Autism Research

The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research    (ICAN) at NUI Galway seeks to provide better outcomes for autistic children and their families. Photo of NUI Galway lighting up the Quandrangle in blue for World Autism Awareness Day in 2012. 

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It is estimated that 1 in 110 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism. For boys, the incidence is 1 in 70.  In Ireland, it is believed that the prevalence of autism is just as high but the resources available for research, professional training and community outreach services do not begin to meet the overwhelming need.

In 2006, the School of Psychology at NUI Galway offered its first Masters program in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), designed to provide professional training to students seeking careers in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. Since the introduction of this program, 55 students have graduated and are working throughout Ireland as autism treatment specialists, family support workers and consultants to schools and educational programs that serve children with autism diagnoses.

Because of the success of the Masters program, the University now offers a PhD in Applied Behavioral Analysis, training graduates to work as certified practitioners, researchers and educators. Through expansion and further development of this Centre, NUI Galway has the opportunity to become a leading centre for education, research and advocacy in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

ICAN at NUI Galway provides high level professional education and training for practitioners in the management and care of persons with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities, promotes the scientist practitioner model of professional practice, which ensures integration at all levels of education and training, including the academic, practice, and research aspects of ABA; and is committed to developing and disseminating the science of ABA, thereby ensuring delivery of the best possible outcomes for individuals with ASD. It also makes an important contribution to autistic children as each student is required to complete 1,000 hours in practice placement over two years.

Additional investment at this time in the NUI Galway programmes in ABA, will allow: expansion of student numbers in the existing MSc and PhD programmes, thereby radically expediting the growth in expertise of ABA in Ireland; the introduction of a new Certificate programme that will provide education and training in ABA to parents, care-workers, and special needs assistants;

The Centre to serve as a hub for the provision of outreach services to practitioners and parents in the wider community.

For further information on ICAN, please contact Catherine Conroy or telephone +353 91 492972.