The University of California at Los Angeles Young Autism Project model (sometimes known as ABA, Applied Behaviour Analysis, early intensive behavioural intervention, EIBI, the Lovaas method or the UCLA YAP model) is a comprehensive, highly structured and intense programme designed to help very young autistic children.
The UCLA YAP model is based on the idea that autistic children struggle to understand and to communicate with other people, and react to such frustrations with tantrums and other challenging behaviours.The therapy team therefore constructs a teaching environment that is designed to maximise the child's success and minimise failure. Desired behaviour, such as use of language or social or self help skills, is positively reinforced and accompanied by lots of praise. Negative behaviour (such as self harm or aggression towards others) is not reinforced.
The UCLA YAP model uses a variety of specific teaching methods including discrete trial training, discrimination training and incidental teaching (although the therapists may also use a wide range of other interventions, such as sign language and the Picture Exchange Communication System, to suit the needs of the individual child).
The UCLA YAP model is very intensive (up to 40 hours training a week) and is usually delivered by parents helped by a consultant. The consultant develops and oversees a programme personalised to the needs of the individual child and designed to cover all relevant developmental areas.