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TEACCH, also known as Structured TEACCHing is an educational program developed at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The acronym initially stood for Training and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-handicapped Children, though it is not generally referred to by anything other than TEACCH or Structured TEACHHING now.
The primary principles of TEACCH center on structuring the physical environment of the individual on the autism spectrum, including using visual supports to make the sequence of daily activities predictable and understandable. For example, visual schedules and maps are used and tasks are taught in a very deliberate and step by step manner. Materials are clearly labeled or marked and arranged according to how the student should use them, and areas of the classroom where different activities occur are often separate and clearly defined according to work purpose. Each individual student's strengths and needs must be considered to maximize the benefit of the program. For example, there may be a classroom schedule outlining the events of the day as well as individual schedules for each student in the classroom, which are particular to what each student is working on, including independent work and jobs in the classroom or within the school.
TEACCH also systemizes the use of prompts and how directions are given. For example, depending on a student's level of understanding, verbal instructions should be direct and ordered ("first, sort the shapes by color at your desk; then, go to the play area and choose a toy to play with...) and accompanied by gestures or a written schedule. Teachers can use samples or pictures of finished work to show students how to complete a task. Pictures and written instructions (similar to a recipe) can be used to help students complete sequential tasks in order.
TEACCH can be used with all ages, and is not limited to children. For example, it can be beneficial in supported employment programs. It is used regardless of ability level as it is an organizing framework that can be tailored to need and ability. TEACCH principles can be used in any educational setting as well as at work, at home, and in the community. Parents can learn the intervention from teachers and therapists so that family members can use the same techniques to develop skills at home.
The TEACCH approach has been recognized as an Emerging Treatment by the National Standards Project.