Personal profile


My approach to the discipline of Psychology is very applied but also essentially science-based. My primary motivation is to improve people’s lives to the benefit of the individuals concerned as well as society as a whole. This motivation has led me increasingly towards behaviour analysis. Today my work is mostly situated in that paradigm; an essentially optimistic one, where a base assumption is that behaviour is determined by environmental events and can change.

This approach is highly relevant today in many areas of life, including health, sports psychology, addressing addictive behaviour, addressing ecological and environmental challenges, and improving educational outcomes. It is perhaps best known for the highly effective interventions for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and for the development of successful teaching approaches and effective behaviour management procedures based on a functional approach of behaviour. Behaviour analysis underpins recognised evidence based approaches that are now seeing wide implementation, such as positive behaviour support (PBS). One of my primary personal goals therefore is to advance and promote behaviour analysis in Australia.

Behaviour analysis is a young science and has seen much development in recent years, including the development of specific professional credentials in behaviour analysis: Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). This professional credential is administered by the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (BACB) internationally (see

One of my teaching-related aspirations is to establish a course sequence at a University in Australia leading to the BACB credential. As one of only 42 Board-certified behavior analysts (BCBA)  and one of only six BCBA-D (Board-certified behavior analysts – doctoral designation) in Australia  I am well positioned to do this. I have also just been appointed to the position of Director (international) on the BACB board. 


Research interests

My teaching and research interests are closely aligned.

My primary research interest are in developing and trialing behavioural interventions for individual with additional learning needs or developmental disabilities. I am particularly interested in interventions for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that can be implemented effectively in low-resource environments, interventions such as self-management and video-modeling.

In recent years this work has expanded to include interventions to increase employment opportunities for adults with ASD. Diagnoses of ASD in childhood are increasing; one in 68 is currently understood to have this condition. As growing numbers of these individuals approach adulthood, how best to support them in this phase of their lives is a critical issue. Employment levels for adults with ASD are poor, generally lower for example than those of individuals with other kinds of disability.

Behaviours of concern are a major barrier to participation and inclusion for many individuals with disabilities, especially those with ASD. I am therefore also pursuing research to promote evidence-based practices in this regard specifically in addressing implementation barriers in Functional Behavioural Assessments (FBA) in schools.

FBA are integral to school-wide positive behaviour support, accepted as ‘best practice’ but rarely implemented properly. Some implementation barriers are specific to schools.  Current research focuses on efficient FBA approaches to address implementation barriers. So far little of this research occurs in schools. 


External positions

Director, Behavior Analyst Certification Board

5 Aug 20165 Aug 2019


  • Applied Behaviour Analysis
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Functional Behavioural Assessment (FBA)
  • Video modeling
  • Self management

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2007 2013

Research Output 2000 2018

Comparing the effectiveness of virtual reality and video modelling as an intervention strategy for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Brief report

Fitzgerald, E., Yap, H. K., Ashton, C., Moore, D. W., Furlonger, B., Anderson, A., Kickbush, R., Donald, J., Busacca, M. & English, D. L. 3 Apr 2018 In : Developmental Neurorehabilitation. 21, 3, p. 197-201 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

A randomised controlled trial of an iPad-based application to complement early behavioural intervention in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Whitehouse, A. J. O., Granich, J., Alvaares, G., Busacca, M., Cooper, M. N., Dass, A., Duong, T., Harper, R., Marshall, W., Richdale, A., Rodwell, T., Trembath, D., Vellanki, P., Moore, D. W. & Anderson, A. 1 Sep 2017 In : Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 58, 9, p. 1042-1052 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Australasian Society of Intellectual Disability (ASID) Australasian Research Award 2013

Fiona Stephanie May (Recipient), Louise Anne McLean (Recipient), Angelika Anderson (Recipient), Alan Hudson (Recipient), Christine Cameron (Recipient) & Jan Matthews (Recipient), 7 Nov 2013

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)