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TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped CHildren)

TEACCH is a special education program, developed by Eric Schopler, Ph.D. and colleagues at the University of North Carolina, in the early 1970s. TEACCH's intervention approach is called "Structured Teaching".

TEACCH is an evidence-based service, training, and research program for individuals of all ages and skill levels with autism spectrum disorders. Established in the early 1970s by Eric Schopler and colleagues, the TEACCH program has worked with thousands of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families. TEACCH provides clinical services such as diagnostic evaluations, parent training and parent support groups, social play and recreation groups, individual counseling for higher-functioning clients, and supported employment. In addition, TEACCH conducts training nationally and internationally and provides consultation for teachers, residential care providers, and other professionals from a variety of disciplines. Research activities include psychological, educational, and biomedical studies.

Structured Teaching is based on what TEACCH calls the "Culture of Autism". The Culture of Autism refers to the relative strengths and difficulties shared by people with autism that are relevant to how they learn. Structured Teaching is designed to capitalize on the relative strength and preference for processing information visually, while taking into account the recognized difficulties.

Children with autism are assessed to identify emerging skills and work then focuses on these to enhance them. In Structured Teaching, an individualized plan is developed for each student rather than using a standard curriculum. The plan creates a highly structured environment to help the individual map out activities. The physical and social environment is organized using visual supports so that the child can more easily predict and understand daily activities and respond in appropriate ways. Visual supports are also used to make individual tasks understandable.

TEACCH programs are usually conducted in a classroom setting. TEACCH-based home programs are also available and are sometimes used in conjunction with a TEACCH-based classroom program. Parents work with professionals as co-therapists for their children so that techniques can be continued at home.

TEACCH is available at the TEACCH centers in North Carolina and by TEACCH-trained psychologists, special education teachers, speech therapists and TEACCH providers in other areas of the country.





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