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Alongside our Registered Behaviour Technician (RBT) training courses and Masters degress in ASD and ABA, we offer online resources to support our research and your learning.



         July 2021

      Playful Interventions and Collateral Behavior Change for Children with Autism

        Presenter: Dr Russell Lang

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But, for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” Selecting target behaviors is perhaps the most important step in providing effective behavioral intervention. In this webinar, we will discuss situations in which targeting play behaviors should be emphasized in behavioral intervention planning and how to consider typical development when developing play goals. Framed by results from systematic literature reviews and a series of single-case design studies, this one-hour webinar will argue that play skills represent a behavioral cusp that can lead to untargeted collateral behavior change, serve as a mediator for generalization, and provide a reinforcement-rich natural context for future intervention programming. 

       Link to Russ Lang video to follow.

June 2021

Fear and Flexibility: Understanding and supporting young people with OCD and ASD from a behaviour analytic perspective 

Presenter: Dr Evelyn Gould 

OCD is a particularly debilitating and chronic condition that is often misdiagnosed, unrecognized, or ignored in individuals with ASD. Major challenges for practitioners include differentiating between the core features of ASD and OCD, and designing effective, function-based treatments. While Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP) represents the gold-standard treatment for OCD, Autistic individuals require individualized treatment modifications, greater focus on family support, programming for skills development, and prolonged generalization training and transition services. This talk will discuss evidence-based recommendations for the assessment and treatment of OCD from a behavior analytic perspective, and considerations for fostering long-term resilience, courage and flexibility in children and young people with ASD. 

Link to Evelyn Gould video.

May 2021

Example Sequencing in Instruction: Beyond Reaching into the Bin  

Presenter: Dr Janet Twyman 

When we teach learners to discriminate triangle, circle, and square, we are teaching the concepts of triangle, circle, and square. To do this well, we must identify and present examples of the concept that illustrate both the critical and variable features. We will cover how to analyse stimuli on the basis of critical and variable attributes, and the sequence of stimuli presentation. Learning new concepts can be made easier or more difficult based on the order in which stimuli are introduced. Two critical design aspects of how to teach include delivering clear instructions (faultless communication) and sequencing and arranging examples and non-examples (juxtaposition). This webinar will describe the five principles of juxtaposition, demonstrate how they relate to sequencing and ordering examples in practice and can be used to maximize student learning, and discuss how they relate to current behaviour analytic practice.                                                                                              

Link to Janet Twyman video

April 2021 

Celebrating World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) 2021 

Deserving Better: Supporting people’s rights to effective behavioural treatment 

Presenter: Dr Catriona Martin Gower 

The Care Quality Commission Report ‘Out of Sight - Who Cares?’ provides a harrowing insight into the way autistic people and those with a learning disability are 'impacted by system that views them, not as individuals, but as a condition or a collection of negative behaviours. The response to this has often been to restrain, seclude or segregate them.’ (CQC, 2020, pg. 3). It is our experience that limited insight into behaviour technology may often have worsened this condition - with poorly designed ‘behaviour' interventions leading to both the strengthening of maladaptive behaviours and the perception that ’nothing can be done’ to provide effective support. Thankfully - this is NOT the case. Compassionately designed, well-led and clinically supervised behavioural approaches play a key role in improving the lives of individuals who have otherwise slipped through the cracks. This talk will present examples of how behaviour analysis has been evidenced to support community-based placements for individuals labelled with severely complex and/or challenging behaviour, improving their quality of lives and protecting their rights to effective treatment. 

Link to Catriona Martin Gower video

       March 2021 

      Inaugural Webinar Celebration of World Behavior Analysis Day (WBAD) 2021 

      BF Skinner: Father 

       Presenter: Dr Julie Vargas  

F. Skinner was not only a scientist, he was a parent. This talk gives examples of what Skinner was like as a father. He interacted with my sister and me as a parent, not as a scientist. Still, the positive principles he advocated show in how he behaved as a father.   

       Link to Julie Vargas video                                                                                                                                                                                                            





Is punishment an operation or a process? Implications for clinical behaviour analysis (CBA Seminar Series 2019/20)

Presenter: Professor Robert Mellon
In contemporary applied behavior analysis, punishment is defined functionally as a reduction in the frequency of emission of acts of a given form due to their consequences. In contrast, behaviour analysts such as B. F. Skinner, Murray Sidman and James Dinsmoor defined punishment operationally as the consequential production of a negative reinforcer or termination of a positive reinforcer, independent of any effect of the consequence on the subsequent probability of emission of the punished action. The operational definition recognizes the daunting complexity of probable effects of punishment on respondent and operant behavior, the explicit consideration of which can substantially increase the effectiveness of case formulation and intervention in clinical behavior analysis. The advantages of such consideration will be illustrated in an interpretation of self-denigration and injury as form of aversive self-control.

Discrete Trial Teaching: An Opportunity for Multimedia (CBA Seminar Series 2018/19)

Presenter: Dr. Nichola Booth BCBA-D; Lecturer in Behaviour Analysis QUB
Discrete trial teaching (DTT), as a teaching method, has been used to teach a variety of skills in many early intervention programmes for children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Often, parents, in home-based ABA programmes implement them in the absence of supervision by a behaviour analyst. This can cause problems in maintaining the integrity of the programmes. DTT has been proven to significantly help with both developmental and educational attainments for children with ASD as well as other developmental delays and has been referred to by Smith as “…one of the most important instructional methods for children with autism” (p. 86).  DTT is an educational tool that is used to help individuals move from the acquisition of new targets through to maintenance and generalisation (Simpson, 2005). As more families are undertaking home-based ABA programmes it would therefore be judicious that the need for effective and efficient methods are found that help teach how to successfully implement a DTT programme. We will discuss a research study that examined three procedures to determine which was the most effective at helping parents of children identify errors within simulated mock discrete trial sessions. The procedures were a written Text, a PowerPoint presentation, and an Animated lesson. Preliminary findings suggest that traditional text-based methods for teaching need to be updated to take advantage of opportunities provided by new technology.

Positive Behaviour Support: ABA in schools (CBA Seminar Series 2017/18)

Presenter: Brian Fennel
There is an abundance of research data on Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) as an effective intervention for school-based behavioral concerns and students in receipt of special education services. Dr Fennell’s presentation gives an overview of the PBS process as it applies to school settings and generalized to other community settings. In considering PBS, a direct connection to applied behaviour analysis is made regarding the philosophical approach and discrete methods employed within the PBS system. Despite PBS being an application of the basic principles of behavior analysis, PBS often garners popular support not shared by ABA in the same communities. Reasons for this disparity also are explored in this seminar.

Very Early Intervention with Infants and Toddlers at Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) 

(CBA Seminar Series 2017/18)

‌Presenter: Amy Tanner, BCBA (PhD student at CBA, Queen’s University)‌
This workshop focused on identifying very early signs of ASD and the screening tools available for early detection of symptom; Naturalistic Developmental Behavioural Interventions (NDBIs): an overview of various NDBI models, common features and the state of the current research, and best practices for intervention with children two years of age or younger: Using Behaviour Skills Training as a framework for effective Parent, and Coaching. Research was presented and accompanied by various video clips on the efficacy of using parent-mediated intervention to treat autism symptoms in high-risk infants. The workshop will conclude with a discussion on limitations, ethical considerations and future directions for research and clinical applications. 

Behavioural Insights into Autism: Lost in Translation? Inaugural Lecture (2016)

In this talk Prof Dillenburger outlines the international behavioural insights that led to the endorsement of ABA-based interventions in North America and asks the question why such endorsement has not yet permeated in Europe. She argues that new ideas are first ridiculed, then opposed and finally accepted as self-evident. She uses this process to present arguments for each of these phases.


4th CBA/QUART Conference (2015) - Multidisciplinary work and autism

Pro-Vice Chancellor of QUB Prof David Jones: Introduction to 4th CBA Conference on Multidisciplinary work in autism: How can behaviour analysis help? 
The role of psychiatrists. 
Presenter: Prof. Dr. Hanns-Rüdiger Röttgers; Psychiatrist; University of Applied Science, Münster, Germany
The role of psychiatrists in therapeutic interventions for autism is not clear. Only a minority of psychiatrists have autism specific expertise.  ASD are mostly covered as a diagnostic issue and behaviour analysis is rarely to be found as part of the curriculum of medical schools. Furthermore, the psychoanalytical and psychodynamic concepts are still quite popular among psychiatrists but cannot be successfully applied to ASD. Ideally, psychiatrists should cooperate closely with Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA).
The role of Clinical Psychologists. 
Presenter: Dr Javier Virues-Ortega; Clinical Psychologist, BCBA-D; Auckland University, New Zealand
Professional behaviour analysts use evidence-based teaching and training methods to promote the acquisition of socially important skills and reduce the occurrence of maladaptive and challenging behaviours in a range of clinical and non-clinical populations. The work of behaviour analysts is data-based, goal-oriented, scientifically-guided, individualized, and focused on maximizing the individual’s potential in everyday environment. Javier discusses his own background as a clinical psychologist and behaviour analyst. The presenter will compare the general approach to assessment and treatment in the fields of clinical psychology and behaviour analysis.
The role of Speech and Language Therapists. 
Bethan Mair Williams; Speech and Language Therapist, BCBA; Wales
There is increasing pressure on S/LTs to use evidence-based practice, both by their professional body and by the HCPC as specified in their proficiency standards. However there has been little appreciable change since The Cochrane Review concluded that there was an insufficient evidence base for most speech and language therapy interventions used with children with language delays and/or disorders. In this presentation I will describe how my own training as a behaviour analyst and role as an honorary research fellow at Bangor University has enabled me to practice evidence-based speech and language therapy, with examples from my own practice. I will also examine the impact made by the small number of other international speech and language therapists who are also behaviour analysts. Finally, I will consider how the skills and knowledge of speech and language therapists in turn can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the work of behaviour analysts, and outline my vision for seamless collaborative practice.
The role of Teachers. 
Pat McCormack, School principal/parent of child with autism; Ireland
This presentation examines the position of ABA within the Irish education system over the past 17 years. It draws on the presenter’s experiences as the parent of a child with ASD working to access appropriate supports and his experience as a school principal working to support students with ASD within the mainstream school system. Preliminary findings from the presenter’s doctoral research examine the experiences of teachers and principals catering for students with ASD through the ‘ASD unit’ model. Finally the presentation suggests how behaviour analysis might enhance the impact of a multi-disciplinary approach to working with students with ASD
The role of Nurses. 
Liam McDermot MScABA; Nurse; Challenging Behaviour Team; Western Health and Social care Trust, NI.
This talk centres on Liam’s experiences of using the principles of behaviour analysis in his role as a mental health nurse and behaviour analyst leading a Challenging Behaviour team in the Western Health and Social Care Trust, how learning about behaviour analysis has changed, influenced, and enhanced his practice and the difficulties encountered in applying the science in real world settings.

3rd QUART/CBA Conference (2013) Let me hear your voice: Autism and Politics.

Welcome to QUB for 3rd QUART conference - Prof James McElnay (Vice Chancellor (acting) of Queen's University Belfast)
Opening address for 3rd QUART conference - Minister Edwin Poots (Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety)
Link to Edwin Poots video
Prof Lorri Unumb Esq (Vice-President for State affairs, Autism Speaks)
Vice President for State Government Affairs, Autism Speaks keynote address at 3rd QUART conference (20 Sept 2013) 'Let me hear YOUR voice: Autism and Politics.  Lorri Unumb is a lawyer and the mother of three children, the oldest of whom has autism. In 2005, while working as a law professor, she wrote autism insurance legislation for South Carolina ("Ryan's Law") that passed in 2007 and served as a catalyst for the national movement toward autism insurance reform. In 2008, Unumb became employed by the New York-based non-profit Autism Speaks, where she advocates full-time on behalf of individuals with autism. As head of state government affairs, she has testified 80+ times on health insurance issues in state legislatures around the country.  Her keynote address focus: Since 2007, more than 34 states have enacted legislation requiring coverage for autism spectrum disorders, including benefits for Applied Behavior Analysis. In this session, we will explore how targeted advocacy and the use of evidence led to legal endorsement of ABA in the USA.  
STAMPPP Project Launch. 3rd CBA conference 2013
The STAMPPP project (Science and the Treatment of Autism: Multimedia Package for Parents and Professionals, cf. was funded through two generous EU Leonardo da Vinci grants from 2008-2013. The goal was to update the original Simple Steps package. The first grant (2008-2010) provided cultural adaptations in German, Norwegian, and Spanish; 1000 free copies were distributed in each partner country. The 2nd grant, STAMPPP II (2011-2013), included partners from Italy, Iceland, Sweden and Netherlands; 500 free licenses were distributed in each partner country. The project was recognised as an example of excellence by the European Commission and was included as a case study highlighting best practice in Inclusion.
Introduction to STAMPPP
Prof Mickey Keenan BCBA-D (University of Ulster; Principle investigator STAMPPP) Link to Mickey Keenan video
Professional endorsement of Simple Steps training resource
Dr Neil Martin BCBA-D (European Association for Behaviour Analysis, EABA; Behavior Analyst Certification Board BACB) Link to Neil Martin video
Development of Simple Steps and Parent view
Prof Tony Byrne (Chairperson, Parents Education as Autism Therapists, PEAT)  Link to Tony Byrne video
Iceland: Simple Steps as first resource for every family of a child diagnosed with autism
Dr Sigridur Loa Jonsdottir (The State Diagnostic and Counselling Centre Iceland)  Link to Sigridur Loa Jonsdottir video
Netherlands: Using Simple Steps in research
Dr Jacqueline Schenk (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherland) 
Explains how Simple Steps training resource is used in Netherlands. Link to Jacqueline Schenk video
Sweden: The impact of Simple Steps
Dr Lise Roll-Pettersson BCBA-D (University of Stockholm, Sweden) Link to Lise Roll-Pettersson video
Italy: Simple Steps training
Dr Nanni Presti (The European Institute for the Study of Human Behavior, Italy) Link to Nanni Presti video 
Northern Ireland: Using Simple Steps to train parents
Dr Stephen Gallagher BCBA-D (Ulster University)  Link to Stephen Gallagher video 

2nd CBA conference 2012: Launch of the Centre for Behaviour Analysis. 

The launch of Centre for Behaviour Analysis at 2nd QUART/CBA Conference 2012.
Building adaptive skills: Practice applications. 
Prof Mickey Keenan’s (BACB-D, University of Ulster)
Mickey's keynote presentation outlined the importance of the scientific method when designing teaching and learning experiences and illustrated this with a number of practical participatory exercises.
International best practice: Examples from early intervention in Spain, Germany, France, and Greece. 
Katerina Dounavi (BCBA, QUB; University of Madrid)
Katerina illustrated how behaviour analytic early intervention has been progressed in these countries and showed a number of videos from her own international practice.

Prof. Carl Hugh is Professor and Head of School of Education and Human Development at the University of Bangor, Wales. His keynote address focused on teaching academic curriculum: Effective inclusion in mainstream classrooms. He discussed some of the key findings of behaviour analytic teaching methods, including Precision Teaching, in mainstream schools. 

Link to Carl Hugh video


Dr Angelika Anderson (BCBA-D) and Prof Dennis Moore (BCBA-D), Faculty of Education and Krongold Centre, Monash University, Australia (after 2019 at Waikato University, New Zealand) describe their research regarding video modelling.

Link to Angelika Anderson video


Dr Smita Awasthi (BCBA-D) is the founder and Director of Behavior Momentum, Bangalore, India. Dr Awasthi is a QUB Almuna and an internationally recognised autism expert, therapist and staff trainer.

Link toSmita Awasthi video

1st CBA conference 2011 Evidence-based Interventions and Professional Certification. 

Dr Neil Martin (BCBA-D)
Neil has many years of experience in working directly with individuals and families affected by autism and consulting with Education and HSC agencies. He was on Board of Directors of Behavior Analyst Certification Board and describes requirements for professional certification. Note that these requirements evolve and are reviewed and adjusted every 5 years. While much of the information presented here still applies, some details will change over time.

Assistive technology and autism DOCTRID Conference. Hosted by the CBA, 2015

The 4th International DOCTRID conference took place at Queen’s University Belfast on April 27th and 28th. The aim of the conference was to create a better understanding between researchers, caregivers, healthcare providers and people with ID and ASD to bring practical changes to people's lives, in particular through the use of Assistive Technology. 
Link to DOCTRID videos (starts at 8:00) 



Presenter: Professor Karola Dillenburger

The exact prevalence of autism in adults is not known. For children, recent prevalence figures in USA and Europe vary between 2% and 3½%. Prevalence figures in India are not known. 

The diagnostic process is a method of categorising clusters of behaviour. The diagnostic category ‘Autism’ is used when difficulties in social communication and repetitive, stereotypical behaviours are persistent and the person requires specific, substantial, or very substantial support. Over 75% of people diagnosed with autism have co-occurring learning disabilities or mental health issues. 

Early and intensive behavioural interventions that are based on Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) lead to the best prognosis. With these interventions, progress can be achieved across the life-span by enhancing social, academic, and life skills and establishing strategies that reduce the need for challenging behaviours.

Over 60% of adults diagnosed with autism live with their aging parents who worry about the future of their sons and daughters. Yet, over 70% of these parents have not made plans for future care arrangements.

Adults diagnosed with autism have the same dreams and ambitions as anyone else. They may want to work, have relationships and become parents, yet over 85% of these adults are not employed in the open market. Friendships and relationships are often difficult for them to achieve and maintain while issues related to parenting, or having a parent diagnosed with autism, have only recently come into focus.

This talk will present research on issues that are important for adults diagnosed with autism themselves and those who support them, including futures planning and job coaching. Culturally sensitive issues, such as relationships and parenthood, will also be addressed. 

Link to Adults with Autism video  

Employing people with disabilities: From obligation to recognition 

Presenter: DHelena Vad’urová (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)

The Special Education Needs Employment Links (SENEL) project is funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ Key Action 2 programme. This co-operation for innovation and the exchange of good practices aims to help young people with SEND move successfully from vocational training (VET)and further education (FE) into employment.International educational institutions taking part in this project will produce and evaluate tools to support students with SEND as they move into employment. This collaborative project consortium is formed through the partnership working of eight different members. Stakeholders from England, Finland, the Czech Republic and Germany including one institution of higher education from each participating country, in conjunction with one national partner of differing organisational structures including VET/FE institutions, employers, NGOs and disability organisations. 

Link to resources.

Link to Helena Vad’urová video.

WAAD 2019 Event Evidence and Policy: How to help families of children diagnosed with autism in Northern Ireland 

Presenter: Prof Mickey Keenan BCBA-D; Ulster University

Currently in the USA, 44 States have introduced legislation to ensure that parents have access to Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) for the treatment of autism; hundreds of major companies have also made ABA available under their health insurance policies for workers. The supporting evidence to introduce this legislation will be outlined as well as the training standards for professionals trained in ABA. This information will provide a basis for contrasting how ABA is viewed in Northern Ireland and in the UK in general. I will show how misinformation by professionals with no training in ABA has resulted in misinformation influencing politicians charged with developing policy for helping families of children diagnosed with autism. Prof Mickey Keenan FBPsS BACB-D is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and multi-ward winning Board Certified Behaviour Analyst-Doctoral; Award for Promoting Equality of Opportunity (British Psychological Society), Distinguished Community Fellowship (Ulster University), Personal Achievement Award (New York State Association for Behavior Analysis), Award for Public Service in Behavior Analysis (Society for Advancement of Behavior Analysis), Michael Hemmingway Award (Behavior Analysts Certification Board), Award for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis (Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis), and first International Advocacy Award from Autism Speaks. He is the founder of the registered charity Parent’s Education as Autism Therapists (PEAT). He led the development of

Link to Prof Mickey Keenan video

Science of Teaching

SCIENCE OF TEACHING offers a comprehensive guide for teachers, educators, and anyone else interested in human behaviour on how learning occurs at a biological and environmental level. What shapes our behaviour? How do our behaviours become reinforced? What are some useful techniques to help shape human behaviour towards acquiring new skills and behaviours? How do we measure human behaviour and what is the science behind teaching and learning? These are all questions which are addressed within this film. The film covers many sections ranging from the biological basis of learning, tools for educators, precision teaching and technology in the classroom. (Featuring Prof Karola Dillenburger, Director of Centre for Behaviour Analysis, QUB)

Link to Science of Teaching video

Employment of Adults with Disabilities (CBA 2014)

Lynnae Ruttledge, National Council on Disability, USA

Lynnae serves as a President Obama appointee to the National Council on Disability, that advises the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policy. She serves as a disability policy advisor to DOCTRID (Daughters of Charity, Technology Research into Disability) and Michigan State University. In 2013, Lynnae also served as a Presidential appointee to the 15-member US Senate Commission on Long Term Care. She is past Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration with the US Department of Education (2010 - 2012). 

Link to Lynnae Ruttledge Video

Video by young person with autism: My experience with ABA

Eli Allen is a 20-year-old student with autism from USA

Eli is talking about his autism, his experience with early ABA based interventions and his therapist, Dr Bobby Newman BCBA-D. ( Eli recorded this video himself. He responded to questions drafted by Prof Dillenburger. The video is shown with his permission.

Link to Eli Allen video

Video by girl with autism: My experience with ABA

Kayla is an 11- year old girl with autism from Australia.

Kayla speaks about her experience with ABA at a conference in Melbourne. Her talk followed a keynote address by Prof Dillenburger (seen at the beginning of the video). Her talk was prepared by Kayla and her parents. The video was taken by Kayla’s parents and is available with her and their permission.

Link to Kayla video

Video by boy with autism: My experience with ABA

Cillian is a 13-year old boy diagnosed with autism from Northern Ireland

Cillian recorded this video as an introduction to an autism conference held in Belfast. He wrote the text he is reading himself. Cillian has given permission to show this video.

Link to Cillian video

Video animation by teenager with autism. “Aspergers Video”

Andrew is a teenager with Aspergers and lives in Northern Ireland

This short video was produced, recorded, and edited by Andrew together with his friend. Andrew gave permission to share his work here.

Link to Andrew video

Chief nourisher in life’s feast – A behavioural view of sleep through the lifespan. Workshop at CBA

Prof Neville Blampied (University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand)  "Chief nourisher in life’s feast – A behavioural view of sleep through the lifespan"

In this talk Prof Blampied outlines the importance of sleep and how chronic settling difficulties and nightwaking is common in infancy, sleep disruptions can occur in childhood and especially adolescence, and insomnia is a major issue for adults. Beginning with the work of Bootzin and his Stimulus Control Theory of Adult Insomnia, a behavioural perspective has contributed in important but under-appreciated ways to understanding and treating sleep disturbances across the lifespan. 

Listen here  

Behavioural Insights into Autism: Lost in Translation? Inaugural Lecture (2016)

In this talk Prof Dillenburger outlines the international behavioural insights that have lead to the endorsement of ABA-based interventions in North America and asks the question why such endorsement has not yet permeated in Europe. She argues that new ideas are first ridiculed, then opposed and finally accepted as self-evident. She uses this process to present arguments for each of these phases.

Link to Prof Dillenburger video

SIMPLE STEPS Multimedia training resource

SIMPLE STEPS is the multi-media resource for Applied Behaviour Analysis and Autism. SIMPLE STEPS was developed by parents and Board Certified Behaviour Analysts in Northern Ireland in collaboration with Ulster University and Queen’s University. It is available in 9 languages (English, German, Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, Icelandic, Swedish, Dutch, Portuguese, Czech). SIMPLE STEPS is owned and distributed by the Northern Ireland based charity Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists ( Any proceeds are used to benefit families affected by autism.

You can find SIMPLE STEPS here

Helping school-aged pupils with autism succeed in mainstream classrooms.

Prof Bill Heward (Ohio State University; co-author of Cooper, Heron and Heward, Applied Behavior Analysis)

This workshop addresses issues related to the question: What behavior changes produced by what techniques will accrue maximal success for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in mainstream classrooms? This workshop examined research-based interventions that help students with ASD learn a number of skill sets that are considered critical for success in inclusive classrooms.

Part 1 and Part 2.

Link to Bill Heward video

Early intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Comparing international policies with developments in Northern Ireland. KESS, 2014

Prof Karola Dillenburger (QUB)

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects about 2% of school children (approximately 5000 in Northern Ireland; Megaw, 2013). ASD is a pervasive neurodevelopmental condition with problems in building social relationships and very restricted interests When these children enter the labour market, only 15% of them find employment; a great loss to them and to society (Rosenblatt, 2008). The cost of autism per lifetime is estimated £2.7 billion per each year in the United Kingdom, and can rise to £1.23million per lifetime (Knapp et al 2009). There is strong, statistically significant evidence that early intensive behavioural-analytically based interventions can save fiscally, enhance the quality of life considerably and enable adults with autism to participate fully in an inclusive society (Orinstein et al., 2014). Internationally, the USA and Canada enact laws and policies to ensure that these scientifically validated, individually tailored, person-focussed interventions are offered to all those who need them, i.e., these interventions now are considered ‘medically as well as educationally necessary’ in most of North America. This presentation outlines the evidence on which international decisions are based and outline the implications of adopting similar policies for Northern Ireland.
[Policy Briefing] [KESS 2014 Presentation]  [Video]

Preventing poverty and social exclusion for those affected by autism and their families. BASE Project. KESS, 2017

Prof Karola Dillenburger (QUB)

Autism rates in Northern Ireland are rising by 0.2 annually and now stand at 2.3% in the school population. The cost to society for autism is £34billion in the UK, more than cancer, strokes, and heart disease combined; 36% of this cost is for adult services. The NI government has invested heavily in autism diagnosis and autism services.  However, services are still not meeting the needs of those directly affected by autism and their families; and there is a feeling that the money is not always spent wisely. A major study was funded by OFMDFM (2012-2016) to explore poverty and social exclusion of children and adults affected by autism and their families, and to make policy and practice recommendations. In this presentation we will present data from all 4 phases of this study: (1) A thorough literature review exposed gaps in service provision; (2) An adult population survey (NILTS autism module) identified levels of autism awareness and attitudes; (3) A comprehensive secondary data analysis of existing data banks exposed levels of poverty and deprivation; and, (4) Detailed qualitative data analysis looked at staff training and gave voice to those on the autism spectrum and their families. Data from the research will be reported and recommendations outlined, including making cost-savings.
[Policy Briefing]  [KESS 2017 Presentation]  [KESS video]

Evidence and Policy: How to help families of children diagnosed with autism in Northern Ireland, KESS, 2017

Prof Mickey Keenan BCBA-D (Ulster University) 

Currently in the USA, 44 States have introduced legislation to ensure that parents have access to Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) for the treatment of autism; hundreds of major companies have also made ABA available under their health insurance policies for workers. The supporting evidence to introduce this legislation will be outlined as well as the training standards for professionals trained in ABA. This information will provide a basis for contrasting how ABA is viewed in Northern Ireland and in the UK in general. I will show how misinformation by professionals with no training in ABA has resulted in misinformation influencing politicians charged with developing policy for helping families of children diagnosed with autism (   

[Policy Briefing]  [Presentation]  [KESS 2017 video]

Behavioural Gerontology in Dementia Care.

Prof Mark Mathews (Emeritus Professor, Australia)

Prof Mathews outlines innovative ABA-based methods to support older adults with dementia in residential care. He describes how to reduce aggressive behaviours in resident with dementia, how to get her off medication, and how to prevent staff burn-out.

Link to Mark Mathews video

Addressing Challenged Behaviour. Workshop at CBA, 2012

Dr Bobby Newman BCBA-D

Bobby Newman ( is Past President of both, the Association for Science in Autism Treatment and the New York Association for Behavior Analysis. He is a renowned author of numerous books on ASD and in his hand-on approach to challenged behaviours he shows how to best address every-day issues.

Children diagnosed on the autism spectrum often are challenged by specific daily living tasks, such as eating and sleeping. These behaviors can be particularly tricky to address, as they often include both environmental and physiological components. A methodology for exploring these kinds of challenges as well as ways of addressing them will be provided.

Link to Bobby Newman workshop video

'Behavioural Detectives': Practical case studies in dealing with challenging behaviours. Workshop at CBA

Dr Bobby Newman BCBA-D

Appropriate functional analysis can lead to a well-designed treatment plan that is effectively and consistently implemented. Practice in analyzing where and how challenges may arise and descriptions of how to address common errors in implementation are provided.

Link to Behavioural Detectives video

Sensory Issues. Workshop at CBA 2012

Dr Dana Reinecke BCBA-D

Dana is an award-winning trainer and teacher in ASD at the Sage Centre for Behaviour Analysis, New York. She addresses sensory issue and shows how to overcome barriers to learning. Dr Dana Reinecke BCBA-D is an award-winning trainer and teacher in ASD at the Sage Centre for Behaviour Analysis, New York.

Dana addresses sensory issue and shows how to overcome barriers to learning. Sensory issues commonly challenge individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). She explores sensory-based coping strategies according to their functions. While some of these strategies may be described as sensory-seeking, others

may be described as sensory-avoidance. In both cases, individuals with ASD may experience physical discomfort and distress. We will explore ways to increase the individual’s success in coping with sensory issues and how to provide alternative sensory experiences that are more helpful to the individual with ASD.

Link to Dana Reinecke video

Evidence based practice: Behaviour Analytic interventions in ASD

Prof Karola Dillenburger BCBA-D

This presentation outlines the evidence base for ABA-based interventions.

Link to Evidence based practice video