Portrait of Dr Ciara Padden

Dr Ciara Padden

Lecturer in Learning Disability
Director of Studies for the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis and MSc in Positive Behaviour Support


Ciara has a BA in Psychology from University College Dublin and a PhD in Applied Behaviour Analysis from the National University of Ireland, Galway. She is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA-D) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Research interests

Ciara is passionate about the use of evidence-based behavioural approaches to improve quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and for their carers/families through training and support. Her particular research interests are in skills teaching, supporting adolescents and adults with disabilities, and understanding the organisational context of behaviour change. 


Ciara is Director of Studies for the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis and MSc in Positive Behaviour Support (which are verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International towards the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® examination). She convenes several modules on these programmes, as well as contributing to teaching across the programmes. In the past, she has contributed to programme and module convening and teaching on other programmes at the Tizard Centre (eg, co-convenor of the MSc in Autism Studies; Director of Studies for the BSc in IDD). 

Ciara has a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority. 


Ciara currently supervises a number of PhD and MSc students whose work focuses on behavioural approaches to support for children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Ciara is currently the consultancy manager at the Tizard Centre. She is also actively involved in the Centre’s consultancy activities, particularly relating to behavioural support and staff training.


  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D)
  • External examiner for postgraduate psychology programmes at the University of South Wales 
  • UK-Society for Behaviour Analysis (served on the Board of Directors from 2017-19, and currently a member of the UK-SBA’s Credentialing Taskforce) 
  • Member of the Sharland Foundation Developmental Disabilities ABA Research & Impact Network (SF-DDARIN) and PBS Academy 
  • Trustee to Positive Behaviour Support for Learning
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