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Developmental model: Structured Teaching (TEACCH)

Project TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped CHildren) was established in 1972 at the University of North Carolina, Chappel Hill. It is based on a cognitive developmental research.

Early research: Wundt, Piaget, Gardener, Sperry

More modern research: Schopler, Mesibov, Bristol-Powers, Cox, VanBourgen, Watson & Lord

Goals of Structured Teaching: early and lifespan support to gain independent work and functioning and the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities into a community that accepts and adapts to needs of disabled. With this approach, Structure fits the “culture of autism” and encourages a cultivation of strengths and interests.

Assessment: ongoing through the PEP (Psychoeducational Profile). The assessment includes ratings of passing skill, emerging skill (high, middle, lower), and failing skill.

The curriculum includes understanding autism, developing appropriate structures to help the person with autism successfully live and work within society, promoting independent work skills, emphasizing strengths and interests, fostering communication, and developing social and leisure outlets.

Structured Teaching includes:
• Work routines (finish basket)
• Physical structure (work area vs recreation area)
• Transition schedules (object/pictures/print words that show where and when)
• Visual instructions (how to do tasks)
• Prompts and prompt fading
• Use of motivations

Structured Teaching Resources and Contacts:
• Mary Ann Seaton OTAC/Autism Collaborative Project (503) 364-9943 (
• Sharone Lee, Threshold, (503) 375-9462 (
• University of North Carolina, Division TEACCH (
• Book: Teaching Spontaneous Communication to Autistic & Developmentally Handicapped Children by L Watson, Lord & Schopler