ABA vs IBI: Difference and Comparison

ABA and IBI are two terms that are used very commonly when it comes to autism treatment. Even though IBI is heavily based on ABA, they both have quite a few distinguishable features.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a therapy that focuses on improving specific behaviors and skills, while Intensive Behavioral Intervention (IBI) is a comprehensive ABA-based program for children with autism.
  2. ABA techniques can be applied to various populations and settings, whereas IBI specifically targets young children with autism to maximize early developmental gains.
  3. Both ABA and IBI use data-driven methods to monitor progress, but IBI requires more intensive one-on-one therapy and weekly hours.


The difference between ABA and IBI is that ABA is a method of educating autistic patients and is carried out by educators and teachers whereas IBI is a specific therapy that is carried out by therapists and psychologists. Regardless, the principles and techniques used in ABA are often the basis of IBI.


ABA stands for Applied Behavioral Analysis. It is a process of using interventions based on the principles of learning theory to improve the social behaviour of autistic people.

Its aim is to help people with autism catch up with their peers regarding development. The sessions are conducted in small groups or individually, and it takes up between 20 to 40 hours of time per week.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonABAIBI
Full-FormABA stands for Applied Behavioral Analysis.IBI stands for Intensive Behavioral Intervention.
MeaningABA is a method of educating autistic patients.IBI is a specific therapy for autistic patients.
AimThe aim of ABA is to improve the social behaviour of autistic people.The aim of IBI is to help people with autism to catch up with their peers, in terms of development.
SessionsABA sessions can be carried out individually or in classrooms.IBI sessions are carried out individually or in small groups.
DurationThey are carried out for about 20 hours per week.They are carried out for between 20 to 40 hours per week.
SupervisorEducators and teachers conduct the sessions.Therapists and psychologists conduct the sessions.

What is ABA?

ABA is often called behavioural engineering. It is a method of using scientific approaches to teach social behaviours to autistic children. These approaches are based on respondent and operant conditioning.

These sessions are carried out by teachers and educators who are specifically trained for this purpose. The teachings may be carried out in classrooms with a large group of patients.

The main aim of ABA is to teach adaptive behaviours as well as diminish behaviours linked to autism. This has often been controversial as many people look at it as a ‘therapy for autism’.

The goal of such teachings must be to help autistic people lead happy, healthy, and self-determined life. However, ABA states that they work toward making autistic children indistinguishable from their peers.

What is IBI?

IBI is a treatment program for Autism patients which is heavily based on ABA. However, unlike the former, it is more intensive and rigorous. It can thus be looked at as a therapy session rather than a teaching session.

Domains such as communication, pre-academics, social skills, and adaptive skills are given major importance. The sessions are conducted for 20 to 40 hours per week and are supervised by a senior therapist.

IBI not only aims at improving the lives of the patients but also training the parents or guardians to support their children throughout the process and even after it.

It outlines the specific treatment goals of each patient and which approaches must be used to achieve them. Further, each patient’s progress is monitored and assessed every 6 months.

Main Differences Between ABA and IBI

  1. ABA is conducted for around 20 hours per week, whereas IBI is conducted for about 20 to 40 hours per week.
  2. ABA sessions are conducted by teachers, whereas therapists and psychologists conduct IBI sessions.
  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1998-08048-000
  2. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ812650

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