ABA Ireland Top 5 Recent Posts (24/08/2014)

Every week on our Facebook Page, members post dozens of post on topics related to Behaviour Analysis, its applications and related issues. One purpose of this blog is to highlight some of the most “liked” and useful posts in order to make them available to a wider audience.

5. Candy Waters’ Artwork

Sandy Waters – mother of  the artist Candy Waters – recently posted some of her daughter’s impressive artwork. The posts proved popular and quickly attracted 50 likes from impressed ABA Ireland members.  Candy is a non-verbal 12 year old young lady with severe autism.   She has attracted media attention and has her own Facebook page.  To see more of her artwork and to learn more about Candy, follow the above link.

4. Denis O’Hora and Farm Safety

Dennis & IFA

ABA Ireland’s Denis O’Hora recently attracted media attention for his recently keynote address at the national conference on farm safety.  The conference was organised by the Health and Safety Authority, Teagasc, and the Farm Safety Partnership and took place in Kilkenny.

Agriland reported that Dr O’Hora addressed the importance of identifying  near-misses and acknowledging the stresses faced by lone farmers working :

Close calls, he said are much more common than deaths and are lead indicators. “We have to identify these near misses. We have to learn from farmers what is going on. Close calls are a moment where people can make a change.”

He said that farmers need to take the time to pay full attention to what they are doing and its not just stressful situations that cause distractions. “You’re working, thinking about the kids coming home at the weekend and how great it will be to see them, even this positive thought can take you out of the moment and distract you.”

Lone workers, across the board in industry, are more likely to be involved in safety incidents, he said. “Being self employed means you are the CEO, the plumber, the accountant, the site manager. And self employment tends to happen more in dangerous industries.

“Because you have all of these roles, you will be better at some than others. And the ones you are not so good at you tend to leave till last. It’s human nature. Each additional role increases stress. You’ve got to learn to work in a ‘wise’ way of working.”

3. Meme of the Week

We had several popular memes this week. Most of these were shared from Behaviour Man or the ICBSR . The most popular one featured Kermit the Frog and offered the following words of wisdom:


Behaviour Man expanded on Kermit’s words by noting:

If an individual’s behavior continues to occur, it is very likely that this is a product of the reinforcing variables in their environment. If we have a close relationship to that individual, it is also very likely that our actions (behavior) may contribute to reinforcing their behavior–as we are a part of their environment. Until consistent change (on our behalf) is maintained in the environment, we are not likely to affect change in their behavior. Therefore, we must always look to ourselves as a possible cause (or reinforcing factor) of the behavior, and not blame the individual if the behavior continues to occur.

2.  The Ups and Downs of “Behaviorese”

Doireann O’Brien shared a really interesting article written by Andy Lattal and posted on the Aubrey Daniels Institute website.

Andy’s article described a debate within the field of behaviour analysis about the utility of what he terms “Behaviorese” – that is the “technical terms, neologisms, and acronyms” associated with the science of behaviour.  He notes that:

Such word usage is of great value to those within what we in behavior analysis call a particular “verbal community” (another such technical term …sigh). Within these communities, technical terms and expressions assume that everyone is on the same page with respect to their meaning. When people are, the terms work very well in communicating quickly and precisely. Huge problems can arise, however, when any “in crowd” lingo is used outside the verbal community in which it developed.  Confusion, apprehension, miscommunication, and failures to accomplish goals all can result when there is a mismatch between what the speaker is saying and the listener is hearing.

He describes the various opinions that are present within behaviour analysis to “Behaviorese” and then notes that:

The proof of the pudding, though, is in the eating. The real question is whether being able to describe a term with the precision found in the larger group’s use of that term makes any difference in how precisely the student applies the term in their research or practice.  One meaning of “understanding” is to do something, whether it is parrot a definition or implement a contingency. This requires research that we have not yet conducted.


1. Review Shows Big Increase in Science Backing Behavioural Therapy

autism speaks

The final post for this weeks came to ABA Ireland via Autism Speaks who reported on a new report indicating an increase in the quantity and quality of research supporting behavioural therapy for children with autism.  The report was compiled for the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and is available here.


With regard to ABA, the review included:

RCTs of the UCLA/Lovaas-focused approach, a developmentally focused ESDM approach, aschool delivered training (LEAP), as well as prospective comparisons of eclectic variants of ABA approaches.

The authors found that:

Across approaches, children receiving early intensive behavioral and developmental interventions have demonstrated improvements in cognitive, language, adaptive,
and ASD impairments compared with children receiving low-intensity interventions and eclecticnon-ABA based intervention approaches.

They concluded that:

These improvements allow us to make some stronger conclusions about certain elements of
the behavioral intervention literature. Considerable and consistent evidence suggests that
early behavioral and developmental intervention based on the principles of ABA delivered in intensive (>15 hours per week) and comprehensive (i.e., addressing numerous areas of functioning) form can significantly affect the development of some children with ASD.



That’s all for this week.

All comments welcome.

While ABA Ireland has taken all reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this blog, it accepts no liability for the accuracy or quality of the information provided and no liability for this information being up-to-date or complete. Information is provided for educational and general purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Where ABA Ireland provides links to third-party websites, it accepts no liability for the content of these websites. The views of authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABA Ireland or any organisations associated with the authors of posts.

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