Episode 148: Behaviour Analysis in First Nation Communities of Australia


In  Episode 148,  Ben chats with Deb Fernando, who is quite possibly the only Indigenous behaviour analyst in all of Australia.  Deb is a proud Bigambul, Gomeroi woman with strong connections to far northwest NSW within the Gamilaraay language nation. She has 30 years’ experience working with First Nations communities throughout Australia, including urban, rural, and remote locations.

Deb started her career as a chef then worked in government organisation troubleshooting major problems in servicing First Nations people in remote communities.

She then went on to work with the University of South Australia where her team of researchers received the Vice Chancellors award for excellence in engaging in communities. Moving from SA back to New South Wales she began working with the SAX institute as the Study manager to progress their First Nations child health research project in urban and rural children’s health. Within a short time, they established the project in five major Aboriginal Medical services, which identified the gaps in services to First Nations children within these areas. One highlight was establishing ongoing specialized services such as hearing and speech therapy for First Nations families.
At the age of 50 Deb embarked on my academic career completing my BA and Honors in psychological science at Southern Cross University, continuing her studies in 2020 she completed a Master’s in Education in Applied Behavioural Analysis at Monash University. Whilst studying she started to work as a positive behavioural therapist practitioner with The Center for Positive Behavioural support where she held a position as a Behavioural support practitioner.
Over the years Deb has been looking and searching for the most appropriate services for First Nations peoples to assist in closing the gap between First Nations people and Non-First Nations peoples.  Deb has a passion for applied behaviour analysis and therapies that take a holistic approach to addressing the needs of First Nations families.
Due to the impacts of cultural loading, she received over her working career she ended her journey of working for others and started her own business “FeatherWay Road”. Here Deb collaborates with families to establish an environment where everyone feels included, supported, and empowered. Working with neurodiverse children, she embraces their unique strengths, their culture, and challenges to cultivate an inclusive and supportive learning environment.  ABA has been one of the many highlights of her academic career. I have seen and experienced the solid sustainable results this has on families and individuals.

Continuing Education Credits (https://www.cbiconsultants.com/shop)

BACB: 2,0 Learning
IBAO: 2.0 Cultural
QABA: 2.0  DEI


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