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Research behind the Inklings Program

The Inklings Program has been developed over a decade by an international team of health professionals and researchers interested in supporting babies who are developing differently. Through a systematic process of rigorous research in the United Kingdom and Australia, we found the program to be effective in supporting parent communication with their baby, and boosting social communication and language development. The effectiveness of the program has been verified in two randomised controlled trials; one in the UK of 54 babies, and one in Australia with more than 100 babies. The clinical trials found very similar results.

The babies received the program in the first year of life and were then followed up to age three. The babies who received the program were found to have significant developmental gains in their social interaction and communication abilities, and parents were better able to adapt their communication style to the needs of their baby. Based on the strong evidence from the clinical trials, the program has demonstrated that it supports the social interaction and communication development of babies with early developmental delays.

A young child sitting on the ground looking up at an adult, also on the floor, who is conversing with them. The child is smiling.

More on the Research

Inklings evolved from the ‘Video-feedback Intervention to promote Positive Parenting’ (VIPP) program which arose from Leiden University in The Netherlands, published first in 2008 (Juffer, Bakerman-Kranenburg and Van Ijzendoorm, 2008). The efficacy and safety of VIPP has since been shown through 12 randomised controlled trials.

Several years later the University of Manchester adapted this protocol to iBASIS-VIPP, with an aim to provide support to parents with children at a high likelihood of autism. The first feasibility and acceptability study on this protocol was published in the United Kingdom in 2013 (Green et al., 2013). Since then, the efficacy and safety of the program has been evaluated through rigorous randomised controlled trials in the UK and (Green et al., 2015, 2017) and in Australia (Whitehouse et al., 2019, 2021).

Both of these trials followed children for up to age three (two years after their involvement in the program) and found that iBASIS-VIPP was both safe and effective in promoting child development and positive parenting, not only for babies at a high likelihood of autism, but any baby who is showing a delay in social and communication skills.

The program has since been adapted from a research study protocol to a clinical training manual in 2022, named iBASIS. In Australia, the program delivered to families is called Inklings: powered by iBASIS. Inklings is entirely child-led (as opposed to parent-led), meaning it guides parents to follow the natural interests of the child, rather than encouraging the baby to engage in interests or behaviours that are not natural to the child.

Since the trials, consultation has been conducted with more than 100 autistic adults from Australia, US and UK, which found strong agreement with the key aspects of the Inklings Program. These results are in the process of being published. Several other international studies are also underway.  


Green, J, Charman, T, Pickles A, et al. (2015). Parent-mediated intervention versus no intervention for infants at high risk of autism: a parallel, single-blind, randomised trial. Lancet Psychiatry, 2, 133–40.

Green J, Pickles A, Pasco G, et al. (2017). Randomised trial of a parent-mediated intervention for infants at high risk for autism: longitudinal outcomes to age 3 years. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 58, 1330–40.

Green, J, Wan MW, Guiraud J, et al; BASIS Team. (2013). Intervention for infants at risk of developing autism: a case series. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(11): 2502-2514.

Whitehouse AJO, Varcin KJ, Alvares GA, et al. (2019). Pre-emptive intervention versus treatment as usual for infants showing early behavioural risk signs of autism spectrum disorder: a single-blind, randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 3(9), 605-615.

Whitehouse AJO, Varcin KJ, Pillar S, et al. (2021). Effect of preemptive intervention on developmental outcomes among infants showing early signs of autism: a randomized clinical trial of outcomes to diagnosis. JAMA Pediatrics, 175(11), e213290.

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