A young psychology graduate is trying to improve the lives of autistic children by spreading the word about a little known area of scientific help.
Scott Graham, 25, from Maghera, Northern Ireland, says he has seen first-hand how Applied Behavioural Analysis [ABA] can benefit autistic children and their families.
A graduate from the University of Ulster, with a first class honours degree in social psychology, he wants to use his knowledge and experience to help others.
‘My Fixers project is to help bring the science of ABA together with those who need it.
'When researching the use of ABA in the UK and Ireland I became aware of the lack of accessibility to this science and therefore help that parents of autistic children are facing.’
According to the experts, ABA is; 'a systematic way of observing someone's behaviour, identifying desirable changes in that behaviour and then using the most appropriate methods to make those changes.' [Source: Research Autism].
Autistic spectrum disorder is a condition that affects the way a person communicates and relates to other people, and engages with their surroundings.
With Fixers, Scott has created a leaflet explaining ABA so that specialists and families can better understand the benefits.
As part of his project, Scott spoke to a young person in their early 20s who was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder when young and found ABA a useful therapy. They are quoted anonymously in the leaflet.
‘Thanks to the help of ABA, my parents and classroom assistants (who were trained in ABA), I was able to succeed at school and make my way to university. My life is full of opportunities despite the poor outlook I was given at the start by education professionals.
‘ABA is not just about tasks at a table. It involves a lot of practical skills and helps with social skills and other day to day issues for life beyond education.’