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Special needs staff member recognised

29 March 2010

A staff member of the Special Needs Service is to be recognised for his outstanding academic work at an international conference later this year.

Darren Bowring, a Senior Behavioural Advisor with the Intensive Behavioural Support Service, which is part of Health and Social Services, completed his Masters Degree in Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) with Bangor University, at The Wales Centre for Behavioural Analysis, earlier this year. He began working with the Special Needs Service (SNS) in 2003.

His thesis, 1 of over 2000 submissions, has been chosen to be presented to the 36th International Applied Behavioural Analysis Conference which takes place in San Antonio, Texas, in May. The conference is attended by more than 4000 people from more than 40 countries. Darren submitted the thesis for consideration at the suggestion of his tutor, Dr Sandy Toogood. The research was considered by a panel at the Association for Behaviour Analysis International, who deemed it worthy of a presenting slot at the conference.

Darren, who has worked with people with challenging behaviour for 17 years, said: 'I am delighted to attend the conference. It will be a great opportunity to listen to the latest research in behaviour analysis. To be able to present along side some of the researchers and authors my work has been influenced by will be excellent.'

Speaking about Darren’s achievement, Special Needs Service Manager Chris Dunne said "We are very proud of Darren and the huge amount of work he has put in to this great achievement. The invitation to present his thesis at the international conference is well deserved. His hard work not only benefits him, but the entire Special Needs Service too, who offer a fantastic service."

The Intensive Behavioural Support Service works with both children and adults who have extreme challenging behaviour and complex support needs. The Service provides a comprehensive functional assessment of their behaviour and a detailed intervention plan. The team consists of 3 people including Darren, Doc Snook and Emma Burns. In reviewing the service in 2008 Dr Toogood stated "the quality of the casework reviewed compared very favourably with best practice in person-centred behavioural approaches and was as good as could be found anywhere among the best peripatetic support services in the UK.”

Mr Dunne added "Darren’s qualification means that we now have 2 people in the team who are qualified to Masters level, the other being Doc Snook, who will also complete his Masters Degree in Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) in 2010. They are a small, hard working team who help to improve the quality of life of people with challenging behaviour, and the quality of life of their families, through their specialist skills."

Speaking about why he decided to undertake the qualification, Darren said: "I already had a Masters Degree (Med) in Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, from the University of Birmingham. I wanted to undertake a Masters Degree in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) as research has shown it to be the most clinically effective approach in understanding and responding to difficult behaviour. The MSc took 3 years with the University of Bangor. The taught modules and the research dissertation, completed within the Special Needs Service Day Service, all contributed to improve the quality of direct case work and service development."

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