Now that applied behavior analysis has made its mark as an extremely effective evidence-based treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), today both OTs and Behaviour Analysts are regularly found working together in schools, clinics, and long-term care facilities, offering mutually complementary treatment to children and adults with ASD and other developmental and cognitive disorders.

Denzil has been working intensively with students with ASD in ABA settings since 2007 and skillfully applies the big-picture goals for both OT and ABA in treating autistic individuals: teach appropriate skills and behavior to improve quality of life and socialization. Because many issues faced by ASD patients are multi-spectrum, involving both sensory and behavioral issues, it is only natural to make use of both approaches in a cross-disciplinary treatment system.

The term Naturalistic Developmental Behavioural Intervention (NDBI) was coined by Laura Schreibman and colleagues in 2015 in an attempt to unify the field around interventions that have a shared set of characteristics such as these.

Core Components of NDBI

  • Based on the well-established principles developed via the science of ABA.
  • Uses developmentally based intervention strategies and sequences to guide goal development that is individualized to each child.


Common Procedural Elements

  • Have an intervention manual or manuals that clearly specify the procedures of the intervention.
  • Specify how the environment should be arranged to ensure that the child must initiate or interact with an adult in order to gain access to desired materials, favoured activities, or familiar routines.
  • Utilize natural reinforcement and other motivation-enhancing procedures.
  • Use prompting and prompt fading during acquisition of new skills.
  • Use modelling.
  • Utilize adult imitation of the child’s language, play, or body movements.
  • Work to broaden the attentional focus of the child.
  • Involve some form of child-initiated teaching episodes.