Barrie O’Connor

Barrie O’Connor

CDS is pleased to announce Dr Barrie O’Connor continues as a consultant in his new role as Honorary Associate Professor to the Centre.  Barrie brings extensive teaching, research and consultancy experience in education and human services, having held appointments at QUT, Deakin and Griffith universities, and taught at Bond University and The University of Queensland. He was Director of the Institute of Disability Studies at Deakin (1999-2001). His research and consultancy includes work in New Zealand, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bangladesh. His collaborations with CDS since 2012 include data analysis and writing on several NGO projects, editing documentation for the CDS Breakfast series, teaching and marking in postgraduate courses, development of modules in the diploma program, and participation in Centre planning sessions.

In 2014, Barrie worked with a team comprising researchers from CDS, Auckland University and Griffith University developing a literature review on Supporting students with Autism Spectrum disorder and challenging behaviour within school settings. The project was undertaken for Stay Connected, The Social Justice Unit of UnitingCare Children Young People and Families (UnitingCare CYPF) and Disability Department. This was a timely project given the reported spike in public concerns about the condition and its perceived impacts on schools and family life. The comprehensive report explores theories that seek to explain both the condition and the approaches for working productively with students, from biomedical, psychodynamic and psycho-educational perspectives. Evidence-based practices identified to address challenging behaviour include social skills development (e.g., through modelling, video modelling, coaching, prompting, pivotal response training, peer mediated social learning, social stories, scripting and social menus) and individual communication support (e.g. visual supports and visual schedules linked to task completion and rhythm of the day, Power cards, Picture Exchange Communication System and Circle of Friends). Other approaches include case management, school staff support and training, family support and parent-implemented interventions. The report also explores approaches to measuring and assessing behaviour change, reviews a selection of instruments and critiques these approaches. The report has been well received by the agency, which has begun implementing approaches informed by the study.