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Javier Virues-Ortega PhD, BCBA-D

Currently Not Accepting Students.

Current Position

Adjunct to the Psychology Department, University of Manitoba; Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Science, University of Auckland


1996-2000       M.A., University of Granada (Spain)
2000-2003       Advance Studies Diploma, University of Granada (Spain)
2003-2004       Visiting Scholar 2003-2004, University of Hawaii
2001-2004       Clinical Psychology Specialist, Health Ministry (Spain)
2004-2007       Ph.D., Universidad Rey Juan Carlos I (Spain)
2008               Visiting Scholar, University of Florida
2008               Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Behavior Analysis Certification Board
2010               EuroPsy, European Federation of Psychological Associations
2010-2014       Assistant professor, University of Manitoba
2010-2014       Researcher, St.Amant Research Centre
2012               Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Doctoral designation
2014-present    Adjunct professor, University of Manitoba
2014-present    Senior lecturer, University of Auckland

Research Focus:

Neural, behavioural and emotional effects of ABA treatment in children with developmental disabilities.

Aggressive, self-injurious, disruptive and stereotypic behaviours are major concerns for individuals with autism and their families. Developing procedures to assess and attenuate these forms of behaviour is highly beneficial to the individual s learning potential and to the quality of life of caregivers and family. Within this area, I have led an independent validation of a questionnaire assessing the motivation of problem behaviour in individuals with disabilities. This tool improves assessment efficiency and guides treatment design. The instrument will be distributed by Monaco & Associates in the United States and Canada. I have also been interested in the optimization of treatment strategies for individuals with disabilities. I have recently completed a study on the mechanisms of non-contingent reinforcement, a treatment for problem behaviour, and also a study on effective strategies to develop vocalizations and early social behaviours in infants at risk for developmental delays. From a more molar approach to intervention effectiveness, I have published this year a meta-analysis on early intensive behavioural intervention for autism at Clinical Psychology Review. Finally, one of my currently funded projects is analyzing the effects of behaviour-analytic intervention in brain plasticity in individuals with autism.

Knowledge Translation and Professional Development in Behaviour Analysis
Over the last decades a number of clinical trials have shown that early behavioural intervention is highly effective in improving academic, social and daily living skills of individuals with autism. However, the availability and public awareness of empirically-supported treatments is limited. I have been involved in a number of initiatives to disseminate empirically-supported interventions both by improving training opportunities for practitioners and by increasing public awareness. I have had the opportunity to work toward these goals as president of the Spanish affiliated chapter of the Association for Behaviour Analysis International, secretary of the European Association for Behaviour Analysis, member of the accreditation committee of the Spanish Psychological Association, and also as director of a course sequence approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.

Conceptual and Methodological Basis of Behaviour Analysis
One of my interests has been to expand behaviour analysis methodology. I have made contributions in the areas of experimental design in clinical settings, meta-analysis of behaviour-analytic literature, and analysis of behavioural factors in population-based studies. I have recently published methodological articles on experimental design at the International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology and the Journal of Behavioral Health and Medicine. In addition, I have been the recipient of the Juan Huarte Award of the Spanish Psychological Association for a study on the history and conceptual basis of psychological assessment.

I have been involved in various projects aimed at developing assessment tools for clinicians and researchers working with individuals with neurological diseases. I have recently published a study at Movement Disorders presenting the cross-cultural validation and optimization of an assessment tool for psychotic symptoms in individuals with Parkinsons disease. This instrument is now the only available for that purpose adapted to South American population. I have also conducted research on the assessment of motivational factors and treatment strategies to preserve behavioural functioning in individuals with dementia. I have also been part of two population-based studies focusing on the epidemiology of dementia and disability from the standpoint of the International Classification of Functioning and Disability (World Health Organization).