Symposium on Severe Behaviours of Concern

Event Details

Date: Wednesday 12 February 2020

Time: 9am – 5pm

Location: RMH Function and Convention Centre, 300 Grattan Street, Parkville VIC


A single day symposium with specialists in behaviour analysis, paediatric psychiatry, neurodevelopmental disorders and education. Keynote speakers, foremost specialists in their field, will deliver presentations across the day. It will provide unprecedented access to some of our country’s leading thinkers and will cater for teachers, allied health workers and doctors.

Keynote Speakers


9.00am – 10.30am - Dr Jose Molina

Severe behaviours such as aggression, self-injury, property destruction, pica, and elopement are common among young people with autism and other neuro-developmental disorders. These severe behaviours present a significant risk to individuals and their caregivers, particularly during behavioural crises. Behavioural crises occur when caregivers and services are no longer able to cope with an individual’s behavioural presentation due to an escalation of their behaviours of concern, changes in the capacity of caregivers and services to manage the existing behaviours, or a combination of both. This presentation will explore the nature of behavioural crises, examine the most common evidence-based crisis intervention strategies, and discuss the best-practice treatment models available.

10.30am – 10.45am Morning Tea

At 10.30am we’ll take a short 15 minute break to enjoy morning tea, all of which will be provided.

10.45am – 12.15am - Dr Erin Leif

The number of children diagnosed with severe behaviour disorders is rapidly rising, and many parents, teachers, and professionals report they struggle to adequately respond. Research consistently shows the most effective behaviour support strategies are those that are informed by a functional behaviour assessment, and emphasise the teaching of new skills. Dr Erin Leif is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education. She 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). Dr Leif will describe a strengths-based, skill-based approach for supporting children who display severe behaviours of concern.

12.15pm – 1.00pm Lunch

A 45 minute lunch break will be taken with catering provided.

1.00pm – 2.30pm - Safety and Behaviour Response (SABR) Demonstration

This session displays the use of behaviour intervention strategies. Learn how to prevent, manage, and de-escalate crisis situations associated with severe challenging behaviours.

Users are taught how to recognise and reduce the likelihood of crisis situations, implement appropriate de-escalation strategies, and take appropriate actions following crisis situations to minimise the probability of future crises.

2.30pm – 4.00pm - Dr Chidambaram Prakash

Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses have been increasing annually. As diagnoses rise and the prevalence of severe behaviours increase, there is a fundamental need for effective therapeutic and pharmacologic methods to prevent and treat aggression and to improve outcomes in this disorder. Dr Chidambaram Prakash is a pre-eminent thinker and practitioner in paediatric psychiatry and will describe the role of nuanced medication use in managing agitation and aggression.

4.00pm – 4.15pm Afternoon Tea

At 4pm we’ll take a short 15 minute break to enjoy afternoon tea.

4.15pm – 5.00pm -  Dr Jose Molina, Dr Erin Leif and Dr Prakash

The day will conclude with the 3 pre-eminent specialists in their field for a panel discussion and question and answer session providing rare access to leading experts on severe behaviours in Australia.

The Venue

The RMH Function and Convention Centre is conveniently located a short walking distance from the Melbourne Central Business District, cosmopolitan Lygon and Brunswick streets and other popular attractions. It is adjacent to the University of Melbourne and is just 20 minutes from Melbourne International Airport.


Who is this event for?

Anyone can attend the event but the content from the days symposium is at an advanced level and will be most useful for teachers, allied health workers, doctors and students.

Is any catering provided?

Yes, the day is fully catered. We’ll provide morning and afternoon tea as well as lunch.

Can I store my bag?

Please refrain from bringing your personal belongings to the conference venue where possible; only bring minimal items in a small bag. Attendees are responsible for their own personal possessions.

How many CPD hours will I obtain from attending the conference?

It is up to individual psychologists to assess how CPD events meet the requirements of their individual learning plan, please visit the APS website for further details.

When will I get my conference certificate of attendance?

A certificate of attendance will be sent by email to all attendees the week after the conference.

How do I get to the venue?

The RMH Function and Convention Centre is well served by public transport and taxis. There are a number of transport options available to get to the venue. For more details please check out the RMH website.

To access the RMH Function and Convention Centre please make sure you enter the Royal Melbourne Hospital via the Grattan Street entrance. Once you have entered the building stay on the ground level, walk past the information desk and the carers lifts and you will get to the RMH Function and Centre. If you get lost please make your way to the information desk and one of the friendly hospital staff who will be able to point you in the right direction.

Where do I register and get my name badge?

Please make your way to seminar room 1 and 2 between 8.00 – 8.45am. Our friendly staff will welcome you at the door, register your name and provide you with your name badge as well as the handout notes for the day.

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