While there is the element of time when trying to make an informed decision regarding early intervention, we urge you to consider all of the following information provided. All of the information is objective and intended to give you a basis for comparison.

What is Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI)?

A therapy that uses systematic methods derived from principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis to promote development and change behaviour. This therapy is intensive and typically involves between 20 and 40 hours of direct 1:1 service per week. Sometimes the terms IBI and ABA are used interchangeably when in fact that is not the case. IBI is an intensive intervention (intensity in this case being the measure of time per week that the intervention is used), while ABA is an applied science based on the scientific study of principles of operant and respondent conditioning. IBI is a comprehensive early intervention used with individuals with an ASD. IBI can take place in most settings (i.e., home, centre, school or daycare) and is one-to-one instruction. Each program is individualized and based on each child’s needs. In order to determine the specific needs of each child, an assessment will be conducted prior to the development of a program.

What is the importance of choosing an Evidence-based intervention?

When choosing an intervention for your child, it is crucial to understand the importance of choosing an Evidence-based intervention. ‘Evidence-based’ means that there is scientific evidence that the effectiveness of an intervention has been studied extensively and that the results of those studies have been peer-reviewed and published. The guidelines for Evidencebased treatment should address treatment efficacy, generalization and practicality in real world settings. In other words; if your chosen method of intervention is only successful in one environment, it should not be considered successful.

What is essential for IBI to be successful?

In order for an IBI program to be successful, the following ingredients are necessary:

  1. Start your child’s therapy as early as possible
    • Studies have shown that children who have begun IBI between the ages of two and four years of age show the most gains
    • Research shows early intervention can produce lasting neurobiological and behavioural changes
  2. The intensity of the intervention (In order for behaviour intervention to be considered intensive, the number of hours should be between 20 and 40 hours per week)
  3. The use of behaviour analytic approaches
    • ABA approaches such as reinforcement, prompting and fading, task analysis, shaping and error correction should be used
    • Target behaviours must be socially significant to each individual

What is the purpose of IBI?

The primary purpose of Intensive Behavioural Intervention is to positively affect a child with ASD’s rate of development; otherwise known as developmental trajectory. Each child’s developmental trajectory is different, as each child’s ability to acquire new skills varies. Typically developing children or “neuro-typical” children generally learn at a rate that matches their chronological age; however this is not the case for children with ASDs. Typical learners acquire skills incidentally from their natural environments; this is also not always the case with children with ASDs. In order to promote quicker skill acquisition, skills are taught using the principles of ABA which includes breaking skills down to their simplest elements and using DTT for repetitive teaching. IBI also helps learners with ASDs change their behaviour. By using analytic approaches such as functional behavioural assessments, reinforcement and error correction in an IBI program, these target behaviours can be modified. The Village uses evidence-based interventions to assist learners with ASDs change their behaviours and learn new skills. We hope that you feel that you have been equipped with enough knowledge to make an informed decision regarding your child’s treatment!

Terms & Definitions

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Not a formal diagnostic classification, ASD is used to refer to any disorder in the array of pervasive developmental disorders including Autism, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Hyperlexia, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.


A developmental disorder characterized by marked difficulty in communication and social relations and by the presence of atypical behaviours such as unusual responses to sensation, repetitive movements and insistence of routine and sameness.

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)

An applied science that develops methods of changing behaviour and is a profession that provides services to meet diverse behavioural needs. It is based on the scientific study of principles of operant and respondent conditioning and interventions using these principles have been proven effective for individuals with Autism.

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI)

A therapy that uses systematic methods derived from principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis to promote development and change behaviour. This therapy is intensive and typically involves between 20 and 40 hours of direct 1:1 service per week.

Discrete Trial Training (DTT)

An instructional strategy to teach children with Autism or other Pervasive Developmental Disorders that emphasizes distinct and repeated practice of correct responding to a signal, followed directly by reinforcement. A single trial is defined as a signal, the child’s response and the consequent feedback and is discrete because it has a clear beginning and a clear end.

Verbal Behaviour (VB)

A term first introduced by B.F. Skinner (1938) for any behaviour (vocal, written, gestural, and other) that achieves its reinforcement through the mediation of another person’s behaviour. Expressive language is seen as a behaviour that can be taught and each function of the of the word is taught explicitly.

Natural Environment Teaching (NET)

Teaching in an everyday setting in the home or community that includes routines and activities for individuals and their families, such as mealtime, interacting and shopping. NET uses structured learning situations in familiar settings allowing increased opportunity for generalization of skills.

Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills- Revised (ABLLS-R)

An assessment, curriculum guide, and skills tracking system for use with children who have autism or other developmental disabilities. It allows you to identify deficiencies in language, academic, self-help, and motor skills and then implement and monitor individualized intervention.

The Verbal Behaviour Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP)

A criterion-referenced assessment tool, curriculum guide, and skill tracking system that is designed for children with Autism, and other individuals who demonstrate language delays. The VB-MAPP is based on B.F. Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behavior, established developmental milestones, and research from the field of Behavior Analysis.


Care to individuals with a developmental disorder provided in their home, community or at the centre of a service provider in order to provide temporary relief to their caregivers.

Source: Neisworth, J.T. and Wolfe, P.S. (2005). The Autism Encyclopedia. York, PA; Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc.