National Institute for Health Research Review of Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention

A major National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) review of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI) has been published. EIBI (sometimes called an 'ABA approach') is an effective teaching protocol for autistic children, based on Behaviour Analysis, and backed by a growing body of research.

The UK-SBA was represented on the Advisory group by Suzy Yardley, our Secretary.  UK-SBA Chair, Dr Mecca Chiesa and our then Lay Board Member, Jane McCready submitted comments on the previous draft (all comments are included at the end in Appendix 20). Sadly, another ABA member of the Advisory Group, the distinguished academic Dr Tristram Smith, passed away during the process.

We are pleased to see an acknowledgement of the evidence for EIBI’s ability to help autistic children in vital areas such as adaptive behaviour and cognitive ability, above and beyond what can be achieved by the UK’s current “eclectic” treatment as usual.  However, we are disappointed that evidence from very many single case studies was not included.  Furthermore, while the report included clinical data from countries outside the UK, it rejected several authoritative reports which clearly showed the long-term cost effectiveness of EIBI on the grounds they were not from the UK: an inconsistency.

Our above mentioned concerns notwithstanding, the finding that ABA is deemed more effective than treatment as usual is a step forward, and we are pleased that the NIHR is giving our field the attention it deserves.

Please click the link to read the full report:  NIHR Review of the Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of EIBI