Interventions for Children with Special Needs

There are many types of interventions, including behavioral and developmental. Educationally-based interventions have a goal of improving the behavior of a child by dealing with social, cognitive and communication skills. Currently, known interventions do not cure autism or other special conditions, but they do improve the behavior and the symptoms.

Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA is the most popular behavioral intervention. Sometimes ABA is also called the Lovaas method after its inventor Dr. Ivar Lovaas. This method changes a behavior using a system of positive rewards and sometimes punishments. The process typically occurs in highly structured individualized environments created by trained therapists. This intervention requires a lot of time to be successful. Dr. Lovaas and his followers suggest at least four hours of therapy per day and claim that five to ten hours per week will not lead to any results.


Floortime has been created by Stanley Greenspan. It is also known as developmental individual difference relation-based intervention or DIR. This intervention has parents or guardians do most of the therapy and emotionally bond with the child. The therapy focuses on creating affection in the child and tries to close the gaps in the development of children. This program also requires at least four hours a day to be effective.

Miller Method

This intervention focuses on cognitive development. Practitioners of this method try to see the world from the point of view of the child with special needs. They believe that every child is trying to make sense of an environment that the child doesn’t understand and that the job of the practitioner of the method is to help the child gain this understanding. Another goal of the method is to help the child to learn to make choices and interact with the environment instead of sticking to constraining routines.