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Treatment and Education of Autistic and other Communication handicapped Children

TEACCH program is based on Research Project by Eric Shopler and Robert Reichler initiated in 1964 in North Carolina State, which provided the basis for TEACCH program that Eric Schopler 1966 established at the University of North Carolina. TEACCH program provides rehabilitation and services for autistic children and their families.

Currently, Division TEACCH's director Gary Mesibov is responsible for the program. Services offered by Division TEACCH includes diagnosis, assessment, structured teaching, parents' groups, educational services for professionals and parents as well as research activities. (Raudasoja 2006, 39-40.)

TEACCH program

Key principles of TEACCH program

Improving social inclusion

Autistic person's activities support and organization so that he can live and work meaningfully at home, school and society. These objectives can be achieved by reducing and changing the autistic behavior. Reintegration is supported by communication development, through social skills practice, increasing the capacity of the individual and by altering the environment. (Raudasoja 2006, 40.)

Parent Collaboration

Rehabilitation, education, planning other services, goal definition and practice of transferring the activities are carried out in cooperation with workers and families (Raudasoja 2006, 40).

Diagnosis and Evaluation

Diagnosis and evaluation are based on tests, interviews and observation, to assess linguistic and social skills, work skills and self-reliance. Based on evaluations rehabilitation plan is made for persons with autism in cooperation with their family. (Raudasoja 2006, 40.)

Rehabilitation based on structured teaching

Teaching starts from a personal study plan, taking into account the person's individual development and learning characteristics. Communication, social skills, practical skills, support for autonomy as well as preparation for adulthood are emphasized by education. In addition to teaching may also be required other services such as speech therapy. (Raudasoja 2006, 40.)

Skill enhancement by identifying emerging skills, strengths and interests

Skills development is based on emerging skills, strengths and interests. The goal is to learn independent use of learned skills. To reach the objectives may require modification of functions , environmental structuring and visual materials. (Raudasoja 2006, 41.)

Rehabilitation program is based on cognitive behavioral theory

The theoretical framework for the rehabilitation can be found in cognitive and behavior analytic theory. For an autistic child it can be difficult to parse the individual observations and form entities due to sensory disabilities. For him it can be difficult to perceive the events and the related beginnings and endings, the duration, places and persons. Autistic children need the support of a structured visual teaching, because they often have difficulties to receive and understand spoken information. The day is organized in series of events with the respective visual symbols. (Hakala 2001, 91; Raudasoja 2006, 41.)

Staff training

Staff training includes general awareness of autism, and evaluation and rehabilitation both in theory and practice (Raudasoja 2006, 41).