More than ten years ago our organization fought against age-six cutoff for the Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) program for children with autism. We held 26 rallies in cities across Ontario, from Windsor to Ottawa, from Grimsby to Sudbury. We managed to get the government to keep their promise to end those age cutoffs. But the Ontario government has announced that it will enact an even more restrictive age cutoff for the IBI program than the one we managed to get them to strike down 11 years ago. Now the cutoff will be five years of age. Thousands of children will be dumped in the blink of an eye, with no alternative program in sight until 2018.
The goal of IBI is NOT “closing the developmental gap”. The goal of IBI is CHANGING BEHAVIOUR, i.e. improving the symptoms of autism (e.g. problem behaviours, communication, social interaction, etc). IBI is effective when “designed and overseen by professionals with documented training and competence in behaviour analysis.” (http://www.ontaba.org/). The research referenced by the Expert Panel confirms both the benefits of EARLY intervention AND that older children do learn under IBI. The research also recommends MORE intensity (not less) for those at the severe end or that have dual diagnoses, intellectual disability, etc