TEACCH is an intervention which was developed by the late Eric Schopler and is managed by the University of North Carolina in the USA.
It is designed specifically for individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is now widely used.
TEACCH is a structure teaching model which enables pupils with ASD to understand their environment and work independently.
Developing the use of TEACCH at Oaklands
As the number of pupils with autism increases at Oaklands we are developing our provision specifically for our autistic pupils.
We aim to use the TEACCH system alongside other systems and the national curriculum, to promote the overall development of our pupils, and help them to make sense of the world around them.
Each pupil will be using appropriate TEACCH structure according to their individual needs. This is based on the Structured Teaching Model:
The principles of TEACCH
- A respect and understanding of autism
- The Achievement of Independent Work
- All interventions are based on detailed assessment
- Individualisation to each pupil’s needs
- Working in Collaboration with parents
Five reasons for using structure
1) It helps the individual with autism to understand.
2) It may act as a calming influence – when we understand about the environment, we become less agitated.
3) It helps the individual with autism to learn better – visual cues help the individual to focus on the relevant information.
4) Structure is the prosthetic device that will, we hope, help the autistic individual to achieve independence.
5) Structure can form a basis for behaviour management.
This refers to the way that we set up and organise each area on the classroom, including where we place furniture and materials.
It helps the person with autism to know where they should do certain things and where things are kept.
1) Clear physical and visual boundaries
• These help the child understand where each area begins and ends. They help establish contexts and segment the environment.
2) Minimise visual and auditory distractions
• This helps the child focus on the concept and not the details. It may involve covering windows or other distractions, and thinking carefully about where to position a certain child.
3) Develop basic teaching areas
- Transition • Snack
- Play area
- Group teaching • 1:1 teaching area
- Independent work area (for each pupil)
Daily Schedule / Timetable:
The daily schedule visually tells child in a way that he can easily understand it, what activities will occur and in what sequence.
Schedules should take a form the pupil can manipulate independently e.g. pieces attached on Velcro to carry and match to a transition board, pieces pinned to a schedule to carry and post, schedules which are cover or ticked as activities occur.
Schedules will be of a length appropriate to a child’s needs from; Teacher lead First and next Part day Half day Whole day
The work system is the way that work is structured so that the pupil knows what to do. The individual work system provides four pieces of information;
- What work?
- How much work?
- When am I finished?
- What happens next?
We know that many individuals with autism rely heavily on visual cues. By putting in a highly visual structure, we teach them to capitalise on their visual aptitude and strengths, and minimise their deficits of auditory processing.
1) Visual instructions –These show the pupil how to complete the task and can, in particular help with sequencing.
2) Visual organisation – Organising the materials in containers and in the order of the task helps the pupil understand what needs to be done
3) Visual clarity – Highlight important information, e.g. emphasise specific parts of the instructions. We can do this by:
- Colour coding
- Quantity of materials
- Make things obvious!
The work designed to be carried out in the independent work area is known as TEACCH tasks. These are self contained activities which contain all the materials and instructions required for the pupil to do complete them independently. Tasks can be contained in boxes, baskets, in deep or flat trays, in plastic wallets, in folder, in files or on clipboards. One pupil may be able to access tasks of a variety of designs.
Tasks are designed to individual needs, skills and interests. Tasks should be designed to be motivating to the pupil.
Pupils need to be taught how to carry out tasks before they are presented in the independent work area.