Dr. Sigmund ELDEVIK is a Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychology at Oslo and Akershus University College and is also the Clinical Director at the Centre for Early Intervention in Oslo, Norway. His research interests are in early intervention for children with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Sigmund ELDEVIK: ”Even if you have a BCBA, you are not necessarily qualified to do early intervention”.
You are a psychologist, ABA specialist, associate professor, supervisor and researcher. What can you tell us about your career?
My first contact to the field was when I started Psychology at the University of Olso, back in 1989. So we were just in a classroom and a guy came in and he circulated a paper about he was going to start a replication project of the Lovaas 1987 study and he needed students to help them with that. Me and some friends seemed to be the only ones interested so we said, ”let’s sign up and see what this is about!” And since then I got in this field. So, we started a replication project at the University of Oslo and then when I graduated in 1993, I checked this type of work on to specialists health services which is called “rehabilitation services” in our way, and I could do wherever I want essentialy, so I continued to do this type of intervention, we also did research so we started research projects about to the facts of intervention.
Here we arrive at the 5th edition of the ABA International Conference. What is the importance of such an event in autism spectrum disorder?
I am not so familiar with how the things in Romania work, but hopefully you can inspire students, professionals to study Applied Behaviour Analysis, to look into the evidence, to check what really has a strong documentation behind, to learn how to apply the findings and do the necessary training. So, I think you are more than capable to start your own research at to published it, to appear in journals, to attend conferences in other countries, to present your findings and so on.
Theme presentation that you approached was “Analysis and expansion of Evidence-Based Behavioral Interventions for children with autism”. Please tell us the main idea of the this session that you have facilitated.
I think the main idea is to show that the early intensive behaviour interventions of today is to approach that it should be an interactional choice. So, it’s not related only to students but also to stakeholders, politicians and interns companies.
Please explain what do you think about ABA-autism association terms.
I think it might be a common problem that a lot of people confuse ABA with early intensive beahaviour intervention. But really early intensive behaviour intervention is just a branch of applied behaviour or ABA. So, like all applied branches we are nearly applying the principles, the techniques that you have on certain population children with autism.
Accreditation therapists represents a guarantee of the professionals in field?
It’s a question or a affirmation?
It’s a question. What do you think about?
I think it’s a very good ideea. It’s not a guarantee that the professionals has the necessary competences far from it, it‘s just a sign new it, it’s a minimum set of skills of standards that you have the document then you will get the certification. But it’s not specific for early intervention. Even if you have a BCBA, you are not necessarily qualified to do early intervention. Most people who have a BCBA and let’s say that they are new in the early intervention field they have to do a lot of additional training or they can be supervised in a early intervention programmes.
When can one say about a child with autism that is recovered?
Well, that’s a difficult question. Mainly, you can use to analyze criteria if you do in order assessment and you see that his behaviour isn’t no longer in the connection with the criteria to get the diagnosis, you can say that a child is recovered but, at the same time, he is likely to have problems because as you know, the autism diagnosis is permanent. So, just casing the point when you are not eligible for a diagnosis it doesn’t mean as assurely that you have no more problems.
Autism Connect is the largest online platform of information and inter-connection of parents of children with autism with specialists in field. What message do you want to send those who read us?
Look at the evidence, look at the research, go for what has documentation and be attentive!
Thank you very much!
* Interview by Elena UNGUREANU, psychologist