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Cross-party briefing on Autism and Applied Behaviour Analysis to take place in Leinster House

4 June, 2013 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Speaking ahead of a cross-party briefing in the Oireachtas on Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) and its use in educational programmes for children diagnosed with Autism, Sinn Féin education spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien said:
“Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to understanding autism by focusing on the interaction between the individual’s behaviour and the environment. It is applied to meet a child’s specific needs and at tomorrow’s cross-party briefing in the Dáil we will have in attendance a number of expert guest speakers who will give their views on ABA and autism.

"Professor Mickey Keenan from University of Ulster will be joined by Professor Julian Leslie of the Psychological Society of Ireland’s Division of Behaviour Analysis and Dr Neil Martin from the European Association for Behaviour Analysis will brief those in attendance and provide advice on how current governmental policies can be improved using evidenced based behavioural methods.

“All too often, parents of children diagnosed with autism face a bewildering range of treatments for autism. It is the case however, that international reviews consistently point to the importance of using evidence based practice to educate parents and children.

“ABA underpins some of the most effective treatments but the level of provision to meet the needs of children with autism in the 26 counties is wholly inadequate.

“Sinn Fein believes that a best practice model of service delivery, assessment, diagnosis and intervention for autistic children must draw on best international practice and an integrated approach of service provision is of the upmost importance.

“Tomorrow is an opportunity for legislators in the Dáil to engage with experts on the benefits that can be gained from the ABA approach, the value of which and its effectiveness has been shown through numerous scientific evaluations and to address any concerns about ABA they may have.

"It is part of our efforts to ensure enhanced provision is made available for children with autism and their parents who often struggle to cope in the face of a lack of adequate provision.”
Editor’s note:
The briefing will take place in the Leinster House AV Room at 4pm on Wednesday 5 June 2013.
The two special guest speakers at the event will be Dr Neil Martin from the European Association for Behaviour Analysis and Professor Julian Leslie who will be representing the Division of Behaviour Analysis, Psychological Society of Ireland.

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