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The truth about the costs of Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI)

Recently, there was a very critical article published in the Los Angeles Times regarding Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI). Not only was much of the research in IBI misrepresented and misinterpreted, the writer also questioned whether the costs of IBI were justified. If the writer had done more research into the cost-benefits of IBI, he would have found numerous articles indicating that in a lifetime, its costs society significantly less to fund IBI than it does to support a child who did not have access to it.

According to a study done in 2006, ‎”the cost of expanding IBI in Ontario to all individuals with autism is small (less than 10% of total costs) compared to the significant cost of educating and supporting semi- and very dependent individuals over their lifetime.” So the truth is we can’t afford to not make IBI accessible to all individuals with autism. Not to mention the fact that how can we even put a price tag on the considerable gains (e.g., social, communication, self-help) that have been documented in children with autism when they receive early Intensive Behavioural Intervention and other Applied Behvioural Analytic (ABA) based services.

Here is some research on the costs of IBI:

Motiwala, S.S., Gupta, S., Lilly, M.B., Ungar, W.J., and Coyte, P.C. The cost-effectiveness of expanding intensive behavioural intervention to all autistic children in ontario. Healthcare Policy. 2006; 2; 135-151.

Jacobson W.J., Mulick A.J. System and Cost Research Issues in Treatments for People with Autistic Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2000;30:585–593.

Jacobson W.J., Mulick A.J., Green G. Cost–Benefit Estimates for Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism – General Model and Single State Case.Behavioral Interventions. 1998;13:201–226.

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Our aim is to keep you and your family informed.