The Giving Tree Foundation – Turning Autism Around bursaries are designed to fund a full year of ABA therapy as delivered by the UK Young Autism Project (UK YAP).

 MG 9211 sThe UK Young Autism Project work toward helping children with ASD and/or other related developmental delays reach their full potential through the provision of evidence-based treatment. Their primary aim is to work with young children and to help enhance their intellectual, academic, social and emotional skills. By working on these skills, the primary aim is to ensure that these children will be able to participate in educational and social opportunities as they grow within their communities, and to ensure that once they reach adulthood they require less professional attention. Since their establishment, UK YAP has conducted research into the effectiveness of early intervention and ABA therapy for children with ASD.


Research conducted by UK YAP about the effectiveness of ABA programmes has shown that with the correct application of ABA, a sizeable minority of children are able to achieve typical educational and intellectual functioning by the age of 7. Children on ABA programmes have been successfully integrated into mainstream classrooms and have successfully advanced through the schooling system without additional assistance. Children with ASD that have been given ABA therapy have shown significant increases in intellectual functioning, they perform within the normal ranges on standardised tests of intelligence, and appear to be indistinguishable from their peers in terms of emotional and social functioning. Finally it has been shown that although some children do not reach typical functioning with ABA, they still illustrate vast improvements in language and other important life skills, whilst simultaneously decreasing inappropriate behaviours.

UK YAP was established as part of the UCLA multi-site Young Autism Project, with the purpose of replicating the work of Professor Ivar Lovaas, in 1998. Prior to the establishment of UK-YAP, ABA was brought to the UK in 1994 by Diane Hayward, who at the time started working with children on the Spectrum under the guidance of consultants from the USA. As the first children to do ABA in the UK grew throughout the 1990s and displayed positive results, many consultants and various providers travelled to the UK, primarily from the U MG 9333 sSA and Norway, to help set up and run the programmes. Amongst them was Svein Eikeseth, who had worked for many years with Professor Lovaas in the USA. Diane Hayward, together with Svein Eikeseth worked toward the aim of bringing the gold standard of Professor Lovaas’ research to the UK.

For the first two years of its establishment, UK YAP operated within the charity PEACH and Brunel University. By 2000, PEACH and Brunel University were no longer able to sustain the project, and so Diane Hayward and Catherine Gale continued it as an independent project until 2011, in order to complete the first outcome study, which was published in 2009. During this time UK YAP, continued to materialise its vision, which is to provide highly supervised and fully staffed ABA programmes.

UK Young Autism Project started in the 1990s with very little money and even fewer resources. Gradually and systematically the company managed to grow to what it is today. It houses 50 employees, 11 publications, 2 members of staff completing higher degrees, and the ability to help up to 21 children with receiving high quality ABA programmes at any one time. Simultaneously, UK YAP organises and runs workshop programmes across the UK and abroad, and has provided a secure working environment, where its services cannot be disrupted.

In 2011 UK Young Autism Project became a Community Interest Company (C.I.C.), better reflecting the nature of the organisation as all their income is invested back into the work they do. Additionally, UK YAP became a division of the UK Behaviour Analysis and Research Group C.I.C., and is now working on developing services for client groups other than people with ASD. They also offer some funding for staff seeking to take higher degrees, and assist with securing further educational grants.

In the future, UK YAP wants to continue providing centre managed programmes to a standard of excellence, to support senior staff in obtaining higher degrees and professional qualifications, and to deliver ABA to a range of client groups, whilst working toward ABA becoming a treatment of choice. UK YAP also aims to continue to conduct and publish scientific, peer-reviewed research that enriches the knowledge of the medical community and provides some answers on how to successfully treat ASD.

For more information about UK YAP’s work click here