Autism Treatment: Introduction to Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI)

Video Title: Introduction to Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention and Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders


  • What are some characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder?
  • How can Autism Spectrum Disorder be treated?
  • Why should Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention be used?
  • What is ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis)?
  • How much (Autism) therapy is needed and who should provide it?
  • Is there evidence that supports the use of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention?
  • What ABA-based treatment is and is not.
  • What do I do next?

Used with permission from the Massachusetts Association for Behavior Analysis.

What is ABA?


ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis. ABA is “scientific teaching” or “data-driven teaching.” A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) selects specific skills that are important to the child and the child’s family, creates individualized teaching programs based on behavioral principles, and continually assesses the child’s progress to make sure the teaching programs are effective.

ABA is all about individualization, tracking progress, and making objective teaching decisions.



What kinds of skills can be learned through ABA?

  • Just about anything! Here is just a short list of skills that children have learned through ABA programs: asking for items, making eye contact, joining play, crossing the street safely, putting on deodorant, asking to take a break, counting money, learning about the red sox, playing videogames, learning to read, participating in a church service.

Who is qualified to provide ABA services?

  • A BCBA, or Board Certified Behavior Analyst, assesses the child’s behaviors, creates individualized teaching programs, and supervises either a direct service provider or a family member, or a combination of both. The BCBA typically sees the child anywhere from 2 hours every other week to 2 hours per week.

BCBAs minimally possess a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education that was conferred in behavior analysis or other related field. BCBAs complete 225 hours of graduate level instruction, complete 1500 hours of Supervised Independent Fieldwork in Behavior Analysis, and must pass the BCBA certification exam.

Direct service providers implement the teaching programs written by the BCBA. The direct service provider typically works with the child anywhere from 2 hours per week to 30 hours per week. Direct service providers either have experience running ABA programs or are given training by Advances Learning Center’s Training Coordinator.

How do I know if a BCBA is qualified to run my child’s program?

  • There is a list of all Board Certified Behavior Analysts at this website: Go to the website and click on “Find a Certificant.”

Is ABA effective?

  • There have been numerous studies that show that intensive ABA is the most effective and efficient way to teach children skills. Here is a website with some links to research articles:

What does ABA look like?

  • It is a misconception that ABA must happen at a table and must be very structured. Some children are too easily distracted to work on learning difficult skills without sitting at a table and without added structure. We want children to be successful, so a good behavior analyst will always teach skills in a way that will ensure the child will be successful, while also trying to teach skills in the most generalizable way possible. A child may start learning at a table and with added structure, but there is always a plan to eventually work on the same skills away from the table and in an unstructured environment.

There are many environments in which ABA can be used to teach skills: at the table, on the floor playing with toys, in the community, in the backyard, during dinner, at a playground, etc. Our style of teaching is determined by how the student learns best.

7 Dimensions of ABA

IMG_1165Advances Learning Center (ALC) is dedicated to providing high-quality, effective services to children following the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). As an ABA service provider we strive to embody the seven dimensions that define the field:

  1. Applied: Goals are selected that are important to your child and to your child’s functioning within the family. We understand that goals that may be important to one individual or family may not be important to another. We work with families to develop goals that will help the child maximize their role within their family and community.
  2. Behavioral: Goals are defined in terms that are measurable and reachable. By being clear about what goals are being worked towards we can make changes responsive to the child’s changing needs. Progress is measured in ways that are precise and objective.
  3. Analytic: We look to find the reasons why behaviors are or are not occurring. By evaluating the ‘whys’ of a behavior we can promote lasting behavior change.
  4. Technological: The curriculum and behavior plans include a clear written description to maintain consistency. Generalized and lasting behavior change requires the participation of important people in the child’s environment.
  5. Conceptually Systematic: The curriculum that we use is based on the most current research on learning and behavior. Interventions are based on well-established learning principles and are supported by data.
  6. Generality: Skills learned in one context, such as time spent with an instructor, are not going to benefit the child unless he/she can also use those skills in other settings and with other people. In addition to planning for generalization and maintenance within programs, we also work with families so that everyone is able carry over skills.
  7. Effective: Behavior changes need to improve the life of the child and family to a meaningful degree. Data collection provides information on how the child is currently demonstrating a skill; parent consultation provides information on how the child is utilizing their skills on a day to day basis.