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Personal profile



 Dr Erin Leif is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education. She obtained her PhD in Behaviour Analysis from Western New England University (Springfield Massachusetts) in 2012. Since 2003, Erin has held various clinic appointments at internationally-recognised organisations providing applied behaviour analytic education and treatment to children with autism and related conditions, including the New England Center for Children (Boston and Abu Dhabi) and the Lizard Centre (Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide Australia). In 2018, Erin joined the faculty at Monash University, where she currently works in the Educational Psychology and Inclusive Education academic community.

 Clinical Interests 

 Erin has adopted an applied behaviour analytic framework to guide her research and clinical practice because it is hopeful and optimistic - it assumes that every person, regardless of diagnosis, is capable of learning new skills and becoming a more independent and happy member of society. Erin specialises in the design and delivery of early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI) and in functional assessment and treatment of severe behaviours of concern (such as aggression and self-injury). Her approach to EIBI and behavioural treatment is skill-based; designing individualised programs that focus on teaching functional and fundamental life skills, including communication, learning to learn and listening skills, social responsiveness, play and leisure, and toleration. 

Research Interests

Erin is currently interested in research evaluating effective tactics for training scientistic-practitioners to engage in evidence-based practice in real world settings. She is particularly interested in creating engaging, accessible, and inclusive online learning spaces in higher education, using the principles of applied behaviour analysis and universal design for learning. She is also interested in the intersection of behaviour analysis and technology, including mobile-application-based data collection and data analysis, and the use of artificial intelligence to support data-based decision-making in clinical settings. She is also interested in exploring the social validity of behaviour analytic interventions; specifically, how behaviour analysts can engage in culturally-sensitive evidence based practice, and individualise teaching methods and interventions to reflect the values, preferences, goals, and aspirations of the direct recipient of services. Erin is also interested in developing qualitative and quantitative methods for assessing the ways in which the provision of contemporary applied behaviour analytic educational and behaviour support services improves quality of life, well-being, and social inclusion for individuals with autism, intellectual disability, and related conditions.

Teaching Committments  

Erin joined the Faculty of Education at Monash in 2018 to coordinate the Master of Education in Applied Behaviour Analysis program. Applied behaviour analysis offers a comprehensive framework for both discovering and understanding the environmental variables that influence socially significant behaviours, and developing an effective technology for helping people overcome problems and become more independent, productive and happy members of society. This course will give students foundational knowledge in the scientific discipline of Applied Behaviour Analysis, and how to translate and apply this science in practice in real-world settings with diverse populations, including individuals with additional learning needs and behaviours of concern. This course may appeal to students with diverse backgrounds, and may be particularly well-suited to students who wish to further their studies in education, inclusive/special education, educational leadership, or psychology. 

This unique course provides a pathway for students who wish to become Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBAs), and has been verified by the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board as meeting the faculty and course content requirements. This is the first (and only) verified course sequence in Australia. 

Erin currently serves as Cheif Examiner and Unit Coordinator for the following units:

  • EDF5680 Behaviour Analysis: Concepts and Foundations
  • EDF5681 Behaviour Analysis: Implementation and Experimental Methods
  • EDF5682 Behaviour Analysis in Diverse Contexts

Professional Service and Community Engagement

Erin is currently on the Board of Directors for the Association for Science in Autism Treatment. In this role, she coordinates efforts to identify and respond to accurate and inaccurate portrayals of autism and its treatment in the media, through the association's Media Watch initiative.

Erin is also a member of the Board of the Autism Behavioural Intervention Association, an Australian peak body for autism and evidence-based education and behaviour support.  

Erin is also chair of the Victorian Department of Education and Training's Functional Behaviour Assessment working group, the purpose of which is to share information about best practice in the assessment and treatment of behaviours of concern displayed by children in Victorian schools. 

Erin is currently a full professional member of the Association for Behaviour Analysis International, the Association for Professional Behaviour Analysts, the Association for Behaviour Analysis Australia, and the Australia and New Zealand Chapter of the Association for Contextual Behaviour Science. She has served as a guest reviewer for the Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis, The Australian Psychologist, the Australasian Journal of Special and Inclusive Education, and Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention. 

Research area keywords

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Applied Behaviour Analysis
  • Functional Behavioural Assessment (FBA)
  • Function-Based Treatment
  • Severe Problem Behaviour
  • Verbal Behaviour
  • Single Subject Research Design
  • Positive Behaviour Support
  • Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention
  • Within-Subject Research Design
  • Social Validity
  • Treatment Acceptability
  • Dissemination

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Projects 2019 2019