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Ulster's Autism Research In Focus On European Stage

17 May 2011

A University of Ulster researcher is to lend his expertise to some of Europe’s leading health professionals and address issues relating to the treatment of autism.

Dr Mickey Keenan from Ulster’s School of Psychology will address European policy makers and national agencies and autism patients at the ‘Rome Seminar on Inclusion’ in June, outlining a multimedia tutorial on Applied Behaviour Analysis that the University helped develop – Simple Steps (
The multimedia programme, devised by Dr Keenan and his team in conjunction with Irish the parent lead charity PEAT (Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists), is made up of a DVD, a comprehensive booklet and a CD-ROM containing instructions and various resources on Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) for professionals and parents.
Dr Keenan said: “We are already helping people with autism throughout the world, with our package already translated into Spanish, Norwegian, and German and a 1000 free copies have been distributed in each language, teaching people about effective, science-based treatment.
“The goal of the seminar is to produce a series of recommendations for the European Commission, National Agencies and project promoters, in order to make the new generation of programmes more accessible and inclusive.
“Following the event, key decision makers at European and national level in the field of education, training and social inclusion will be lobbied to adopt the recommendations and to introduce new measures to ensure that disadvantaged groups can better access the European Commission’s Leonardo da Vinci’s Life-Long Learning Programme in the future.”
The pioneering Simple Steps treatment package has already been recognised as an example of excellence by the Life-Long Learning Programme. The development of the package came about as a result of the shortage of professionals trained to international standards in the science of ABA to help teach people with autism.
Accompanying Dr Keenan to Rome will be parent Lynne McKerr who helped establish PEAT. Together they will discuss the successes of the STAMPPP project (Science and the Treatment of Autism: a Multimedia Package for Parents and Professionals), which produced updated the original Simple Steps programme. They will also highlight the practical and political obstacles that stand in the way of ABA being made available to parents in the community.
STAMPPP is an international consortium from the University of Ulster, QUB, European Association for Behaviour Analysis, the University of Oviedo, Spain, Akershus University College, Norway, the University of Applied Sciences, Münster, Germany, and local charity PEAT.