Page last updated at 06:56 GMT, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Autism support DVD sent to Europe

Child - generic
The package is to support parents of autistic children

A support package to help the parents of children with autism pioneered in Northern Ireland is to be rolled out across Europe.

The Simple Steps, which includes a DVD and hard copy support material, is being translated into three languages.

It was developed by University of Ulster researchers alongside Parents Education as Autism Therapists.

The DVD uses footage of PEAT parents and their children to educate other parents on Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Parents using applied behaviour analysis programmes recorded teaching sessions with their children to create the resource.

An international team of researchers, led by Dr Mickey Keenan from the School of Psychology at Ulster, will develop and translate the multi-media package into German, Spanish and Norweigan.

"There has been a significant increase in the prevalence rates of Autism Spectrum Disorder worldwide and some studies have found that as many as 12 in every 1,000 children in Europe may have the disorder," Dr Keenan said.

Dr Mickey Keenan
Dr Mickey Keenan said there had been an increase in autism

"Applied behavioural analysis has consistently emerged as the most appropriate and effective treatment to help children with autism however, the number of trained professional behaviour analysts is very low throughout Europe.

One of the aims of this project is to address this need for suitably qualified professionals who can design, implement, and monitor programs that address individual needs of children with autism."

Dr Keenan and PEAT will work with a team of international experts from the University of Applied Sciences, Germany, Akershus University College, Norway, the University of Oviedo, Spain, and QUB over the next two years to develop and translate the project.

The project is funded through a Leonardo da Vinci European grant.

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