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centre for early autism treatment Quarterly Newsletter ~ March 2005

Dear Families The last few months have been relatively quiet for the CEAT clinicians, though we are anticipating that there are busier times ahead of us over the next year! As we continue our efforts to raise the level of awareness of Applied Behaviour Analysis and early intervention for autism, we are pleased to share news of some recent developments. Kimberly has had the opportunity to attend a conference in British Columbia, Canada, entitled “Autism Treatment: W hat’s Science Got to Do With it?” The conference provided insight into the need for science-based intervention for children with autism, an important theme in these changing times for children in North America and closer to home. It is with continued education and information that communities will come together and acknowledge the need for science-based and effective education for children with autism. We are pleased that after many family’s diligent efforts, education and library boards are beginning to recognize the provision of programmes based on the principles of A.B.A. as appropriate. In fact, two of our children have recently won their High Court battles to receive funding from the SEELB for their programmes. Joan McCartan, the mother of one of those children, has been kind enough to share her journey into autism provision in an article written for this newsletter. She and her husband Mark have also had the opportunity to share their stories on BBC Radio Ulster, on BBC’s Saturday Magazine and in the Belfast Newsletter. We at CEAT are committed to provision of information and education to the community along with our ongoing commitment to individual programmes. We assure you that CEAT will continue its collective efforts to work hand-in-hand with parents, educators and other professionals to increase access to and the availability of quality provision for all children with an autistic spectrum disorder. Kimmy and Mary

CEAT Introduces

Julianne Bell Programme Supervisor We are pleased to announce that Julianne Bell has recently joined our clinical team as a Programme Supervisor. After completing her six month internship with CEAT, Julianne will now provide direct supervision to programmes and teams. Julianne has worked diligently through the internship, which involves six months of coursework, four team placements, ten case studies, eight assignments, and a weekend stay with a family and their child with autism. This, combined with her five years experience working as a Lead Therapist on treatment teams, has prepared Julianne to be a welcomed and valued representative of the Centre for Early Autism Treatment.

Centre for Early Autism Treatment

21 Laganvale Manor Stranmillis · Belfast BT9 5BE Phone: 028 9066 2651 · Fax: 028 9066 2804 Email: Website:

Early Intervention, Recognized We were delighted to read about the research carried out by the University of Ulster that examined the three services that are jointly delivered by the Southern Health and Social Services Board (SHSSB) and the Southern Education and Library Board (SELB). (Wraparound Update, Issue 10, January 2005) These services include the area wide ABC Clinic for the assessment of children under four and a home-based early intervention service. Presenting the research findings, Roy McConkey, Professor of Learning Disability at the University said “The SHSSB and the SELB are to be congratulated on working together on early assessment and interventions initiatives for preschool children with autistic spectrum disorders.” It is excellent to know that early diagnosis and intervention are being researched, recognized and promoted in Northern Ireland. The next step forward is to research the efficacy of intensive, early intervention based on the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis with children in Northern Ireland . . . a truly groundbreaking and significant piece of research to conduct.



Sean was diagnosed with autism in July 2003, he was three. Looking back now we were lucky that we received a diagnosis so early. Mark had already suspected autism on learning all about it through a work colleague. I was still in denial. On leaving the paediatrician’s office, we felt in mourning. It was to us one of the saddest days of our lives and no one was there to support us. On learning about autism and watching Sean more closely we became very concerned as he was supposed to be attending a mainstream nursery in September, so we needed an educational psychologist to assess Sean. On our initial meeting, we were informed that there would be no other provision, it was too late, but he would get a classroom assistant. The only autism specialist service we were offered was pre-school placement “Forward Steps” run by the charity Barnardos, which uses TEACHH. This lasted for six weeks. The placement was a useful strategy in helping him cope within the nursery setting but we felt Sean educational needs were still not being met. As a teacher, I used that summer to do a lot of work with Sean. I tried teaching him through play, all the skills I felt a child his age should be able to do. His older brother helped, but Sean displayed a lot of frustration. We even put a lock on the living room door so he had no choice but to interact with us; it was still very difficult to get his attention, never mind interact. I realised that Sean did not learn things normally and that he was going to need more than a few hours of attention each day. We were extremely conscious from all of the professional opinions that there is very limited time in which appropriate intervention can achieve maximum effect. Early intervention is crucial in order to treat autism with optimum results; we had to act immediately. Sean was already behind in so many areas in comparison to his peers. Our own educational psychologist stated that Sean needed a highly structured and tailored individual programme as well as access to a pre-school curriculum. Was this available in Northern Ireland? If it was, it certainly wasn’t made available to Sean. We knew Sean had to access it somewhere, if he was going to have any chance of a normal life. “A Journey through the Therapies” provided by P.A.P.A. proved to be very useful. We were excited by what we had read about A.B.A.. We gathered as much information as we could and we also met two families who had been through a home-based A.B.A. programme with their children. I came away from both convinced this was the only way forward for Sean. I felt that if Sean could even learn partially what they had we would have some success. Being a science teacher myself, the fact that it is the only scientifically proven method was enough to convince me. The statistics are impressive! I was encouraged that this would be a specific one-to-one programme for Sean as well as a comprehensive education plan. A high priority goal would be to make learning FUN! It would be a programme that would focus on all the areas of learning, as well as his behaviour, social skills and self help skills. It would attempt to teach him how to learn. This was obviously a very big decision as we knew our whole family would be affected. But we felt we were left with no choice. Sean’s provision by the education board was a place in mainstream nursery. I am sure the nursery teacher would agree that they could have managed his behaviour, but the level of education he would receive would be in doubt. We knew this was totally inadequate and would not meet Sean’s educational needs. The education board did not offer us any autism specific provision for our son. Sean did not have time to wait for the board to get its house in order. We could not rely on the board to co-ordinate a multi -disciplinary approach addressing all of our son’s needs. On a careful analysis of all our options and research, we came to the conclusion that an intensive home based programme would be the only way that we could give Sean the start he needs in life. In November 2003, we started our home-based programme with a two day workshop provided by LEAP and transferred to CEAT in January 2004. Since the very beginning we haven’t looked back! Sean receives 33 hours of one-to-one therapy per week and he attends a Mainstream Nursery for three sessions per week. In September he will start the P1 class with the support of a full-time Assistant. All of the areas we are concerned about in connection to his communication, language, understanding, social skills are being addressed through his home programme and generalised into his school. Eighteen months down the line we know in our hearts we have done the best for Sean!

___________________________________________________________________________________ The Centre for Early Autism Treatment welcomes parents and professionals to use our newsletter to put forward their views or share their stories with us. Should you like to submit an article, letter or story, please contact us at

Thank You to Bronagh and Joe CEAT has had the pleasure of offering placements to two University of Ulster students since October 2004. We are pleased to have worked with both Joe Richardson and Bronagh Donaghy as they pursue their degrees in Psychology. Their personal interest in autism and their dedication to their work has made them valued members of several of our teams. Bronagh was based at our Learning Resource Centre at St Columbkilles School in Carrickmore where she helped maintain a fun and colourful learning environment for four pupils. Joe joined two therapy teams, where he had the distinct honour of being CEAT’s only male therapist in Northern Ireland! CEAT would like to thank Bronagh and Joe for their hard work and we wish them every success in their degree and future careers.

Joe Richardson & Pearse Hannaway


Along with this Newsletter we have provided you with our new CEAT leaflet , designed to help raise awareness of the need for appropriate, sciencebased intervention for young children with autism. The leaflet provides the reader with a quick but informed overview of Autism, ABA and CEAT. The leaflet s include a variety of pictures of children that we have worked with. A majority of these children are from Northern Ireland; yet we only thought it fair to be impartial with the main photograph, so a little boy from Canada is on the front. The leaflet refers to our website ( which up until now been a holding page; as from Mid-April the website will provide browsers with very detailed information about CEAT, ABA, Early Intervention and Future Events. We encourage you to have a look in about one month’s time.

P.E.A.T. presents:

Dr. Bobby Newman Licensed Psychologist Board Certified Behaviour Analyst President, Association for Science in Autism Treatment

1 July 2005 Everglades Hotel Co. Derry For registration details, Please contact P.E.A.T. Phone: 028 90324882 Email: Website:

As always we are keen to promote awareness of early autism treatment. Over the next year, CEAT intends to host a series of “Information Evenings” through out Northern Ireland. These presentations aim to answer the questions that parents and professionals have in relation to ABA, Early, Intensive Intervention and CEAT.

CEAT Parent and Therapists Group

We welcome and encourage the attendance of parents, educators, pediatricians, related therapists and anyone interested in autism at these “Information Evenings.”

For more information on the events and plans of this group, please contact Jo Nolan at

Thank you to those of you who expressed an interest in the


Kimberly had the opportunity to attend this conference in British Columbia, Canada, where she had the pleasure of hearing three leading professionals speak on the importance of science-based intervention and the integration of speech pathology into intensive behavioural treatment programmes. The conference was co-hosted by ASAT (Association for Science in Autism Treatment,, ASBC (Autism Society of British Columbia,, and FEAT of BC, (Families for Early Autism Treatment of British Columbia, Dr. Sabrina Freeman, Executive Director of FEAT and parent of a child with autism, answered the question Why Should We Care about Science in Autism Treatment. Dr. Freeman re -iterated her passionate views about the need for evidencebased practice in autism treatment. More information about Dr. Freeman’s views can be found in her book: Science for Sale in the Autism Wars, published by SKF Books, ( Dr. Bobby Newman, President of ASAT ( ) spoke about Scientific Reasoning and Treatments for Autism. Dr Newman discussed the importance of science treatment by outlining the criteria required for evidence-based practice. He went on to remind us of the basic principles behind the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis and how it can and should be used to teach individuals with autism. We are looking forward to hearing Dr. Newman discuss this further during his upcoming visit to Northern Ireland. Dr. Joanne Gerenser is a Speech and Language Pathologist and Executive Director of the Eden II Programmes in Staten Island, New York ( She spoke enthusiastically on Strategies for Promoting Speech and Language in Children with Autism and Related Disorders. She offered many ideas about teaching Joint Attention and Categorization; most insightful was her perspective on the delivery of speech and language intervention using principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis.

Supervisor Internship: Seeking Applications

CEAT invites applicants who wish to participate in our Supervisor Internship commencing August 2005. Applicants must hold a Bachelors Degree in Psychology or a related field and should have a minimum of two years experience working with children with ASD in home-based ABA programmes. Interested applicants should forward CV and cover letter to CEAT by 15 May 2005.

Centre for Early Autism Treatment is proud to present a

Therapist Orientation Seminar Saturday, 23 April 2005 Topics to Include:

The Science of Applied Behaviour Analysis The Work of Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas The Discrete Trial Teaching Approach Programme Implementation Discrete Trial Data Collection Practical Application of Skills From Afar . . . In March we were joined for a week by a therapist from our team in Zambia. Ceri Elliot made the long journey from Africa to Belfast so that she could observe more children working on their home-based programmes. Ceri went to six homes and was very impressed with our hardworking children and therapists. Ceri had a wonderful time and thanks everyone she met whilst here. Her sentiments extend to the countless number of people she met in the bars on St Patrick’s night. She timed her trip very nicely.

Venue: The Seagoe Hotel, Portadown Time: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Registration and payment must be submitted by 15 April. Parents and therapists working on recently or soon to be established home programmes are encouraged to attend.

centre for early autism treatment Quarterly Newsletter ~ June 2005

Dear Families, We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our parents, children and therapists for the very hard work that has been done over the last year. Every time we compose this newsletter, we are pleasantly surprised and proud of the many accomplishments that are made by each of our children, by the gains you as parents are making in the fight for support and funding for behavioural intervention, and by our clinicians, who strive to provide insightful and informed individualized programmes. We are proud to be a part of this community in Northern Ireland. Parents, Therapists and Clinicians enjoying an evening together, at the recent PEAT Conference, Dinner and Dance, held in Derry on 1 July 2005.

Kimmy and Mary

CEAT Introduces

Kirsty McCartney Programme Supervisor We are pleased to announce that Kirsty McCartney has recently joined our clinical team as a Programme Supervisor. After completing her six month internship with CEAT, Kirsty will now provide direct supervision to programmes and teams. Kirsty has worked diligently through the internship, which involves six months of coursework, four team placements, ten case studies, eight assignments, and a weekend stay with a family and their child with autism. This, combined with her five years experience working as a Lead Therapist on treatment teams, has prepared Kirsty to be a welcomed and valued representative of the Centre for Early Autism Treatment.

The Centre for Early Autism Treatment

is proud to present a

Promoting Spontaneous Communication Seminar

Saturday, 6 August 2005 Topics to Include: What is Manding ? Why teach a child to Mand ? How do we facilitate Manding ? Data Collection for Manding

Venue: The Seagoe Hotel, Portadown Centre for Early Autism Treatment

21 Laganvale Manor Stranmillis • Belfast BT9 5BE Phone: 028 9066 2651 • Fax: 028 9066 2804 Email: Website:

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration and payment must be submitted by 20 July. Parents and therapists working on recently or soon to be established home programmes are encouraged to attend.

SPREADING THE WORD . . . One of our main aims at the Centre for Early Autism Treatment is to provide education and information to our children, their families and the community. In recent months, we have presented Information Evenings open to the public in Belfast and Armagh. We have shared information on autism, ABA, early intensive intervention and CEAT programmes, with an aim to dispel the myths that often get in the way of informed and appropriate educational provision. Stay tuned for upcoming dates of our next Information Evening.

SUMMERTIME FUN WITH SUPPORTED PEER PLAY By: Liana Maione The end of the school year and the beginning of the summer means that many of our children have more time to fill. Do not let these opportunities go by! Seize this time avai lable to enhance your child’s skills and provide opportunities for peer play and social interaction. Structured peer play sessions can not only help our children to form lasting friendships but can also provide a forum for targeting specific social skills and generalizing the skills our children have been working on in their home-based programmes. Ideas for activities to include are endless. Here are a few to get you started: Treasure Hunts. This is a personal favourite and can be adapted in a variety of ways. Clues leading to an exciting end can be either written or pictures. Box Transformation. Put a large cardboard box outside and have children use paints and other art supplies to turn the box into a rocket, pirate ship, car, boat or plane! Then facilitate pretend play. Incorporate other props as needed e.g. swords, animal “passengers,” etc. Tails. Tuck a long piece of material (bath robe ties work well) into the back of one child’s trousers. Then go! All the children have to chase the child with the “tail.” The child that pulls it out, then has the tail and everyone chases him/her. Nature Collage: Read a story about all the things children can find outdoors, then go for a walk or look outside. Give children a bag and have them collect flowers, twigs, leaves and other nature materials to paste onto a paper for an art collage. Encourage co-operation by using one bag and one large sheet of paper. Gross Motor Games: Include activities such as Duck Duck Goose, What’s the Time Mr. Wolf?, Parachute games, and Hide and Seek. Community Outings: Take a trip to the zoo, the park, the fire station, the pet shop, the beach, or anywhere that your child enjoys. Include a picnic and other games to facilitate peer interaction. Make sure to discuss the rules and include the importance of staying together and communicating about what we see. *All activities listed should be conducted only when agreement with parents is received.

Artist of the Month: Oscar, Aged 9

Little Girl Lost, Young Girl Found Let me tell you a story. Meet Hailey. Hailey lives in Canada with her parents and older sister. Hailey received a diagnosis of autism at the age of 18 months; she is now 4 years old. Upon diagnosis Hailey started an early intervention programme based on the principles of ABA and an autism-specific (Lovaas) curriculum. Initially Hailey took part in 10 hours of 1:1 therapy Her hours increased as she grew older and she now receives 30 hours of therapy per week. Hailey is just one example of the efficacy of early intervention. When I met Hailey in September 2002 she appeared unaware of the world; she stared blankly into space. She did not speak, she did not play imaginatively and her life was limited by routines.

Hailey, Aged 2

Over the past 2 ½ years Hailey has made significant gains; she is unrecognizable from the child I met in 2002. Hailey continues to maintain a diagnosis of autism, however she now has the skills to interact with her peers and maintain friendships. Hailey uses language fluently, she reads, writes and draws. Hailey plays with her sister and enjoys going to birthday parties. Just like all children, she understands and loves life. So why this story? This is one of many. This is what can happen when early intervention is implemented. I t does not always happen; early intervention is not a miracle cure. Rather, early intervention can be a powerful amelioration tool that peels away the layers of autism to conceal the hidden child. The essence of this article is to pose the question why is it so difficult to provide early intervention? Why is it so difficult to do my job? Why do I face opposition everyday from other professionals in the field? Why cannot they acknowledge that early intervention based on the science of ABA is evidently the leading force in the treatment of children with autism? It has to be said that there are professionals and authorities who are starting to respect ABA programmes. Educational Psychologists are seeing the significant gains that children are making; Speech and Language Therapists are recognizing that increasing the intensity of language programmes is beneficial to a child; Occupational Therapists are gaining an awareness that experienced ABA practitioners do not claim to have an exclusive treatment approach. Hailey is a unique individual, who required a unique intervention programme. She, like all children, had specific needs that required a range of strategies, materials and programmes, all of which were implemented through behaviour analytic principles. At the International ABA conference this year, Dr Ahearn of The New England Centre for Children, stated that “to not look outside is isolating and arrogant.” As clinicians, we look outside to explore all possible means of teaching a child, including strategies, materials and programmes not unlike those used by language therapists, special educators and teachers. However, we are always guided by behaviour analytic principles, data-driven evaluation and individualized tuition. To disregard ABA as not being vital to every programme is to disregard a science and therefore a fact. To disregard the facts of life is surely a mistake. The past six months have been disheartening in one respect. CEAT has screened nine children under the age of four; only three of these children have started on home-based programmes. Additionally, CEAT has screened eight children over the age of four; all eight children have started home-based programmes. For me this speaks volumes. Initially parents hesitate to pursue intensive behaviour intervention; however after a year or so these same parents seek that provision to enhance that of statutory provision. These are the figures; these are the facts. As with the wealth of research that supports intensive, early intervention, they should not be ignored and discarded. The reluctance of the authorities to support in principle the implementation of behaviour analytic early intervention programmes is, in my opinion, a failure to recognize the needs of young children with autism. I have to put a voice to my thoughts, I cannot continue to see the provision I am trained to implement undervalued or diluted. Why are the authorities prepared to spend hundreds and thousands of pounds in the High Courts and Tribunals rather than fund home-based programmes? It is beyond my scope of reason and understanding. Surely it is indisputable that intensive behaviour therapy for any individual with a delay or difficulty is going to benefit from individualized attention and treatment. The current policy is desperately unfortunate and one that I solemnly believe will one day be seen to be incorrect. So I carry on trying to do my job. Why? Because I want to tell you a story, a story about Oliver….about Jenna…..about Johnny……about Matisse……. about Paul…..about Sean…….about hundreds of children and most importantly to inform people about what is right and what needs to be done now for the children who will be born tomorrow.

By: Mary Hopton-Smith Hailey, Aged 4

The Association for Behaviour Analysis 31st Annual A.B.A. Convention Chicago, Illinois, USA Kimberly and Mary attended The 31st Annual Convention of the Association for Applied Behaviour Analysis in Chicago, USA, from 28t h May to 1st June. The conference offered the Directors of CEAT the opportunity to expand their knowledge by receiving on-going training by leading professionals in the field of A.B.A. They attended a variety of symposiums and workshops, including but not limited to the following.

Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention and Relational Frame Theory (RFT): Presented by Dr Ian Stewart. RFT is a modern behaviour analytic approach to human language and cognition. The purpose of this seminar was to illustrate how insights and procedures generated by RFT approach might be applied in early intervention programmes. Verbal Foundations for Academic Success in School: Presented by Kent Johnson, Ph.D. This workshop focused on the visual and auditory skills and the language and knowledge repertoires that learners need in order to learn to read, write, think, reason and solve academic problems in school. Six resear ch and evidence-based curricula and methods were presented. The use of Direct Instruction and Precision Teaching was modeled and time was allocated for discussion and practice of skills being taught. Teaching Thinking and Reasoning Skills with Thinking Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS): Presented by Kent Johnson, Ph.D. and the staff of the Morningside Academy. The ability to think analytically enables a person to reason, apply knowledge to solve problems, invent, discover and negotiate interpersonal communication. TAPS is a direct, logical advancement of a radical behavioural account of thinking and reasoning. TAPS facilitates the development of analytical thinking skills by teaching students to verbalize their observations, thoughts and reactions to social situations. An Overview of Assessing, Classifying and Treating Feeding Difficulties in Children with Developmental Difficulties: Presented by Dr Ahearn. Many children with ASD have limited diets and are very reluctant to increase the variety of food that they eat. Additionally many children have specific skill deficits and/or disruptive behaviour during meal times. This seminar focused on the classification and assessment of feeding difficulties in order to advance clinicians knowledge when designing appropriate treatment plans. Teaching Students with Autism to Respond to Social Situations in Mainstream Settings: Presented by Lori Bechner. This workshop focused on outlining social scenarios in school that a child with ASD might have difficulty negotiating and the strategies used to teach students with autism to respond to such situations. An In-Depth Look at Prompting and Other Strategies for Teaching Cognitive Skills to Children with Autism: Presented by John McEachin. This seminar was presented by the co-author of “Work in Progress� and the Director of Autism Partnership. The aim of the workshop was to explore the different methods of selecting prompts, deciding upon the placement of prompts and prompt reduction used in Discrete Trial Teaching. International Symposium: UK Young Autism: Progress in Treatment and Development of Programme Interventions: Diane Hayward. This presentation reported on research work that is currently being conducted in the U.K. It is exceptionally important that such research is supported and promoted in order to increase the level of awareness that early intervention has the backing of continuing scientific research. International Symposium: Toward Outcome-Level Analyses of Early Intensive Intervention Programs for Young Children with Autism: Discussant Dr Glen Sallows. This presentation further advanced the level of supporting data for the efficacy of early intervention that is being collected by various researchers and service providers. International Poster Session: Intensive Behavioural Treatment for Young Children with Autism: Four Year Outcome and Predication: Dr Glen Sallows. This piece of research is going to prove exceptionally effective in the on-going support of scientifically validated treatment for children with ASD. This research has been conducted by the Wisconsin Early Autism Project and has had results that replicate those of the original Lovaas study of 1987. Invited Event: ABA and Autism: an Unfinished Agenda: Dr William H. Ahearn. This powerful presentation aimed to address the criticisms that are often faced by Behaviour Analysts and those responsible for implementing early intervention programmes. These criticisms include the failure to address social functioning, failure to establish dramatic play skills and the development of children with robotic responding that curtails spontaneity. Our experience as Clinicians shows us that these criticisms are unfounded when programmes are implemented and supervised by experts trained in the principles of ABA, the development of autism-specific curricula and complimentary intervention techniques. Amongst the recommended courses of action to respond to such criticisms were the importance of local, regional and national advocacy and public relations.

centre for early autism treatment Quarterly Newsletter ~ September 2005

Dear Families, We have a great newsletter for you this quarter. We are delighted to be able to print an article written by Lynn Hamilton, parent of a child with autism and author of the book Facing Autism. Kimmy had the opportunity to work with Lynn’s son Ryan during his first two years of behavioural intervention with the Wisconsin Early Autism Project. We hope that you enjoy the varied and experienced insights Lynn offers. We have also provided you with news on recent events with the National Autistic Society and the establishment of a local branch here in Belfast. We have also shared some very exciting news of a highly influential conference on Applied Behaviour Analysis taking place in Coleraine in December of 2005. Finally, we have used this newsletter to share some of the accomplishments of a few of CEAT’s 60 children. We hope that you have an excellent autumn term and wish you the very best in the months to come. Kimmy and Mary

Poster Presentation at NAS International Conference

We are pleased to announce the establishment of the:

National Autistic Society – Greater Belfast Branch On 15 September 2005, the National Autistic Society – Greater Belfast Branch was established during a meeting at the Wellington Park Hotel. For information on joining this branch, please contact Jo Nolan, Branch Officer

centre for early autism treatment

is proud to present

Promoting Generalization and Behaviour Management Seminar Saturday, 19 November 2005

No More Nappies!

Topics to Include:

Congratulations to our toilet training grads:

Generalization Making Generalization Happen What to do When the Session Ends

Ryan, Matthew, Pearse and Brian

Centre for Early Autism Treatment

21 Laganvale Manor Stranmillis • Belfast BT9 5BE Phone: 028 9066 2651 • Fax: 028 9066 2804 Email: Website:

Behaviour Management Defining Behaviour Understanding Challenging Behaviours Functional Assessment: You can learn how to do it!

Venue: The Seagoe Hotel, Portadown Time: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration and payment must be submitted by 10 November. Parents and therapists working on recently or soon to be established home programmes are encouraged to attend.

Making Educational Choices

By: Lynn Hamilton

Before we began treating Ryan’s autism, he was not able to learn on his own. He didn’t observe the world as our daughter did, drinking in every experience with delight. So with each passing month, he was falling further behind. This need—the ability to learn—is more difficult for a child with autism, but it can and must be met. In a perfect world the public school system would meet all our children’s educational needs, but that often isn’t the case. Funding is tight, and the special needs of children are great. The basic school services usually include an educational learning environment, either in a special class or an integrated regular class, along with speech, occupational, and physical therapy as needed by the child. Many families start with these public services, but unfortunately, the child’s needs often go beyond what the services offer, leaving parents to seek additional therapists in private practice. In the United States, school districts are required to provide “free and appropriate” education for all children, including those with special needs, but what they consider appropriate may not match a parent’s expectations. You will need to evaluate the school system to determine if the services they offer meet your needs. If not, you can fight the school district, which many people do, or you can find supplemental or alternative therapies. We chose to use what was most effective for Ryan and turn down what was not. How did we decide which services to use? First we asked ourselves what Ryan needed. Since we believed Ryan needed intensive ABA, that was our priority. Could he use both ABA and the school-offered services? For the first year we said yes, and we did both, but we were careful not to rob time from ABA for anything else—even a good thing—that might be less effective. After a while we felt the school services weren’t benefiting Ryan as much, so we discontinued them. Later, when he entered kindergarten, we resumed some services as we saw best. As with any child, the educational methods used with an autistic child will need to be reevaluated and changed periodically as his needs and skills change. Helping our children learn may require a lot of extra effort, but it is worth it. They are worth it!

Lynn Hamilton is the author of:

Facing Autism: Giving Parents Reasons for Hope and Guidance for Help This essential read is available for purchase on or on Lynn’s own website,


We were pleased to have been invited by the National Autistic Society to present at their Early Intervention Conference in Harrogate on 29 September 2005. This was a wonderful opportunity to share with professionals from throughout the United Kingdom, the meaning and value of Applied Behaviour Analysis and Early Intensive Intervention. Both Mary and Liana presented to a delegation of 75 people and the feedback from those who attended was very positive. We would like to thank the NAS for giving us this opportunity.

The National Autistic Society held their International Conference , “Facing the Challenge, Meeting the Challenge” on 23 – 24 September in London. The conference was attended by over 800 delegates, many of whom had travelled from other countries to hear the prestigious line-up of speakers. Kimberly and Mary attended the conference, at which they presented a poster on “Early, Intensive Behavioural Intervention.” The conference hosted a number of plenary speakers and additional break-out workshops. The topics presented ranged from “Biomedical Approach to Autism Research” (Professor David Amaral, The MIND Institute) to “Diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome” (Professor Tony Atwood.) Further speakers included Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, who discussed “the extreme male-brain theory of autism” and Dr Temple Grandin, who spoke of her personal experience with autism “from the inside, sensory problems, visual thinking, coping with stress and developing careers.” We had the opportunity to hear a panel of teenagers and an adult with Asperger’s Syndrome discuss their personal histories and offer advice to carers, educators and companions to other people with Asperger’s Syndrome. On Sunday, 25 September the NAS organized an amazing “Day for Autism” in Leicester Square, London. Kimmy and Mary went along to take part in the events of the day, which included a steel band, dance performances and rock bands on the main stage as well as a bouncy castle, sensory room, and quiet area of children with and without autism. The day aimed to raise the level of awareness of autism and to celebrate the achievements of individuals with autism, many of whom performed on stage and / or presented their art work. Congratulations to the NAS for a successful weekend!

Steel Drums, Main Stage, Leicester Square, London

We encourage you to attend . . . Congratulations to

Liana Maione Clinic Supervisor on the upcoming publication of her research on: Effects of Video Modeling and Video Feedback On Peer-Directed Social Language Skills of a Child with Autism in the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions

The upcoming conference: Facing Autism: ABA, Ireland 2005 hosted by the University of Ulster – Coleraine. Dr. Mikey Keenan has diligently organized a phenomenal line-up of world-renowned experts in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis. The conference will provide both Key Note presentations and Workshops on a wide-range of topics including curriculum development, anxiety, eating problems and verbal development. It is through ongoing education and the convening of world experts that early intensive behavioural intervention and the ongoing behavioural support of children with autism can be understood and ultimately provided to the children of Northern Ireland. Thank you to Dr. Keenan for his important and ongoing efforts to inform and educate! This is an event that cannot be missed!

School of Psychology University of Ulster – Coleraine

Friday 16 December 2005 Saturday 17 December 2005 A major conference & workshops on Applied Behaviour Analysis

Keynote Speakers Gina Green (San Diego) Bobby Newman (New York) Pat Krantz (PCDI, New Jersey) William H. Ahaern (New England Centre) Jane S. Howard (California State University) Lynn E. McClannahan (PCDI) Phil Smyth, Claire McDowell & Aisling Ardiff (Saplings)

For further information, see: Or Contact: Sharon Adams Continuing Professional Development Unit Tel: 028 9036 6680 Fax: 028 9036 6060 Email:

CEAT 2005  
CEAT 2005  

CEAT Newsletters 2005