Video | 01:05:56

Sidney Bijou on Behavioral Child Therapy

by Sidney Bijou
Sidney Bijou, often credited as the founder of child behavioral therapy, reveals here in conversation with Steven Hayes how he came to develop new treatments for autism and other developmental disorders. Examining his findings across child development fields, Bijou makes recommendations for the next generations of educators, parents, and psychologists.

Part of the 8-video series: Perspectives in Behavior Therapy


Sidney Bijou on Behavioral Child Therapy
In this provocative interview with the founder of child behavioral therapy, Sidney Bijou recounts his education in the very young field of psychology, after which he was deployed for World War II, and his dissatisfaction with the limited scope of practice of psychologists upon his return.

After witnessing the disturbing treatment of developmentally disabled children at the notorious Letchworth Village in New York, Bijou came to reject the role of child psychologists as merely intelligence testers, and spent decades developing the first treatments for childhood behavior problems and developmental disorders. Here he describes refining behavioral techniques to effect change in cases that were regarded as “untreatable,” proving that even severely autistic children could learn and grow.

Through vivid retelling of the clinical cases that influenced his work, Bijou makes the case for the incorporation of behavioral principles in all aspects of child rearing. In words that reflect his frustration with the ways society is out of step with his findings, he reveals, “If I could wave a wand and just say, listen to us about non-aversive techniques, listen to us about early influences of children, because I think that's where it all begins—that first three or four years is so important. And I think the problems of delinquency and criminality are all the consequences of that.” Bijou further cautions the next generation about the popularity of a biological approach to psychology, reminding us that neurologically-based theories of developmental disorders can lead to the conclusion that psychology cannot offer meaningful treatment. In fact his work has shown that quite the opposite is true.

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By watching this video, you will:
  • Identify behavioral techniques that can work with severe developmental disabilities.
  • Understand the importance of child development research in the home environment.
  • Recognize the roadblocks to integration of behavior therapy techniques into parenting and schooling practices.
  • Appreciate the importance of training parents to use behavior therapy techniques at home.
Length of video: 01:05:56
English subtitles available on: Stream
Sidney Bijou







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CE credits: 1
Learning objectives:

  • Identify behavioral techniques that can work with severe developmental disabilities.
  • Understand the importance of child development research in the home environment.
  • Recognize the roadblocks to integration of behavior therapy techniques into parenting and schooling practices.
  • Appreciate the importance of training parents to use behavior therapy techniques at home.