Our Difference

How does it differentiate from other methods?

The Lovaas Model of Applied Behavior Analysis has the most extensive research of any treatment for children with autism.

Over 40 years of research has shown that the Lovaas Model in particular is an effective treatment

  1. with progress due to the treatment and not some other variable
  2. with effects that last as children grow older, and
  3. with replication data from other studies.

The Lovaas Model of Applied Behavior Analysis has also demonstrated some of the best outcomes for children with autism.

Comparison Of Three Common Interventions For Children With Autism




Type of Model

Behavioral model

Emotional/developmental model

Educational/school model

Name Associated with Approach




Typical Teaching Techniques

Incidental Teaching
Discrete Trial Teaching

Floor Time

Structured Teaching

Typical Therapy Session

Two or three hour sessions. Short periods of structured time devoted to a task (3-5 minutes) followed by an equal amount of free play for the child (3-5 minutes). Longer break (10-15 minutes) at the end of every hour. Free play and breaks are used for incidental teaching or practicing learned skills in new environments.

A 20-to-30-minute period when you get down on the floor with your child and interact and play... Interactions promote a child's growth by following his lead, wooing him with warm but persistent attempts to engage his attention and tuning in to his interests and desires in interactions.

Environments are created with clear, concrete, visual information. Visual schedules, routines, organizational strategies (e.g., working from left to right), and visual work systems are used that help a child achieve independence in various skills.

Typical Intensity of Intervention

35-40 hours per week

14-35 hours per week (six to ten, 20-to-30-minute floor-time sessions a day)

Up to 25 hours per week (during the school day

Other Important Factors Often Overlooked

Facilitated peer play is part of intervention. Support in school starts with a 1:1 aide. Systematic transfer of skills to natural environments

Following a child's lead is only one component of intervention. There are also semi-structured problem-solving components.

Can occur in variety of settings. Not only academic tasks, also focuses on communication, play and leisure.

Overall Goal/Strategies

Breaks down skills into manageable pieces and then builds upon those skills so that a child learns how to learn in the natural environment.

Help a child master the healthy emotional milestones that were missed in his early development and that are critical to learning, thereby helping children overcome their symptoms.

Cultivating a child's strengths and interests, and developing appropriate structures that promote a child's independent work skills while also fostering communication, social, and leisure outlets.


Most rigorously controlled early intervention research published to date (Lovaas, 1987); the longest follow-up tracking of children with autism who have received intensive early intervention (McEachin, 1993); and replication research (Sallows, 2005 and Cohen, 2006). However, some controversy surrounds methodological limitations of the research and the original study's use of the term "recovered" (which does not appear in subsequent research).

Detailed review of the case records of 200 children who had participated in the Developmental Intervention Model for 2 or more years (Greenspan, 1997). Outcomes were better than that of a comparison group of children who entered DIR following treatment with traditional behavioral services. However, there was a major confounding element in use of a comparison group: their parents had been dissatisfied with their previous intervention.

A number of studies describing progress in follow-up samples of young children who received services at TEACCH (Venter et al., 1992), and substantial IQ score gains have been commonly reported for nonverbal children who were diagnosed at early ages (Lord and Schopler, 1989). However, these studies are not direct evaluations of treatment outcomes.