Our ABA Research

Since our 2004 beginning, one of our major objectives has been to help fill the gap in Australian-specific Autism research into ABA therapy’s effectiveness. Compared to the US, UK and Canada, Australian awareness of, and research on, ABA therapy’s effectiveness is limited. This knowledge gap is a barrier to building public and private sector support for intensive ABA therapy delivery to Australian children with ASD. It is also a barrier to families pursuing this therapy for their children on the spectrum.

We have collected assessment test results and sessional data on almost every child who has graduated from our Full-Service Model. As a result, we are in the exceptional position of possessing a wealth of information on a cohort of 40+ Australian children.

Study 1. Outcomes Following a Community-based Early Intensive Behaviour Intervention (EIBI) Program for Children with Autism in Australia

We have recently completed this first study to analyse these children’s outcomes, e.g. how many achieved ‘best outcomes’ and what skill gains they achieved. The study shows how children progressed through their ABA programs and demonstrates the effectiveness of our Full-Service Model. It is distinctive as the only research conducted to date on the effectiveness of intensive, early intervention, home-based ABA programs conducted exclusively on a community-based cohort of Australian children.

Published in the Australian Journal of Psychology.

Study 2. The Identification of Variables Linked to Predicting Outcomes for Children with Autism

This second study, currently underway, explores the potential predictive links between the development of key skills early in intervention and later overall outcomes. This information will provide important insight into how the nature of a child’s response to their ABA program impacts his or her pathways. We are studying factors such as a child’s baseline strengths and weaknesses in certain skill areas to help reveal what kind of progress a child might make in those areas and their links with the child’s overall outcome at graduation.

We remain committed to regularly recording and analysing information—including individual sessional data and assessment testing—to support our decision making around our program design and supervision as well as to demonstrate the significant outcomes we achieve.

Currently underway.

Monash University Mindfulness Project

As part of our concern about therapy delivery and parent stress, in September 2015 the Research Subcommittee began collaborating with Angelika Anderson and Dennis Moore from Monash University on a Mindfulness Project. The project involves one of their PhD students conducing an eight-week Mindfulness program with parents of children enrolled in our Full-Service Model. Monash, with L4Life, are collecting the data to identify whether a Mindfulness Program specifically designed for parents of children with Autism can alleviate parents’ stress and anxiety and impact the rate of children’s learning.

Completed.

At the April 2017 ABA Conference, from left to right: Clinical Consultant/Business Manager, Pam Roy; Timetable Coordinator/Senior Therapist, Claire Taptil; Psychologist/Clinical Supervisor, Sam Boyle; Therapist, Erin Sinclair; Grants/Marketing Communications Coordinator, Christine Darcas; Clinical Supervisor, Tiffany Poljakovic; Clinical Supervisor, Jodi Harris; Provisional Psychologist/Clinical Supervisor, Sara Allen; Co-Founder/Co-Patron, Tom Gleisner; Chair/Director, Mary Muirhead, Lovaas Institute President/CEO, Scott Wright; Co-Founder/Co-Patron, Dr Amanda Sampson; Board Member/Treasurer, Melanie Larkey. Front Row: Therapist, Hannah Yates; Educational and Development Psychologist/Clinical Supervisor/Research Coordinator, Sarah Wood.

Educational and Development Psychologist/Clinical Supervisor/Research Coordinator, Sarah Wood, presenting at the 2017 ABA Conference on the topic of disclosing an ASD diagnosis.