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Research Statement

The focus of my doctoral research was on the application of behaviour analytic interventions to help improve the happiness and overall quality of life of young children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I am particularly interested in how behavioural indicators of mood can be measured as outcome variables during self-determination-based interventions such as providing opportunities for choice during teaching sessions. My findings to date have suggested that overt indicators of mood can be reliably measured among children with ASD, and that their indices of happiness can be systematically improved through the provision of choice-based interventions. For future research, I am interested in validating these overt mood indicators with physiological measures, as well as developing a training protocol for teachers and therapists that outlines behavioural approaches for improving and measuring the happiness and quality of life of individuals with disabilities.

I have a strong commitment to research, as I believe the dissemination of behaviour analysis can help to improve the quality of life of individuals with disabilities around the world. Reflecting this, I have acted as lead author or co-author of five peer-reviewed journal articles and three book chapters. My papers have been published in high-impact and respected journals such as Developmental Neurorehabilitation, the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, and the Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. This publication record has given me a certain level of expertise in single-subject research methodology and systematic literature reviews.

In addition to this, I am a periodic reviewer for three journals, including Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, and the Journal of Behavioral Education. I continue to maintain a close connection with the greater behaviour analytic community, as I am a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the Division of Behaviour Analysis Ireland, the Psychological Society of Ireland, and the U.K. Society for Behaviour Analysis. Through these professional memberships, I am currently working with colleagues to develop a credentialing system for behaviour analysts located outside of the United States.

I am actively supervising master’s students within the Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis (MScABA) programme here at Queen’s University Belfast as well as Trinity College Dublin. I have been involved with, or supervised, a number of different research projects, but my research interests lie in the following areas: (a) improving the psychosexual development of adolescents with ASD; (b) the use of lag schedules of reinforcement to improve behavioural variability; (c) the use of telehealth for parent training; (d) technology-based instruction within behaviour analysis, and (e) variations of the functional analysis to develop function-based interventions for challenging behaviours. I am open to supervising research projects in any of these areas, but my focus remains on the application of behavioural interventions to improve the quality of life of individuals with disabilities and their caregivers.


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