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Sharland Foundation Research and Impact Network

The Sharland Foundation Developmental Disabilities ABA Research and Impact Network (SF-DDARIN) is funded by the Sharland Foundation and is in collaboration with Bangor University, Ulster University and the University of Kent.

The primary objective of SF-DDARIN is to increase the reach and impact of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) based interventions for children and adults with developmental disabilities (including intellectual disabilities and/or autism) to support their independence and increased quality of life.

ABA practices in the care of individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as more broadly, are becoming nationally recognised. ABA intervention approaches and its components have been included as recommended practices in at least eight guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE) including Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Parent Training, Obesity, Dementia, ASD in adults, the management of ASD in children, and Challenging Behaviour.

In the realm of education, the Education Endowment Foundation toolkit summarises the evidence for interventions. It gives behavioural interventions a rating of 4 out of 5 based on “evidence strength”.

Despite this apparent good news for ABA, negative attitudes towards and misinformation about ABA abound in the UK. In the developmental disabilities field, there is also a significant lack of high quality research that will be recognised as providing strong evidence for ABA interventions. This is mainly due to a lack of randomised controlled trial (RCT) evaluations of ABA interventions, and a lack of attention to evidence summary/synthesis methods such as systematic review and meta-analysis.

The SF-DDARIN brings together an extended network of like-minded research practitioners, and facilitates potential areas of collaboration to address this lack of research and to make ABA more accessible.

Click here for more information on the 'SF-DDARIN' webpage