Description: Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention or Treatment (EIBI or EIBT) consists of 20-40 hours per week of individualized instruction for children with autism who begin treatment at the age of four years or younger and who usually continue for 2-3 years. The UCLA Model (see below) is one EIBI model and emphasizes instruction at home with discrete trial training (see above). Other models provide instruction in classrooms; some emphasize teaching methods other than discrete trial training, such as incidental teaching.
Research Summary: A number of scientific studies indicate that EIBI may produce large gains in development and reductions in the need for special services. However, because studies have involved small numbers of participants and have had other design limitations, there is a need for large studies of this intervention with strong experimental designs.
Recommendations: Overall, EIBI is a highly promising intervention with considerable scientific support. Additional research is needed with larger samples to examine variables such as intensity and duration. Because of the promise of this approach, professionals and families may wish to obtain additional information about it; resources are listed in the references below.
Selected scientific studies (see also UCLA Treatment)
Shinall, J., & LaRue, R. H. (2019). Research synopsis: Community implementation of early behavioral intervention: Higher intensity gives better outcome. Science in Autism Treatment, 16(12).
Howard, J. S., Sparkman, C. R., Cohen, H. G., Green, G., & Stanislaw, H. (2005). A comparison of intensive behavior analytic and eclectic treatments for young children with autism. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 26, 359-383.
Leaf, R. B., Taubman, M. T., McEachin, J. J., Leaf, J. B., & Tsuji, K. H. (2011). A program description of a community-based intensive behavioral intervention program for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Education and Treatment of Children, 34, 259-285.
Lovaas, O. I. (1987). Behavioral treatment and normal educational and intellectual functioning in young autistic children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 3-9.
Sallows, G. O., & Graupner, T. D. (2005). Intensive behavioral treatment for children with autism: Four-year outcome and predictors. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 110, 417-438.
Systematic reviews of scientific studies:
Eikeseth, S. (2008). Outcome of comprehensive psych-educational interventions for young children with autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 30(1), 158-178.
Eldevik, S., Hastings, R. P., Hughes, J. C., Jahr, E., Eikeseth, S., & Cross, S. (2009). Meta-analysis of early intensive behavioral intervention for children with autism. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 38, 439-450.
Eldevik, S., Hastings, R. P., Hughes, J. C., Jahr, E., Eikeseth, S., & Cross, S. (2010). Using participant data to extend the evidence base for intensive behavioral intervention for children with autism. American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 115, 381-405.
Howlin, P., Magiati, I., & Charman, T. (2009). Systematic review of early intensive behavioral interventions for children with autism. American Journal on Intellectual Disabilities, 114, 23-41.
Odom, S. L., Boyd, B. A., & Hall, L. J. (2010). Evaluation of comprehensive treatment models for children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40, 425-436.
Rogers, S. J., & Vismara, L. A. (2008). Evidence-based comprehensive treatments for early autism. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37, 8-38.
Warren, Z., McPheeters, M. L., Sathe, N., Foss-Feig, J. H., Glasser, A., & Veenstra-VanderWeele, J. (2011). A systematic review of early intensive intervention for autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics, 127(5), e1303-e1311.
For additional information:
Harris, S. L., & Handleman, J. S. (2001). Preschool education programs for children with autism (2nd ed.), pp. 23-39. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
Harris, S. L., & Weiss, M. J. (2007). Right from the start: Behavioral intervention for young children with autism (2nd ed.). Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House.
Maurice, C., Green, G., & Luce, S. L. (1996). Behavioral intervention for young children with autism: A manual for parents and professionals. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
Maurice, C., Green, G., & Foxx, R. (2001). Making a difference: Behavioral intervention for autism. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
Comments on Spreckley and Boyd (2009). Efficacy of applied behavioral intervention in preschool children with autism for improving cognitive, language, and adaptive behavior: A systematic review and meta-analysis.