Dr Sarah Ann Leadley

BSc (Hons), MSc (Hons), PGDippAppPsych, PhD

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Lecturer ABA


Kia ora.  I graduated from the Applied Behaviour Analysis programme in 2008, and have since worked as a Psychologist and Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) in NZ and Canada (2010-2014). In Canada I provided home and school-based behavioural services to children with disabilities.  During this time, I became interested in the treatment of child feeding difficulties, involving close collaboration with other health professionals.  I relocated back to New Zealand to complete a PhD in this area, finishing in 2017.  After maternity leave I have returned to a part-time lecturing position, and I also provide private behavioural services for children with feeding difficulties.  Further info here: https://www.allyoucaneatkids.co.nz/

Research | Current

My PhD was passed in 2018.  My research study focused on behavioural services (tube weaning) provided in the home for children with severe feeding difficulties (tube dependency). This study involved intensive involvement with caregivers and collaboration with other health professionals.  The study was funded by a University of Auckland Senior Health Research Scholarship

A research summary report and presentations are available here https://www.allyoucaneatkids.co.nz/research

My research interests include the prevention and treatment of childhood feeding difficulties, particularly for children with disabilities.  In addition, I am interested in interventions provided in homes or schools for children with challenging behaviour.

Current research projects include:

- Practical mealtime strategies to increase food variety in preschool children with fussy eating - Provided in homes.  Families may get in touch directly if they are interested in participating.  This study is currently full for 2020, but please make contact if you are interested in participaing in 2021.

- Ready to Eat: Behavioural interventions to transition children from tube to oral feeding (Tube Weaning).  This study is conducted in family homes within the Waitemata and Counties Manukau DHB areas.  It involves an intensive period of home-based feeding intervention, followed by training for parents to continue to run meals with their child.  Children must be at least 1 year old, and are referred to the intervention by their health professionals.  Further information can be obtained by contacting me.   The project is funded by AMP Scholarships and a Kate Edgar Postdoctoral Award.  

Postgraduate supervision

I supervise students in the first and second year (Masters) of the ABA programme


BSc and MSc - First Class honors

Registered Psychologist, Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (2008)

University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship (2014)

Univeristy of Auckland Senior Health Research Scholarship (2015)

AMP National Scholarship (2018)

Kate Edgar Postdoctoral Award (2019)

Journal of Pediatric Psychology: Diane J. Willis Article of the Year Award (2019).  

Areas of expertise

Applied Behaviour Analysis

Behavioural assessment and treatment

Challenging behaviour

Childhood feeding difficulties

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Clinical Reference Group Member - National Clinical Network for infants and children that experience prolonged enteral feeding

Coordinator of monthly Behaviour Analyst meetings and continuing education events

Autism NZ Expert Panel

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Taylor, S., Purdy, S. C., Jackson, B., Phillip, K., & Virues-Ortega, J. (2019). Evaluation of a Home-Based Behavioral Treatment Model for Children With Tube Dependency. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 44 (6), 656-668. 10.1093/jpepsy/jsz014
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/48314
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Suzanne Purdy, Bianca Jackson, Katrina Phillips
  • Taylor, S. A., Virues-Ortega, J., & Anderson, R. (2019). Transitioning children from tube to oral feeding: a systematic review of current treatment approaches. Speech, Language and Hearing10.1080/2050571X.2019.1684068
  • Taylor, S. A., Phillips, K. J., & Gertzog, M. G. (2018). Use of synthesized analysis and informed treatment to promote school reintegration. BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTIONS, 33 (4), 364-379. 10.1002/bin.1640
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Katrina Phillips
  • Leadley, S. A. (2018). Evaluation of a Home-Based Behavioural Assessment and Treatment Model for Transitioning Children from Tube to Oral Feeding The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/37345
  • Taylor, S. A., & Mudford, O. C. (2012). IMPROVING BEHAVIOR IN A RESIDENTIAL SERVICE FOR YOUTH IN DRUG AND ALCOHOL REHABILITATION. Behavioral Interventions, 27 (3), 109-128. 10.1002/bin.1342
  • Taylor, S. A., Mudford, O. C., & Phillips, K. J. (2011). Training employment acquisition skills for adolescents with a substance abuse history. Behavioral Interventions, 26 (4), 282-308. 10.1002/bin.338
  • Taylor, S. A., Mudford, O. C., & Phillips, K. J. (2011). Training employment acquisition skills for adolescents with a substance abuse history. Behavioral Interventions: theory and practice in residential and community-based clinical programs, 26 (4), 282-308. 10.1002/bin.338
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Katrina Phillips
  • Taylor, S. A., Anderson, K., & Mudford, O. C. (2010). Effects of textual response prompts for adolescents in a substance abuse treatment program. Behavioral Interventions, 25 (2), 145-155. 10.1002/bin.303


Contact details

Alternative contact


Office hours

On campus on Mondays

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 2, Room 254
New Zealand

Social links

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