Magiko Sympan
Research and Intervention Centre for Children, Adolescents and Family
Dr Katerina Dounavi, BCBA-D
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Who we are?

Magiko Sympan Centre is dedicated to the support and improvement of the quality of life of children, young people and their families by providing evidence-based effective treatment.

Magiko Sympan is specialised in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) but also offers support to children, young people and adults with a wide range of difficulties, such as social skill deficits, communication and anxiety disorders.

Magiko Sympan is the first centre in Greece supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral level: BCBA-D) and is actively engaged in research.

Our methodology is based on the most up-to-date intervention methods with a scientifically proven effectiveness. We are specialised in teaching a wide range of skills, such as complex verbal, cognitive and social skills, and in managing behaviour problems. The design of the Individualized Educational Programmes (IEPs) we provide is based on the principles of Behaviour Analysis taking into account the Analysis of Verbal Behaviour as described by Skinner (1957) and further developed by other authors (e.g., Jack Michael), thus communication skills are taught in a functional way.

Behaviour Analysis is the science that studies human behaviour and learning, including skills of any type. It is a way of analyzing both simple and complex human behaviour, such as communication, feelings and cognitive processes. One of its characteristics is that it emphasizes on each separate individual and functionally describes the environmental variables that determine the specific behaviours under study. The vast amount of research data and the strong links between scientific theory and clinical practice make the science of Behaviour Analysis a powerful tool for the interpretation of individual behaviour and the elaboration of the appropriate methods for its modification, when necessary. The impact of Behaviour Analysis has been huge in all the fields it has been applied, from special education to business administration, and it has proven to be effective with individuals of different ages and with different needs, such as children with reading and writing problems, children with autism, adults with aphasia, smokers wishing to quit or women with over-weight.

The Analysis of Verbal Behaviour is based on the principles of Behaviour Analysis and it focuses on the function of language. This means that communication is examined and taught by identifying the causes or maintaining variables of each verbal response and by modifying the corresponding factors to achieve the most effective intervention. The terms and teaching procedures that we use are based on the most recent research studies. As research in the last years indicates, the Analysis of Verbal Behaviour and the related teaching procedures are a powerful tool for the development and improvement of language skills.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are our main focus. Our centre provides a wide range of services, to fulfill the needs of children and young people with Autism Spectrum Disorders independently of their developmental level. Applied Behaviour Analysis is the only comprehensive, effective and evidence based treatment for ASD, which means that its outcomes are proven through rigorous research and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The principles derived from the Analysis of Verbal Behaviour, Natural Environment Teaching (NET) and the elaboration of a comprehensive and individualized educational programme (IEP) are keys to the successful teaching and generalization of functional skills. According to research outcomes, an effective intervention for individuals with ASD should include the following components:

  • Be based on the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA): This is the key component of every quality therapeutical intervention and it means that evidence-based teaching procedures are used of whose effectiveness has been published in internationally recognised scientific journals specialised in Behaviour Analysis, such as the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA).
  • Be designed and supervised by appropriately trained behaviour analysts (e.g., BCBAs) and be applied by well trained therapists.
  • Be intensive and individualised: At least 25 hours per week of one-to-one intervention should be provided at the beginning.
  • Start early: Ideally, the intervention should start before the age of 4.
  • Other factors contribute to positive outcomes, such as the active participation of parents.

Dr Katerina Dounavi (BCBA-D) is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Behaviour Analysis and Autism at Queen’s University Belfast and the Deputy Director of the Centre for Behaviour Analysis at the same University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral Level (BCBA-D), the Clinical Director and Founder of Magiko Sympan Centre in Greece, the Senior Supervisor of the Melody Learning Center in Germany and the Senior Supervisor of Futuroschool Centre in Paris. She is a Doctor in Psychology (PhD) from the Complutense University of Madrid and the first Board Certified Behavior Analyst in Greece (Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral level, BCBA-D).

Katerina graduated with Honours from the Faculty of Psychology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and obtained a Master’s in Educational Psychology with Honours and a special distinction (Mención de Excelencia) at the Complutense University of Madrid. Afterwards, she completed the Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with an emphasis on Pervasive Developmental Disorders, being the first student of ABA Spain to pass the exam of the BACB, the organism that sets a number of international criteria for Behavior Analysts worldwide (Behaviour Analyst Certification Board, BACB). Following that, she completed cum laude her Doctorate in Psychology at the Complutense University of Madrid.

Katerina is an active researcher in the fields of behaviour analysis, evidence-based education, developmental disabilities including autism, language and values-driven professional training. She has published her research in key scientific journals, has served as an invited speaker in international conferences and has presented her studies in numerous occasions in scientific events across the world. Katerina uses this up-to-date knowledge to inform the design of individualized educational programmes for children, adolescents and their families to achieve best outcomes.

In the last 18 years, Katerina has worked with numerous children, adolescents and their families, designing and implementing their intervention programmes and overseeing their inclusion in different settings, such as schools, day centres, outdoor activities and home-based programmes. She has also worked at the Down Syndrome Foundation of Madrid (FSDM), has supervised family groups and has trained other professionals (e.g., Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Special Education Teachers, Teachers, Professors in Primary and Secondary Schools, etc.) in several schools in Madrid, as a member of the Preventive Psychology Unit of the Complutense University of Madrid. While working in programmes funded by the Local Authorities in the United Kingdom, she has conducted assessments and designed educational programmes for children with special needs and has trained other professionals on how to effectively implement them. Currently, she is the Director of the Master’s in Applied Behaviour Analysis, while she also teaches in the Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorders at Queen’s University Belfast. She is also actively involved in the training of professionals and the provision of quality services to families in several countries across the globe (e.g., Greece, Spain, France, Germany, UK, Holland, Puerto Rico) and she is a supervisor of ABA Spain, overviewing the practicum at distance of students doing the Master’s Degree in ABA and Autism.

  • Contact us by sending an e-mail to or calling us at 0030-6978 17 18 48.
  • Follow us on Facebook, read our news on LinkedIn or have a video-conference with us through Skype.
  • If you are interested in being a part of our team, submit your CV and we will contact you once a post arises.
  • Professionals or students familiar with behaviour-analytic literature and wishing to volunteer for a few hours of work per month will be responsible for writing the summary of scientific articles in Behaviour Analysis. A certificate for contribution will be provided.
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