Over the course of recent years, children have been diagnosed with conditions along the autistic spectrum more frequently, approximately 1 in 68 children suffers from a form of autism. This is largely owing to improved methods of detection and identification. Furthermore, the stigma surrounding the diagnosis has decreased, and physicians are more inclined to name what they see for the sake of providing an a-neurotypical child with access to programs that will give them their best chance for success. There has also been a call to develop and implement more effective treatments for these conditions, with the principles of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) at the forefront.
ABA uses tactics of positive reinforcement to foster good behaviors, and change unfavorable ones, drawing on an individual’s natural triggers in their environment making for experiential learning in the moment. IBI (Intensive Behavior Intervention) utilizes the same principles in a more structured, rigorous, and labor-intensive setting. Its efficiency has been documented, and among professionals it is accepted as the most effective therapy for autism – particularly for those on the lower end of the spectrum in need of extra attention. These include children facing several challenges including poor social interaction skills, communication difficulties and developmental delays.
IBI professionals (such as behavioral therapists and psychologists) work with children under close clinical supervision either one-on-one or in small groups. Instructors trained in IBI are able to analyze chains of behavior, devise an approach to promote adaptive behaviors as opposed to maladaptive ones, and reduce the frequency of dysfunctional conduct. This involves breaking down behaviors into small, learnable components. Every response is recorded and evaluated allowing for adjustments to be made to the teaching process.
Children taking part in IBI therapy services in Toronto will work with clinicians and therapists from 20-40 hours a week over the course of 2-3 years. IBI is typically directed at children under the age of 5, because the younger the child is, the more valuable results treatment will procure. A strong program assesses the child’s strengths, weaknesses, and unique needs so as to implement a comprehensive individual plan. They address the skills a child should be focusing on before they can attain a better sense of independence.
Ideally, after this long and intensive type of treatment, children see fewer impairments in areas like socialization and communication. There are clinics like Therapy Spot (that you can visit at http://therapyspot.ca/) whose psychologists, occupational therapists, behavioral therapists, and speech-language pathologists have experience re-educating children using ABA and IBI techniques and acclimatizing them to life in their schools and communities.
Whether or not you choose to enroll your child into IBI should depends upon how old they are, the severity of their condition, what type of funding is available to you, and what kind of commitment you think they can give. It is important to note however; the effectiveness of the treatment is very high and some children even manage to have their autistic diagnoses reversed or changed to a condition along the higher-functioning part of the spectrum.