|TEACCH Method - Learn more about the TEACCH Method - Bright Tots - Information on child development - Autism information. www.brighttots.com
TEACCH is a complete program of services for autistic people which makes use of various associated techniques depending
upon the individual person's needs and emerging capabilities. The main goal of TEACCH is to help autistic children grow up to
their maximum ability by adult age. Advocates of TEACCH state that it aims for a 'whole life' approach in supporting children,
adolescents, and adults with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder such as Autism or Asperger syndrome, through the help of visual
information, structure and predictability. There is an emphasis on a continuance of care so where services are available, it is
possible for an individual with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder to be supported from two years of age into adulthood.
TEACCH principles involve changing the behavior and skill level of the person as well as developing an environment that
matches the person’s needs. It is a state program that tries to respond to the needs of autistic people using the best available
approaches and methods known so far for educating them and to provide the maximum level of independence that they can
achieve. This includes helping them understand the world that surrounds them, acquiring communication skills that will enable
them to relate to other people and giving them the necessary capability to be able to make choices concerning their own lives.
The TEACCH method considers the main focus of treatment to be ‘autism’ as a whole, rather than on ‘behavior’.
TEACCH is a structured technique specialized to the person’s visual processing strengths by organizing the physical structure
of the room and providing a visual conduct to supply information about activities. Structured teaching places heavy reliance
upon teaching through visual means due to the difficulties that children with autism have with processing verbal information.
Visual structure is provided at a variety of levels such as organizing areas of the classroom, providing a daily schedule using
pictures or written words, as well as visual instructions and visual organization signaling the beginning and end of tasks.
This technique is based upon the observation that children with autism learn and connect information differently than other
children. It assumes that many inappropriate behaviors of children with autism are the result of difficulty understanding what is
expected of them. Educational strategies are established individually on the basis of a detailed assessment of the autistic person
learning abilities, trying to identify potential for acquisitions rather than deficits. TEACCH also involves frequent program
revisions according to the child's maturation and progress.
The TEACCH method gives means of communication to the person these comprehension and expression capabilities will enable
him/her to understand better what is being told/asked and to express his/her needs and feelings by other means than behavior
The assessment called PEP; Psycho Educational Profile tries to identify areas where the person falls behind, areas where the
skill has yet to be mastered, and areas where the skill is emerging. These domains are then put in an education program for the
person. This is a must since there is a great variability of skills, even in the same autistic person, from one domain of ability to
the other. As opposed to behavior modification, these strategies do not work on the behavior directly but on underlying
conditions that will promote learning experiences. They also make use of recent cognitive psychology research results about
some differences in particular areas of brain processing in autistic people as opposed to typical people.
Direct behavior modification is reserved for those behaviors that endanger the person and for which the above strategy didn't
work, at least so far. This is very rare. The intention is toward improving communication skills and character to the maximum
of the child’s potential, using education as a means to achieve that goal. When behavior problems occur, they are not treated
directly either. The approach calls for efforts to understand the underlying reasons for this behavior problem: anxiety, physical
pain, difficulty with the task, unpredictable changes, boredom, etc...
The principles and concepts guiding the TEACCH system have been summarized as:
- Improved adaptation: through the two strategies of improving skills by means of education and of modifying the environment
to accommodate deficits.
- Parent collaboration: parents work with professionals as co-therapists for their children so that techniques can be continued at
- Assessment for individualized treatment: unique educational programs are designed for all individuals on the basis of regular
assessments of abilities.
- Structured teaching: it has been found that children with autism benefit more from a structured educational environment than
from free approaches.
- Skill enhancement: assessment identifies emerging skills and work then focuses upon these. (This approach is also applied to
staff and parent training.)
- Cognitive and behavior therapy: educational procedures are guided by theories of cognition and behavior suggesting that
difficult behavior may result from underlying problems in perception and understanding.
- Generalist training: professionals in the TEACCH system are trained as generalists who understand the whole child, and do not
specialize as psychologists, speech therapists etc.
Characteristics of Structured Teaching
• Emphasis is placed on developing individual plans to help people with autism and their families to live together more
effectively by reducing or replacing autism related behaviors that interfere with independence and quality of life
• The physical layout of the classroom is arranged in a way that avoids distractions
• Materials are clearly marked and arranged
• Individual needs of students are considered when planning the physical structure on the classroom as well as the
• Schedules are a must! Individuals with autism typically have difficulties with logical memory and organization of time.
Class and individual schedules help to overcome such difficulties.
• Prompts and reinforcements are used in an organized, systematic matter to build success
• Directions are given both verbally and with alternative forms such as writing, PECS, or gestures.
• The focus of teaching is on strengths and to correct as a “remedy” to their difficulties
• Takes a broad-based environmental approach by examining diverse areas and components of the individual’s life
• Most effective when applied across age groups and agencies
• Guides individuals with autism are prepared to live and work more effectively at home, at school, and in the community
|TEACCH - Treatment and Education of Autistic and
Related Communication-Handicapped Children
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