Intensive Behavioral Intervention

Isn’t it difficult for a child with autism to work for 3 hours straight?

The Senior Therapist of the autism program will work with the family to have preferred items or activities available to use as reinforcers to make learning fun for the child during his BDI shift and increase appropriate behavior. No one learns when upset and we strive for “no tears” shifts.

At the beginning of treatment for the child with autism, we will take small baby steps to teach a child how to sit at a table and pay attention to their staff and the teaching materials. As the child learns that their every effort is rewarded, sessions become more predictable and fun. The child will be given breaks as needed to keep learning at an optimal level throughout the shift, but our goal is to get as much teaching done in three hours as we possibly can.


What if my child does not learn?

Senior Therapists and Clinical Supervisors are trained to analyze data and troubleshoot learning difficulties that are child specific for each child with autism. Additional clinical and behavioral support will be scheduled in order to ensure that the child makes steady progress.

Do you have enough staff to fill all of the hours my child needs?

If there is enough trained staff in your area of Minnesota, and those staff are available during the times you desire, you will have a full schedule for your child. Every effort is made to fill open shifts with all children and the hiring process is an on-going process. Although BDI staff turnover is low, there are still situations when a child will have open shifts. Ideally, the easiest shifts to fill are those during a typical work day (between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.); however, early evening and weekend shifts can be successfully filled if staff are available.

I’ve heard that children should not be rewarded for everything. Is too much reinforcement bad?

It is true that typically developing children are not highly rewarded for every little thing. However, reinforcement is critical when teaching new skills to a child with autism. The IBI program is designed to “thin” the schedule of reinforcement until the child is using the skill in the natural environment with no reinforcement system.

What skills are taught?

Beginning with basic imitation and matching skills, the child systematically moves through a curriculum to learn to understand and use language and social skills.

Who should receive these services?

Children with a diagnosis of ASD who display significant delays in development as well as severe behavior disorders are appropriately treated with the IBI model. The disorder is so severe that the children are unlikely to:

a) be safe in the home or community;
b) attain normal developmental milestones; or
c) succeed in a regular classroom without substantial one-to-one support.


The IBI model is only appropriate for children for whom the goal of treatment is to restore normal functioning as much as possible, and who demonstrate strong response to treatment on objective quantitative measures. Services are typically most appropriate for children under the age of 5?????, BDI’s existing data suggest response to treatment can be evaluated after nine months of treatment.


What is the time commitment?

Child must be available Monday through Friday, every day for 2 three to three and a half hour shifts for a minimum of 30 hours per week. We are only able to work around a child’s schedule who still requires naps. Additional weekday and weekend hours are available after the initial 30 hours are scheduled.

What is the length of service?

Length of service is typically 2 – 4 years

Where do the services take place?

Service occurs in the child’s home; caregiver must be present

What type of participation is required by the family?

The family is required to meet with the Senior therapist weekly to discuss the child’s progress.


If the family is interested in additional training BDI provides a series of trainings on specific parenting strategies called General Interaction Strategies (GIS).  The series of trainings teach the family about reinforcement, responding to requests, offering choices, giving instructions, redirection, and responding to upsets.  Once the family completes GIS, BDI can also provide assistance with toilet training, sleep disorders, feeding disorders, outings, and social skills training.

Behavioral Consulting

Can I receive consulting services for my child in his/her school?

Behavioral Dimensions Consulting works with many different school districts and services in the school are determined by the how the child’s services are funded.  Schools may request and pay for behavioral consulting or some county waivered service plans may fund the service.  Most insurance companies do not pay for consulting in the educational setting.

How soon after I fill out the intake form will I receive services?

First you will be contacted by the intake coordinator and potential services will be discussed.  The more time periods during the day that you and your child are available to meet with a practitioner, the easier it will be to schedule services.  Typically services may begin within 6 to 8 weeks.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

What is ABA?

Applied Behavior Analysis is a reinforcement-based, structured method of teaching functional skills to children and adults. You can read more about ABA here. And, you can read the BACB Standard of Conduct here.

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