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Minnesota Department of Human Services Early Intensive Development and Behavioral Intervention Manual
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Treatment modalities

Page posted: 2/17/17

Page reviewed:

Page updated:

Legal authority

Minn. Stat. §256B.0949


A person may receive treatment intervention according to one of the DHS-recognized treatment modalities.

This page explains the treatment modalities. For more information about intervention as a covered service, see EIDBI – Intervention.

DHS recognizes the following treatment modalities:

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a set of data-driven practices grounded in behavioral science.

ABA focuses on increasing the person’s positive, appropriate behaviors while decreasing his or her negative or harmful behaviors that interfere with learning.

Under ABA, the clinician systematically analyzes factors in the person’s environment that interfere with his or her success and teaches new and more appropriate ways of responding.


For more information, see:

DIR®/Floortime model

The Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based (DIR®)/Floortime model provides a framework for a clinician to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the person and develop a program tailored to his or her unique challenges and strengths.

DIR®/Floortime creates opportunities for learning through spontaneous exchanges. These exchanges help the person build critical developmental abilities, including the ability to:

  • • Attend to environments and people in the environments
  • • Engage and relate to others
  • • Initiate and respond to communication
  • • Participate in shared social problem-solving
  • • Think and play creatively and flexibly.
  • DIR®/Floortime focuses on:

  • • The person’s natural interests and emotions, which have shown to be essential in building on his or her social, emotional, and intellectual skills
  • • The role of the parent and other primary relationships in the person’s life.
  • Resources

    For more information, see The Greenspan Floortime Approach.

    Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)

    The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) integrates a relationship-focused, developmental model with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) teaching practices.

    The program:

  • • Focuses on the powerful pairing of interpersonal exchange and positive affect to promote shared engagement and teach social language and communication
  • • Supports parents’ involvement
  • • Teaches behavioral and developmental strategies using natural settings and opportunities to promote typical development
  • • Typically serves children ages 12 to 48 months.
  • Resources

    For more information, see Autism Speaks – ESDM.

    PLAY Project

    The PLAY Project is an evidence-based, parent-education intervention approach.

    Under the PLAY Project, the clinician coaches parents and provides feedback about how to support their child’s development. The parent is the primary provider of the intervention.

    The PLAY Project methods and techniques:

  • • Build on the person’s current levels of development
  • • Show parents how to support and expand on their abilities to improve their child’s social interaction, communication and regulatory skills.
  • Resources

    For more information, see The PLAY Project.

    Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)

    Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) is a family-based, behavioral treatment that builds on the theory that “dynamic intelligence” is key to improving quality of life for people with ASD. Dynamic intelligence is the ability to think flexibly and includes:

  • • Appreciating different perspectives
  • • Coping with change
  • • Integrating information from multiple sources (e.g. sights and sounds).
  • RDI aims to help people with ASD form personal relationships by gradually strengthening their ability to build social connections.


    For more information, see RDI Connect.

    Additional resources

    EIDBI – EIDBI services
    EIDBI – Intervention

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