnic minorities and those with no internet access
• Awareness of autism specific legislation was low (20%)
• Good levels of knowledge about autism strengths and challenges were found but a slight tendency to overestimate the occurrence of special talents
• Prevalence of autism was underestimated (62% thought autism is much less prevalent than official figures or did not know)
• Fairly accurate perception about causes of autism, i.e, not caused by poor parenting (84%)
• Strong support for evidence-based behavioural interventions (77%), but confusion about interventions that are not evidence-based (64%)
• Strong positive attitudes towards children and adults in social, educational and employment settings
• Autism not viewed as necessarily ‘lifelong’ (58%); support for independent living (78%), e.g., driving a car (83%)
• More business for employers who employ people with autism (12%)
• Strong support for families caring rather than residential care (64%)
• Confusion about service responsibility: education (26%) health (33%) or both (28%)
Given increasing prevalence rates of ASD it is important that the general population is aware of autism and able to respond responsibly. The results of the NILT autism module show that the general public is well aware of autism, has positive attitudes, and is relatively knowledgeable about the issues faced by individuals and families affected directly. Autism legislation has had little impact on high levels of autism awareness. However, there was a lack of clarity about responsibility for effective service delivery. The NILTS results show that a shift in focus is necessary from ‘awareness raising’ to an approach that delivers clarity with regard to intervention and accountability.
His research focused on the professional development of teachers, in the Republic of Ireland, who are responsible for the education of those on the autism spectrum. Over the past decade this area has been specifically targeted for extensive state funding. Through a survey of this teaching cohort, he explored if the extent of training undertaken corresponds to higher levels of understanding of key concepts in challenging behaviour, autism spectrum disorders and behaviour analysis.
Brian commented about his study at Centre for Behaviour analysis: "I have found my research experience at Queen’s to be thoroughly challenging and equally rewarding. Undertaking a research degree, especially while teaching full-time, tests your organisational ability and motivation as well as your intellect."
The book Parents' Education as Autism Therapists (JKP, 2000), edited by Prof Mickey Keenan (UU), Dr Ken P Kerr (Donegal), and Prof Karola Dillenburger (CBA/QUB) was authored by parents of children diagnosed with autism together with a group of behaviour analysts. The book introduces the reader to ABA-based early interventions using examples from children in Northern Ireland. The book is already available in Japanese and German, is to be translated into Greek. The Greek translation should be available within about 18 months.
An online multilingual course covering the 40 hour RBT curriculum will be offered from January 2015. Cost of the course £150. For curriculum details click here This course is part of the Open Learning Programme at the School of Education at Queen's University Belfast and is University accredited for 10 CATS points at Level 1. The course is delivered in a programmed instruction format and opens on 19 January 2015. It can be accessed 24/7 for 10 weeks. Book your place here under Personal development/Continuing Professional Development (booking opens in August 2014) Enrolment includes a full licence for Simple Steps (available in 8 European Languages, for preview see here) . The remainder of the course is taught in English. Our associate organisation PEAT NI - Parents Education as Autism Therapists offers pre-registration RBT assessment. For further information see www.qub.ac.uk/cba
ASSISTID (Assistive Technologies for people with Autism and Intellectual Disability) will promote research into the development and application of assistive technologies to enhance the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities and autism, their carers and families. ASSISTID is the first structured research programme of its kind in Europe and the most significant investment into assistive technologies research to date. The ASSISTID programme which will fund 40 post-doctoral fellows is co-funded by the European Commission and the charity RESPECT, and is coordinated by the DOCTRID Research Institute.
The DOCTRID Research Institute includes the Daughters of Charity Disability Support Services, all of the universities on the island of Ireland, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and the US universities Michigan State University and the University of Massachusetts. This is the first time that all of the universities on the island of Ireland have joined together in an EU funded research consortium. QUB through the CBA is a partner of DOCTRID and we welcome enquiries from Irish PhDs who would like to discuss ideas for an 'outgoing' Fellowship.
We would also like to help any QUB PhDs who would like to become 'incoming fellows', i.e., work in ROI for 2 years as post-doc in this field.
Project ABLE final report was launched at the Wellington Park Hotel. CBA team carried out the external evaluation. Pictured here (f/l) Dr Lyn McKerr (CBA), Dr Julie Ann Jordan (CBA), Rachel Doran (ABLE), Lydia Lynas (Orchardville Society), Rachel Buchanan (NOW), Prof Karola Dillenburger (CBA), Margaret Haddock (Orchardville Society).Project ABLE was funded by Big Lottery and provided support into employment for adults with ASD over the past 5 years. Evaluation concluded that:
No other project matched Project ABLE services exactly.
Clear requirement for supported employment service specifically adapted to needs of individuals with ASD.
Securing long term sustainable funding essential for continuity of support and future service development.
Full report can be obtained from Orcharville Society
Tia Martin, PhD candidate at the Centre for Behaviour Analysis and Behaviour Support Advisor for Autism with The Richmond Fellowship Scotland, conducted a series of presentations for parents and professionals on positive approaches to the management of challenging behaviour. The evaluations of the presentations were very good. Tia's presentations were considered the first of many positive steps to empowering parents with knowledge of the use of applied behaviour analysis for child-centred developmentally appropriate interventions that empower parent and support the child.
A new paper published in International Research in Education by Brian Fennell and Karola Dillenburger, based on Brian's PhD research and entitled The evidence debate for behavioural interventions for autism shows that for more than fifty years evidence has been accrued regarding the efficacy of applied behaviour analysis-based interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Despite this history of empirical evidence, some researchers and ASD experts still are reluctant to accept behavioral interventions as best practice for ASD. In this paper, we consider both random control trials and single subject experimental designs as forms of evidenced-based practice (EBP). Specific application of these methods to ASD research is considered. In an effort to provide scientifically based evidence for interventions for ASD, EBP standards have been debated without a consensus being achieved. Service users of ASD interventions need access to sound empirical evidence to choose appropriate programmes for those they care for with ASD rather than putting their hopes in therapies backed by pseudoscience and celebrity endorsements.
WAAD training workshop ‘Tools for achieving social confidence for children and young people with autism’ was held on Friday 11th in collaboration with the PEAT. The event was attended by both parents and professionals and was a great success. With a full house, comments included ‘Clear course content with concrete examples and useful strategies to use immediately’, ‘Excellent and engaging’, Excellent and very practical’.
After 16 years as a Mathematics teacher and Head of Mathematics, Ian joined the School of Education in August 2013 as coordinator of the PGCE Mathematics programme. His doctorate was in the Philosophy of Education and his current research interests include the unification of aspects of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy with radical behaviourism, the mathematical and philosophical foundations of educational measurement models and Mathematics education. Recently, Dr (Ian) Cantley presented a paper entitled “Implications of Wittgenstein’s Later Philosophy for Learning and Teaching” at the 49th annual conference of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, which was held at New College, Oxford, from 28th to 30th March 2014.
Karola is a Visiting Professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Münster, Germany and will deliver a module on 'Autismtherapies'. The long-standing collaboration with the German University started in 2000 and since then the German Profs Bernhard Brugger and Hanns-Rüdiger Röttegers have been partners in the STAMPPP project, including the translation of SIMPLE STEPS into 8 European languages, e.g., German, Spanish, Norwegian, Italian, Icelandic, Dutch and Swedish.
During her stay Karola will visit the Münster Intensive Autism Interventions (MIA) project and deliver a 2-day workshop to the Masters class.