A preliminary study of early intensive behavioural intervention for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder: A comparative study of practices and policies between the UK and China

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


People diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have difficulty in social interaction and social communication and with restricted behaviours. Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is the application of the science of Behaviour Analysis (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007) and Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI) is under the umbrella of ABA and proved to be effective to improve majority children’s IQ, language, daily life skills, cognitive and functional behaviours (Lovaas, 1987; Orinstein et al., 2014). A pilot study on the application of EIBI practices between England and China was finished during May-July 2013. A total of 15 in-depth interviews were carried out, involving with 7 participants from England and 8 participants from China. Results showed English ABA professionals did not fully implement every elements of EIBI, thus, some of them would prefer to say using ABA-based intervention rather than EIBI. Although professional’s standards demand that ABA-based interventions are supervised by Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BACB, 2014), frequently, this was not the case. In China, seldom ABA professionals heard about EIBI and the mode of service delivery of most autism agencies were parent-focused ABA training, which meant ABA-based training and intervention was not individualised but carried out in large ‘classrooms’ where mothers and children were taught by a teacher who stands in front of the ‘class’. In most cases, mothers and babies travelled far from their hometown to the big city to avail of ABA-based early intervention training. Big autism schools provide on-site accommodations for both mothers and children. However, due to distance and time limit, this pilot study in selected sample areas might not fully reflect the application of EIBI practices and policies in each country. Further investigation by using a large scale survey, a number of in-depth interviews and direct participant observation on parents and professionals in each country will warrant an all-round picture. Besides, a similar survey was recently completed in Victoria, Australia (ABIA, 2013; Horiguchi, 2014), which allowing for further international comparisons.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationABA Today 2015 Conference
Subtitle of host publicationAustralian Behaviour Intervention Association (ABIA)
Place of PublicationMelbourne
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2015
EventABA Today 2015 -
Duration: 17 Apr 201518 Apr 2015


ConferenceABA Today 2015

Bibliographical note

Autism Behavioural Intervention Association. (ABIA, 2013). ABA 2013 census results: Making sense of autism families’ needs. Retrieved from http://www.abia.net.au/images/ABACensusSummary-Website.pdf.
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied Behaviour Analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.
Horiguchi M. (2014). Early behavioural intervention practice for children with autism in Victoria. Master’s dissertation. University of Monash. (In Press).
Lovaas, O.I. (1987). Behavioural treatment and normal educational and intellectual functioning in young autistic children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55(1), 3-9.
Orinstein, A. J., Helt, M., Troyb, E., Tyson, K. E., Barton, M. L., Eigsti, I. M., Naigles, L & Fein, D. A. (2014). Intervention for optimal outcome in children and adolescents with a history of autism. Journal of Developmental & Behavioural Pediatrics, 35(4), 247-256.


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