What is EIBI & Why Choose It?
Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI) is the procedural technology that draws upon Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) research into the learning and behaviour of children with developmental disabilities (including Autism Spectrum Disorder – ASD).
It is often regarded as the most comprehensive and most effective evidence-based treatment currently available to these children and their families. It is characterized by the active engagement of the child for many hours per week (usually 20+) in a planned educational intervention
delivered primarily in direct 1:1 child–adult instruction, with specific goals derived from assessment results, manualized/operationalized instructional procedures, and a data collection system to facilitate progress and outcome measurement (Hepburn, 2013). In essence, EIBI is no more than careful, intensive and monitored teaching provided as early as possible in a child’s life.
The US National Institute of Mental Health states on their website that: “Applied behavior analysis … has become widely accepted as an effective treatment. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General states, ‘Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior and in increasing communication, learning, and appropriate social behavior (Department of Heath & Human Services, 1999).” In a review of research evidence for the effectiveness of 38 “treatments” for ASD, the US National Autism Center noted that “approximately two-thirds of the Established Treatments were developed exclusively from the behavioral literature (e.g., applied behavior analysis, behavioral psychology, and positive behavioral supports). Of the remaining one-third, 75% represent treatments for which research support comes predominantly from the behavioral literature” (National Autism Centre, 2009; p. 52). A similar report commissioned by the Australian government’s Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) concluded that EIBI was the only treatment approach that should be deemed eligible for funding by the Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) grant based on established research evidence (Prior, Roberts, Rodger & Williams, 2011).
Given the proven effectiveness of EIBI/ABA for children with a developmental disability and the rising incidence of ASD in many western countries, it is not surprising that:
- 37 of the 50 state governments in the US have mandated private insurance companies to cover the cost of only EIBI/ABA to serve the behavioural health needs of children with an ASD;
- a regulatory authority – The Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (BACB; see www.bacb.com) – was established in 1998 to protect consumers of ABA services worldwide by certifying Behaviour Analysts, and by establishing and disseminating professional standards;
- around 240 universities worldwide (including two in New Zealand) offer postgraduate degrees or diplomas that consist of BACB approved course sequences;
- various professional associations of behaviour analysts now operate internationally (e.g., Association of Professional Behaviour Analysts, The Association for Behaviour Analysis International); and
- the demand for EIBI/ABA provided by Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBAs) has increased substantially in Australia in recent years, and to the point where people now seek this service in the US.
In summary, “ABA is a well-developed discipline among the helping professions, with a mature body of scientific knowledge, established standards for evidence-based practice, distinct methods of service, recognized experience and educational requirements for practice, and identified sources of requisite education in universities” (BACB, 2015; http://www.bacb.com/index.php?page=2).