What is Intensive Behavioural Intervention?

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) is based on the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). The program promotes learning, skill development and behaviour change by breaking tasks into small steps that are easier to learn. As children learn each step, they’re praised and rewarded. Difficult behaviour is ignored when it happens.

The Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) Ontario program isn’t currently available in Australia. But it’s based on Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Discrete Trial Training (DTT) and the Lovaas Program. Programs based on these principles and models are available in Australia.

Who is Intensive Behavioural Intervention for?

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) is used with preschool-age children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

What is Intensive Behavioural Intervention used for?

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) is used to help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) learn appropriate behaviour, which takes the place of difficult behaviour. It also helps children learn to imitate, focus their attention more, improve their understanding and use of language, and develop their play and daily living skills (like brushing teeth).

Where does Intensive Behavioural Intervention come from?

The Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) program was founded in 1999 in Ontario, Canada. The ABA principles the program is based on grew from learning theory and the theory of behavioural psychology, which have been around since the early 1900s.

What is the idea behind Intensive Behavioural Intervention?

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) is based on the theory that skills can be taught in a methodical way to promote new and appropriate behaviour in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

What does Intensive Behavioural Intervention involve?

In general, the Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) program uses the following steps:

  • Assess the child’s current skills and difficulties.
  • Develop an individualised program for the child.
  • Implement the program using specific teaching methods to build skills.
  • Measure the skills you’ve chosen to work on to see whether the program is working.
  • Evaluate progress, making changes as needed.

This program takes a lot of time – it can be 20-40 hours a week, possibly for several years. Parents are directly involved in their children’s programs, and therapy should start as early as possible. Depending on the provider, children might get the program in a centre, home, clinic, school or other setting.

Cost considerations

The Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) Ontario program isn’t offered in Australia, so no information about costs is available.

Does Intensive Behavioural Intervention work?

This therapy is based on ABA principles, which are well supported by research.

Who practises Intensive Behavioural Intervention?

Professionals with experience and training in behaviour analysis (like psychologists) practise this program. Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) providers must be trained.

Parent education, training, support and involvement

Service providers give parents specialised training, education and support in this approach. Parents are expected to be actively involved.

Where can you find a practitioner?

The Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) Ontario program isn’t available in Australia. But intensive behavioural interventions that use ABA principles are available in Australia. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board has a list of members internationally who have achieved certification.

If you’re interested in the IBI approach, speak with your GP or one of the other professionals working with your child about similar therapies available in Australia. You could also talk with your NDIA planner, NDIS early childhood partner or NDIS local area coordination partner, if you have one.

There are many treatments for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They range from those based on behaviour and development to those based on medicine or alternative therapy. Our article on types of interventions for children with ASD takes you through the main treatments, so you can better understand your child’s options.