Early Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities


Purpose of Review

Early intervention can enhance the development of young children with IDD by altering the developmental trajectory and preventing further delay. This review summarizes the approach and findings of studies on early behavioral interventions specific to young children (< 5) with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) excluding autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Recent Findings

There is support for the efficacy of focused and comprehensive behavioral interventions as well as milieu communication training and behavioral parent training for addressing the needs of young children with IDD. New research explores interventions tailored to the needs of specific subgroups of children with IDD and how learner characteristics and intensity moderate outcomes.


Most research does not consider the needs of subgroups of IDD aside from ASD. Future work needs to include high-quality evaluation studies and to further evaluate tailored intervention approaches that address the specific needs of subgroups of children with IDD.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Correspondence to Nicole Neil.

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Nicole Neil and Kailee Liesemer declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

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Neil, N., Liesemer, K. Early Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Curr Dev Disord Rep (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40474-020-00201-1

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  • Behavioral intervention
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Applied behavior analysis