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Applied Behavior Analysis at LIU Post: Education in the Most Promising Treatment for Children with Developmental Disabilities

Professor presents at international ABA conference in Minnesota

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Morgan Lyle,Assistant Director of Public Relations
LIU Post, Long Island University
516-299-4177

John NeillBrookville, N.Y. – Individualized assessment and treatment, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, is the key to helping children with autism and other developmental disorders, an LIU Post professor and expert on applied behavior analysis told a recent international conference in Minnesota.

Dr. John C. Neill, an associate professor of psychology who has conducted original research and experimentation on the causes and treatment of developmental disabilities for three decades at Children's Hospital in Boston, Harvard Medical School, Southampton College and LIU Post, presented at the Association for Behavior Analysis International 2013 in Minneapolis May 25.

“Insurance companies, parents, teachers, and human service agencies emphasize the need to provide a certain number of hours of early intensive behavioral intervention per week,” Dr. Neill said. “But effective individualized analysis and teaching is more important than simply specifying the number of hours of contact per week that the child must work with a teacher or therapist.”

At LIU, Harvard and Children’s Hospital, Dr. Neill has studied babies born prematurely who have experienced severe seizures, and said ABA techniques have been shown to head off developmental problems.

“Early intervention using ABA techniques is essential for improving the odds of normal intellectual development in such children,” he said. “As such a child is taught effectively to respond to her environment, abnormal brain electrical activity decreases and performance on intelligence tests improves. This can lead to the need for less medication, and then the improvements can snowball.  This intensive ABA can be achieved in a few hours per week, and should augment regular treatment procedures. Results vary incredibly, so continuous monitoring and analysis of the data is important to ensure success.”

Dr. Neill is a professor in the undergraduate and graduate-level advanced certificate programs in applied behavior analysis at LIU Post, Long Island’s premier program for ABA education. The LIU Post ABA program includes three professors who are board certified in ABA at the doctoral level.

Among the graduates of the LIU Post ABA advanced certificate program is Dr. Monica Howard, associate director of the ELIJA School in Levittown, which serves children with autism, their families, caregivers and the community. “I would absolutely recommend the LIU Post ABA program to anyone interested in working with children with disabilities,” she said.

“The ABA program at LIU Post emphasizes the theory and background of applied behavior analysis, and how to test the effectiveness of different early interventions until you find the one that works best for that individual child,” Dr. Howard said. “It was very valuable to me as I earned my doctorate and in practice.”

Behavior analysts work with individuals at all age levels, from infancy through adulthood and old age, in settings that include schools, homes, day programs, communities, residential care settings, businesses and research laboratories. They function as individual clinicians or are employed in organizations in numerous fields including education, behavioral medicine, mental health, disability, and children's services, business and institutions of higher learning.

"Applied behavior analysis is an exciting field. It is based primarily on the principle of positive reinforcement, and is used to teach children who have severe developmental challenges, such as intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. In the classroom, I teach my graduate and undergraduate students that every child can be reached, to some degree, with ABA,” Dr. Neill said.

For further information about courses on ABA at LIU-Post, prospective students may contact the graduate advisor Dr. Nancy Frye, at (516) 299-4290 Nancy.Frye@liu.edu, department of psychology chairman, Dr. Gerald Lachter, at (516) 299-2184 Gerald.Lachter@liu.edu. To learn more about this research, email Dr. Neill at John.Neill@liu.edu. For more on the Advanced Certificate in Applied Behavior Psychology and other psychology programs at LIU Post, visit www.liu.edu/post/psychology.

Posted 06/24/2013

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