Building on behavior analytic applied research since 1960s, Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) is considered an evidence-based comprehensive treatment for children with developmental disabilities (Matson & Smith, 2008). EIBI is based on principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and focuses on remediation of learning readiness skills, communication, imitation, visual spatial skills, pre-academics, self-help and social interaction skills (Eldevik et al., 2009). The skill deficits are identified through a comprehensive assessment process and then taught on a one-to-one basis at home or schools using discrete trial in combination with incidental teaching.
Research shows that EIBI is effective when it is both intensive (i.e. approximately 20-40 hours a week) and extensive (i.e. minimally 2 years) (Matson & Smith, 2008). Early intervention is the key to learning new behaviors. The EIBI begins as early as 2 years of age and would require 20–40 weekly hours of direct work with the client. The intervention is individualized and comprehensive targeting learning readiness skills, communication, imitation, visual spatial skills, pre-academics, self-help and social interaction skills.
The treatment goals are developed based on the typical developmental sequence. For example, when teaching play skills, first functional play is taught using toys, then parallel play, then reciprocal play and then group play. As the skills are acquired, they are gradually transitioned to natural contexts.
To insure generalization of the skills in the home environment and community, from the onset of the intervention generality is programmed into each skill that is being taught. For example, when teaching to label boy or girl, the learner would be taught many different examples of boys and girls, which would help with generality of saying boy or girl or telling the difference between boys and girls when one comes across different people.