A shortage of professionals trained to international standards in the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) to help people with autism has prompted the development of a multimedia package to teach the science.
The project will help not just those already in the health and education professions, but also parents by showing them how to care for and teach children with autism.The European Commission’s Lifelong Learning programme, Leonardo, is due to launch STAMPPP on 15 September in Parliament Buildings at Stormont.
The innovative approach was developed by an international consortium from the University of Ulster, QUB, European Association for Behaviour Analysis, the University of Oviedo, Spain, the University of Akershus, Norway, the University of Applied Sciences, MÃ¼nster, Germany, and local charity PEAT (Parents¹ Education as Autism Therapists).Lead researcher on the project is Dr Mickey Keenan, from the School of Psychology at the University of Ulster who is also a Fellow of the British Psychological Society.
He said: "Using local expertise we developed the original Simple Steps multimedia programme on ABA to help parents understand how, as in medicine, one thing called ‘the scientific method’ can guide them when they teach their children diagnosed with autism.“But autism does not recognise international boundaries and so we felt we could help parents in other European countries by updating our programme and translating it into different languages such as Norwegian, Spanish and German.”
It has been estimated that there are more children diagnosed with autism each year than all the major childhood illnesses combined.Dr Keenan continued: "This presents a major problem for the caring profession as a whole. The effectiveness of the science of ABA for helping individuals diagnosed with autism has been documented since the early 1960s.
“Unfortunately there is a serious shortage of professionals trained to international standards across the whole of Europe. We hope that STAMPPP can address this issue and offer a viable solution to the problems this creates.”