Skills, strengths and needs of practitioners and teams

Skills, strengths and needs of practitioners and teams providing PBS to children & young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
Dear Colleague
Are you a professional using PBS to support children and young people with learning disabilities or Autism Spectrum Condition?   
Does this describe what you do? 
“I use PBS to support other people who provide direct care (family caregivers and/or staff) to children or young people with learning disabilities or Autism Spectrum Condition or to other members of my team who have this kind of role.” 
Then you might like to take part in the survey.
What’s it about? 
The survey asks about your role and team (where relevant) and allows you to rate your skills, experience, confidence and training needs in relation to different aspects of PBS.
Why survey this? 
PBS is increasingly recognised as the preferred approach for supporting those with behaviour that challenges yet little is known about the skills and need of practitioners providing this in the UK (especially for children and young people).The survey aims to find out more about this to help inform future training and support for practitioners. So hopefully a good opportunity to express some of what you do and say what you need to keep getting better at it!
What does it involve?
The survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. It includes mostly Likert-scale ratings with a small number of open qualitative response sections. All responses are made anonymously and should be relatively easy to make.
Do I have to take part?
It is your choice whether to take part. You can miss out questions you do not want to answer or terminate your involvement at any stage. Your decision will not affect whether you can continue to take part in this network or its activities.
Other information?
If you would like any additional information, would like to ask a question or have any concerns or complaints please do not hesitate to get in touch (, Telephone: 01227 827755).
Next Steps 
If you would like to take part in the survey please click on the link below to access the google form.
If you would like to complete the survey as a paper form please contact me and I will send this with a pre-paid return envelope.  If you do have any concerns or complaints and I am not available you can leave a message with Jo Ruffels, Secretary of the Ethics Committee (01227 827955)

Nick Gore

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Board Certified Behaviour Analysts 2017

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) has recently published Verified Course Sequence pass rate data for 2016. This provides information on the percentage of first-time candidates who sat and passed the exam to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) from each Verified Course Sequence in this year. We are very pleased that six candidates from the University of Kent sat the exam and we had an 83% pass rate. Congratulations to the new BCBAs and best of luck to all Tizard graduates sitting the exam in 2017!

Pass rate data:

Testimonials from two of the new BCBAs:

Mikaela Green

After working in the field of ABA for 7 years before I enrolled on the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis at the University of Kent, I honestly felt as though I had a good knowledge of what Applied Behaviour Analysis was and how to use the scientific principles to enhance the lives of the clients I worked with. Well, how wrong was I?!

The Tizard Centre’s Masters Course in ABA combined an in depth theoretical course content, alongside the chance to then practically apply these principles in real life situations with the clients I worked with. At every step of the way what I learnt was put into practice which gave the science a ‘function’ for me, and all supervised by some of the most influential and skilled Behaviour Analysts in the world.

I believe this is what prepared me best for passing by Board Certification Exam the following May. Not only that, but I did not have to rote learn acronyms and their descriptions from slides and books to pass the exam, as I had been taught how to apply these principles in real life situations and see the outcomes for myself. I wanted to make a real impact in my future career as a Behaviour Analyst and I feel the Tizard Course, its content and structure, has enabled me to do this. The Course gave me a more thorough understanding of what applying the scientific principles of Behaviour Analysis really entails and the impact it can have on the lives of all.

Thanos Vostanis

My name is Thanos Vostanis, and I am a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) working with Children and Adults with Disabilities. I have managed to receive my certification recently after completing the required coursework and supervised practice while also receiving a passing grade at the BACB exams. I completed my MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) at the University of Kent, and I believe that it was one of the main reasons I have successfully received my certification. The coursework was of excellent standards while the supervision sessions, which were delivered by acclaimed academics with significant experience, provided both the theoretical as well as the practical advice needed to help me improve as a student and clinician. I firmly believe that my time at the University of Kent developed my skills and background knowledge and prepared me for a successful career in Behaviour Analysis. I warmly recommend this course to anyone interested in studying ABA.

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SEABA Conference 2017

Thanos Vostanis, PhD student at the Tizard Centre, will be presenting a paper at the 2nd Annual Conference “Applications of Behaviour Analysis: ideas, insights and inspiring stories”.  This is aimed specifically at parents, carers and professionals involved in education, autism and learning disability provision.

Thanos will be giving an overview of Precision Teaching enabling the audience to understand the basic ideas behind PT and the possibilities it offers.

Serena Tomlinson, Research Assistant and fellow PhD student at the Tizard Centre will also be giving a talk focusing on the use of telehealth (eg videoconferencing) to train individuals in Applied Behavioural Analytic techniques.

More information is available on the SEABA web page. 


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Poster prize

The University of Kent hosted a conference day on REF and how to make an impact.  Aida Malovic and Glynis Murphy, Tizard Centre won the prize for the best impact with their poster on SOTSEC-ID and was praised for its effects for people with learning disabilities.


Other colleagues/associates who contribute to SOTSEC-ID and helped with the poster include Dr Neil Sinclair, Dr Rowena Rossiter, Dr Peter Langdon, Clare Melvin, Rachel Massey and Dr Emily Blake.

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PBS Workshop – Dr Nick Gore

Dr Nick Gore held a one day workshop looking at “Positive behavioural support for children and young people with learning and developmental disabilities: roles needs and strengths of clinical psychologists”.  The event was a great success with some 56 psychologists and lead professionals attending.

The workshop covered the following:

  • Key developments on PBS from clinicians and researchers in the field
  • Attendees presented PBS service models and strategies they are currently utilising
  • Supportive mechanisms for clinicians development were discussed and planned.
  • An exploration of PBS skills and training needs for Clinical Psychologists and survey participation
  • The launch of a research support network for Clinical Psychologists working within a PBS framework.


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Behaviour that Challenges: Seminar

On Wednesday 10 May, Dr Neil Sinclair and Prof Murphy from the Tizard Centre contributed to the London seminar on ‘Behaviour that challenges: planning services for people with learning disabilities and /or autism who sexually offend’. Dr Sinclair and Prof Murphy co-chair the SOTSEC-ID organisation that provides treatment across the UK and in parts of Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Spain and elsewhere, for this group of offenders (see ).

Keynote speaker in the seminar was Lord Bradley; also contributing in the seminar was Dr Tania Tancred, a long term collaborator with SOTSEC-ID from Probation Services in Kent.  The seminar was organised by Andrea Hollomotz (University of Leeds) and Jenny Talbot OBE (Prison Reform Trust).

 Photo (left to right): Jenny Talbot OBE, Lord Bradley, Prof Murphy, Dr Neil Sinclair and Dr Tania Tancred.
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Workshop – Supporting the development of PBS for young children

Dr Nick Gore is organising a one-day free workshop in London on 22nd May 2017.  “Positive Behavioural Support for Children and Young People with Learning and Developmental Disabilities – Roles, Needs and Strengths of Clinical Psychologists”

This is aimed at clinical psychologists who are working to deliver a PBS framework to children with learning disabilities or autism spectrum conditions.  Other lead professionals who are using PBS in similar ways are also encouraged to apply.

Please see the programme and full details of the day –  Free PBS Event 22nd May and application form.

If you would like further details or  to reserve a place please email Nick Gore (


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Tizard Learning Disability Review – call for submissions – Student section

Students are the future of service development and research. The Tizard Learning Disability Review (TLDR) is widely used in educational settings and we have published a number of articles based on work carried out by students. Nonetheless, students are often reluctant to submit their work for publication. They may be concerned, for example, about their work being rejected or receiving critical reviews. This is a shame. The new ideas and enthusiasm brought by students often mean that their work would be of great interest to others. Publishing success at the beginning of a professional or research career may be significant in terms of encouraging future work. The editorial board would like, therefore, to encourage the publication in TLDR of work carried out by students.

Initially, we seek submissions for an occasional “Student Section” of the journal. Articles of 2000-3000 words are sought which describe work carried out by student professionals or researchers. This might include those undertaking professional training in clinical psychology, nursing, social work, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, medicine, applied behaviour analysis and other relevant disciplines; existing professionals/practitioners undertaking courses related to their continuing professional development; and research students undertaking Master’s or PhD degrees.

For more details regarding student submissions:

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Its a knock out!

Rachel Forrester-Jones, Director, attended the Lions Club International event (East Kent)  on Sunday 2 May, on behalf of Tizard, who continue to sponsor the event.  Across the UK  the Lions hold an annual special day for those with profound intellectual and physical disabilities.  The East Kent group brought together 4 organisations: Turning Point, The John Graham Centre, SNAAP and Footprints to partake in It’s a Knock Out games. Individuals were accompanied by family and carers and had a great time including lunch, a disco and the essential medal awards ceremony.

Lions continue to be grateful for the support from the Tizard Centre and to Rachel for presenting the prizes.

“A totally worthwhile event – lots of different services there and the individuals with IDD who participated were clearly enjoying the day.  A very nice collaboration for Tizard” Rachel

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“Talking in Pictures”

This short film casts a satirical side-eye at the common stereotypes of autism. Created using photos sent in by local autistic adults including lots of UKC students in response to the question “what makes you happy?” The images sent in response to this deceptively simple question speak volumes about the depth and richness of autistic people’s lives. Suffused with joy, it challenges people to reassess the beliefs they hold about autism.

“Talking in Pictures” has been created by a Tizard Centre, Postgraduate student to coincide with World Autism Awareness Week (27 March to 2 April 2017).

Georgina Watts was awarded this year’s Patricia Collen prize for her innovative work in making this clip.


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