TEACCH Method For Autism: Ultimate Guide

Today we’ll cover everything you should know about the TEACCH method for autism.

steven zauderer
Steven Zauderer
September 20, 2023
min read

What is the TEACCH method?

TEACCH stands for the Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication Handicapped Children. It's typically referred to as the TEACCH method and was created for kids that are diagnosed with autism. Autism itself is sometimes referred to as ASD.

What is the TEACCH method?

The TEACCH method was initially developed by Doctors Robert Reichler and Eric Schopler at the University of North Carolina over 50 years ago. The technique creates a way of visual learning that's structured, where it's usually called Structured Teaching on its own.

One primary benefit to using the TEACCH method is the way it stays specific to ASD and accounts for autistic traits and a child's problems.

This makes the intervention individualized to fit the needs of every child.

It's created with interventions that are both structured and continuous, which are highly adaptable to unique sets of surroundings.

At the same time, they provide a different way to communicate training to the child. Additionally, the method is compatible with various other therapies and approaches.

Taking into consideration people's advantages to assist them in clarifying the forecasting of events, children can become more independent in controlling how things change and operate around them.

The purpose of the TEACCH method is to assist kids with autism in getting them to better accept their environment through perception. This is done through visual cues.

The TEACCH method doesn't discount parents. Instead, it revolves around learning that's structured on their child's style of taking in knowledge. Parents learn how to evaluate and administer support for their child that's individualized, even in a home setting.

What are the key principles of the TEACCH method?

Relying on the fundamentals of structured teaching, the TEACCH method relies on the principles of organization of a child's physical surroundings, easy-to-predict activity sequences, visual schedules, flexibility and routines, activity systems, and activities that are structured visually. Here are the following in more detail:

1. Organization of physical environment

This focuses on making the surroundings conducive to taking in knowledge. Thus, it should be intriguing and adaptable for kids with ASD.

The environment's layout must account for the child's style of learning and the various sensory differences they possess.

The setting involves placing furniture in a careful arrangement, with emphasis on learning aids set in designated spots.

When this occurs, it can lower bouts of stimulation, put a cap on the number of distractions, and mitigate anxiety. The result is a better or more consistent focus on work.

For such environments to be impactful, the age and learning requirements of a child should determine the way that it's organized. Boundaries must exist so that instances of wandering around are avoided. Visual cues and carefully-worded messages for verbal autistic kids are essential.

2. The sequence of activities and scheduling

When the surroundings and environment are predictable, it can lower an autistic child's anxiety, more so when activities closely follow linearly. The sequence of activities should be detailed by visual signals.

3. Visual arrangements

Communication through visual means is typically easier to take in for kids and is easier for them to access.

When a child with ASD goes with a routine by viewing it in the form of a schedule, the objective is easier to understand and lowers instances of poor behavior.

Furthermore, visual scheduling helps create independent and more competent children, specifically when they figure out how to use it in their ordinary routine.

4. Routines and Flexibility

The purpose of routines is to make activities and undertakings easier to predict. This lowers instances of confusion and anxiousness. Another purpose helps the people watching them prevent the child from creating their routines, one that isn't going to produce wanted results.

5. Structure work and activity systems

Structure and activity systems help children to clearly understand tasks, maintain focus, and finish tasks without assistance. Questions regarding the tasks of the activity, the amount of work that's needed for a certain period, how the child sees progress, and when tasks are completed are answered.

Children with ASD that have a hard time understanding language can answer the questions by using symbols, photos, colors, objects, and numbers.

When a matching activity is done, for instance, a child can use items such as magnets to attach appropriate photos as an assurance of understanding whether color or shape matching is necessary. However, children that take in language better, they may do better with tasks that are written down.

6. Visually structured assignments

All assignments should be easy to clarify visually to an autistic child. If they have trouble touching, seeing, or holding something, they most likely won't engage in the activities being conducted.

When visual instructions are utilized well, they let the child know what they must do. This is visual in structure, while visual organization revolves around getting the materials needed to finish tasks neatly and stably. 

On the other hand, visual clarity assists ASD children to understand what they're doing, as it's clearer for them and not overwhelming to their senses.


What are the benefits of the TEACCH method?

The TEACCH method is as follows:

  • It allows them to acquire more social skills
  • Changes their perception of social environments for the better
  • Helps in impacting the adaptive behaviors of children with ASD
  • Boosts better social reciprocity, resulting in lowered stress levels for parents
  • Can mitigate self-harm

Is TEACCH an evidence-based practice?

In a review of hundreds of autism-related studies on interventions, it was found that TEACCH programs have the best evidence of every other program that's recognized and used by therapists and psychologists. Some of the benefits with the most evidence were related to improved motor skills and cognitive abilities.

How effective is TEACCH?

TEACCH is effective with people diagnosed with autism at all levels of severity. It aims to teach structure and skills individually, yet it also boosts development in the language. As such many speech therapists recommend the TEACCH programs as well.

What age is TEACCH for?

The TEACCH method can be used for people with autism at any age or level of skill.

Who provides TEACCH services?

TEACCH services are provided by psychologists, special education teachers, social workers, speech therapists, and residential care providers. To be trained on the method, trainees are required to be certified. This can be done online and as an in-person course.


steven zauderer

CEO of CrossRiverTherapy - a national ABA therapy company based in the USA.

Table of Contents