Why EIBI Works for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Therapies and Resources for Children with Autism & Families

 “At 2 I knew something was wrong.  No eye contact, no baby babble, sensory issues.  I could clearly see issues, and by age three there was no doubt he was on the spectrum.”

(posted by a parent on a blog at www.babycenter.com)

Many parents can relate to that feeling of desperation.  Something was different about the way your baby responded to sensory cues.  Your baby wasn’t acting like some of the other children in the play area.  You didn’t know what exactly it was, but something was unique.  Then the reality hit, and you realized that you needed to confirm what you were thinking:  Your child is on the autism spectrum.

Believe it or not, three years old is a late start for optimal therapy with Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention(EIBI).  A study by the New England Center for Children showed that “90% of toddlers who entered therapy programs before their second birthday showed significant gains” and the same was true for 70% of the toddlers who started therapy between 24 months and 36 months.

This study and many other studies conducted since it was completed have confirmed that EIBI significantly helps children with autism function better with social interaction and helps them adjust to sensory rich environments with more success than children without the help of EIBI therapy.

But why?  What is different about EIBI from other therapies?

To start, it is based on ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) techniques.

ABA had success when applied to adults and older children with autism, but when it was adapted and applied to infants and toddlers in the form of EIBI therapy, its impact was even more impressive.  Applying the techniques when the child is at that very impressionable stage of learning gives EIBI a huge advantage.

EIBI helps children establish context around learning.

ABA therapy centers more on learning definitions. For example, you might say, “Hand me the truck,” and the child would then hand you a card with a picture of a truck on it. But just because the child was able to identify the object didn’t mean that the child had functioning abilities to apply what they had learned in other settings.  EIBI connects definitions to verbal and non-verbal cues so that a child can not only tell you what a truck is, but they can express when they want to play with one, or where the truck can be found when its put away at the end of the day.  EIBI broadens the scope of the child’s world.

EIBI starts a process that continues throughout a child’s behavior therapy for life.

A 1985 study published by the Princeton Child Development Institute concluded that “60% of the children with autism enrolled in the program before age five had improved enough to be successfully mainstreamed, not just included.” Enrolling a child in EIBI therapy early and then continuing with other therapies as he or she grows older and progresses gives a child on the spectrum an advantage versus those who don’t benefit from early diagnosis and intervention. It is a foundation that can be built on as the child continues with education and therapy.

It all starts with diagnosis.  If you feel like the parent in the first paragraph, take this Early Intervention Quiz to assess if your child would be a good fit for an EIBI therapy program.  The earlier you start, the better chance your child has to learn techniques that might empower him or her for life.  Peak Potential Therapy applies EIBI to help our clients get off to a better start in life, facilitating the greatest results for your child.  Contact us today to find out how we can help your child reach his or her peak potential.