Treatment and Education of Autistic
and other Communication Handicapped Children

What is TEACCH?

Treatment and Education of Autistic and other related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH) was developed at the University of North Carolina in the 1970s. (For more information visit www.teacch.com.)

Designed to support individuals with ASD, TEACCH is a service delivery model that utilizes structured teaching, highly visual planning and organization strategies, and predictable environments to increase the overall independence of learners on the autism spectrum.

Environmental Modification And Structured Teaching

The TEACCH approach to educating students with autism starts with the acknowledgment of the “Culture of Autism.”  TEACCH embraces the notion that environments can be modified to better reflect the learning profiles of persons on the spectrum.  TEACCH emphasizes that autistic characteristics are different but not necessarily inferior to the traits of typically-developing persons.  Environments need to be built to match their learning preferences.

TEACCH classroom used to educate students with Autism and Challenging behaviors

Structured Teaching is the foundation of TEACCH service delivery. These structures include:

Physical Structure:

The arrangement of the classroom can help grow independence.  Students learn when to expect assistance and to be independent.

Daily Schedule:

A systematic schedule shows the student when activities will occur. Schedules can use objects, pictures, or words.

Work System:

Structured work systems tell students what work to do, how to know they are done, and the order of tasks.

Visual Supports:

Visual supports help show the important aspects of a student’s work.  They can be picture instructions or cues.  The goal is to support correct task completion.

Organizing the Classroom to Facilitate Learning for
Students with Autism and other Communication Challenges

Autism and Challenging behaviorsTEACCH-based classrooms create distinctions between the different areas of the room.  Areas such as independent work, group work, and leisure time areas are separated.  The TEACCH system helps students transition between the various locations in the classroom. As students move to different areas within the classroom, visual supports provide cues to show them what to do and how to do it.  TEACCH programs can decrease teachers’ need to verbally cue each task.  This can improve students’ independence. When students are able to predict upcoming activities and understand expectations, they perform more appropriate responses.

The Benefits of TEACCH

TEACCH Square pegs used to illustrate education for people with Autism and Challenging behaviors

TEACCH can be an effective way to support students with autism who have trouble staying on task, doing tasks without teacher help, or making transitions. TEACCH recognizes that prompt dependency hurts independence.

TEACCH can help prepare people with autism for life outside of school.  TEACCH systems can be shared with employers and residences. There is emerging research that TEACCH approach is an effective teaching method for individuals with ASD.

Qualification to Provide TEACCH

Effective TEACCH programs should be designed by educators, therapists, and administrators who have received professional training.  This consists of 5-day workshops by TEACCH professionals and co-trainers.  TEACCH is currently used across the country and in many schools for students with ASD.

AHRC NYC professionals train to learn more about methods for educating people with Autism and Challenging behaviors

TEACCH in AHRC New York City Schools

The TEACCH approach is used in all AHRC NYC schools.  Many staff have received professional development in TEACCH.  Teachers have learned about classroom arrangement, Structured Teaching, visual support, task organization, and other fundamental TEACCH methods.  Over 10 school leaders and teachers in our schools have traveled to North Carolina for in-depth TEACCH training.  These highly-trained staff oversee TEACCH approaches to ensure that implementation is effective.