Training, lecturing, guest-speaking
The principles of behaviour and learning are universal, and hugely relevant to all types of education and all types of learners. They can be applied to develop skills and improve behaviour in both individuals and groups of people. There is a huge evidence base supporting the effectiveness of this approach: it is well documented with decades of research supporting it.
An understanding of the application of behavioural principles can be of huge benefit to students and professionals working in the fields of mainstream teaching, special educational needs teaching, inclusive education, and community education, applied psychology and educational psychology, among many more.
Addressing the misconceptions surrounding ABA
In the UK, and particularly in Scotland, awareness surrounding ABA is very limited. Among information circulating about the approach, there exist many misconceptions, resulting in some very negative attitudes towards the field. This has had a profound effect on the level of expertise and access to services in this country.
In America, ABA is endorsed by many state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Surgeon General and New York State Department of Health. There, ABA is widely used to teach and support individuals with autism. Here, The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) recognise the evidence base for ABA. For children with autism they state:
- “Access to support from staff trained in applied behaviour analysis-based technologies (e.g. Picture Exchange Communication System, discrete trial training, task analysis, prompting, fading or shaping) to build independence in adaptive, communication and social skills should be considered for children with ASD.”
- “Behavioural interventions may be considered to address a wide range of specific behaviours, including those that challenge, in children and young people with ASD, both to reduce symptom frequency and severity and to increase the development of adaptive skills.”
Delivering this presents a challenge, given the lack of expertise in this country. As is noted in the SIGN guidelines, “in Scotland, practitioners with comprehensive ABA skills are not widely available outside certain branches of clinical psychology”. This has serious implication for the dissemination of ABA theory and practical skills, which could serve to improve behaviour and learning across all educational settings. It also has serious implications for potential service users, particularly families of children with autism and related disorders, who, at a very distressing time, do not know where to turn on receiving the diagnosis. Many are unaware that ABA exists as an option to help their child. There is a real need for increased training at all levels to address this issue and update the information available to the educational community.
Diane is passionate about supporting best practice in education, raising an accurate profile of ABA and up-skilling professionals to improve access to ABA services in Scotland. To this end, her services include guest speaking/lecturing at education and charity events, support with curriculum development and lecture delivery at higher education institutions.
If you would like to find out more about training and presentation services, please get in touch for a free, no obligation discussion.