Peer -reviewed research on the efficacy of TEACCH

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This topic contains 42 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  sftah 4 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #5239

    Anonymous
  • #5240

    Anonymous

    (http://autismandaspergersinthefamily.freeforums.org/teacch-t40.html)its Nexus. I try to connect and it says connection refused. Is that a problem my end with the network?

  • #5241

    Anonymous
  • #5242

    sftah
    Participant

    Latest reviewComparative Efficacy of LEAP, TEACCH and Non-Model-Specific Special Education Programs for Preschoolerswith Autism Spectrum DisordersBrian A. Boyd • Kara Hume • Matthew T. McBee •Michael Alessandri • Anibal Gutierrez •LeAnne Johnson • Laurie Sperry • Samuel L. Odom Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

  • #3977

    Anonymous

    Note: SFTAH transferred this from old data base when site was updated, thus date and name lost, all dates 2006 & 2007 changed during changeover to odd dates.Hello, I've been looking around on the net and it seems that there isn't much independent evidence to measure the effects of  TEACCH as a method of education. This is pretty astonishing since it is what LEAs in the UK rely on in their special schools and the NAS promotes TEACCH by hosting training days and conferences.Has anyone come across any independent peer-reviewed research in independent (not TEACCH sponsored) journals that demonstrates the effect of TEACCH in the short and in the long-term as the method of education children with autism? What are the cognitive outcomes, the skills learned, the ability to function in every day life for children educated using TEACCH as opposed to other methods, including ABA?I should welcome reference to any relevant papers, and if possible, a link to getting them on-line.Thank you,Margaret

  • #5201

    Anonymous

    The TEACCH approach was developed in North Carolina in the 1970s, and is now probably the most well-known and commonly used intervention in the UK. It is based on the conceptualisation that children with ASD are visual learners, and has developed a model of ‘structured teaching’ to teach to these strengths. Unlike some other approaches (e.g. ABA, Option) TEACCH does not aim to ‘cure’ or ‘remove’ autism – it considers ASD to be a lifelong condition.

    Research supports the benefits of the use of structure and visual supports to people with ASD; and where the approach is used within the home as well as at school, positive results have been reported for both children and families. However, little research has been carried out into the effectiveness of the approach. Some of that which has is internal research from Division TEACCH. Apart from that, there have been only a few small-scale studies in the USA and Europe, listed below, there is little published evidence on its effectiveness and outcomes, and further research remains needed.

    Howley, M., Preece, D. & Arnold, T. (2001) Multidisciplinary use of ‘structured teaching’ to promote consistency of approach for children with autistic spectrum disorder, Educational and Child Psychology, 18, 41-52.

    Hume K and Odom S. (2006) Effects of an Individual Work System on the Independent Functioning of Students with Autism, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2006 Oct 27; [Epub ahead of print]

    Lanning, L. (2000) The Effectiveness of the TEACCH Programme. Norwich: University of East Anglia Social Work Monographs.

    Ozonoff S and Cathcart K. (1998) Effectiveness of a home program intervention for young children with autism, Journal of Autism and

    Panerai S, Ferrante L and Caputo V. (1997) The TEACCH strategy in mentally retarded children with autism: a multidimensional assessment.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 27(3):345-7.

    Panerai S, Ferrante L and Zingale M. (2002) Benefits of the Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH) programme as compared with a non-specific approach, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 46(Pt 4):318-27.

    Siaperas P and Beadle-Brown J. (2006) A case study of the use of a structured teaching approach in adults with autism in a residential home in Greece, Autism, 10(4):330-43.

    And others, Hope this helps

  • #5202

    Anonymous

    I too, have wondered a lot about why TEACCH is so popular in the U.K.

    Gary Mesibov and his company obviously are making a living by promoting the teacch concept but in terms of being referred to Gary Mesibov for “research” or understanding any “efficacy” of teacch, this is far from scientific as Mesibov has a financial vested interest.

    I read the recent article by Patricia Howlin who states there is not enough evidence that teacch is effective in teaching autistic children (by the way, i am the mom of an autistic child) and I too would love to know why the UK is using a system for teaching children that has not been proved.

    In terms of determining whether children make any gains with teacch, its very hard to establish in the UK because not much else exists in the schools except teacch. If we do not know what “sour” tastes like, how can we know when we taste something that is “sweet”, i.e. compare?

    My own personal opinion is that teacch is not appropriate for many autistic children, is outdated and provides a very damaging cookie cutter approach to our children, who are all so very unique from each other.

    My own child is not visual, he is very aural. He hates picture schedules and has very good receptive ability. Further i do not believe, like many other parents, that autistic children should be considered living in their own “culture”. Very few teachers will ever understand what it is like to “live” with autism and i think teacch provides a method for teachers to deal with a “condition” that they are often fearful of and simply dont have the time to explore on an individual basis.

    I believe teacch offers a panacea to parents, especially parents who are new to the diagnosis who do not know which way to turn and who will grab anything that is handed to them, out of sheer desperation.

    teacch fits this bill, in my opinion and in this year, 2007, i am amazed that it is still being used almost exclusively in the UK when other countries have moved on from it. We in the UK should be using the best educational interventions in the world, and teacch is not it. The fact that we are “winging” it with teacch, an unproven and unscientific mode of educational intervention frankly stuns me.

    the proof will be in the pudding in 10 or 15 years time when a study will inevitably be done tracking the children who had teacch used in their schools compared to other approaches. I only hope the schools prepare themselves for the onslaught of condemnation from the parents.

  • #5203

    Anonymous

    A meta-ana lysis of the existing research on the TEACCH approach was carried out for the DfEE by Rita Jordan et al from the University of Birmingham in Sept 1988. Some of the later studies cited before aren’t in it, but the reference is below.

    Simpson has done similar work more recently in the USA. References for his ***yses are also attached below.

    In all of these ana lyses, TEACCH is identified as promising, though further research is needed. Simpson’s journal article also usefully highlights some of the difficulties inherent in attempting to obtain ‘gold standard’ scientific data in the field of ASD.

    Jordan, R., Jones, G. & Murray, D. (1998) Educational Interventions for Children with Autism: A Literature Review of Recent and Current Research. Department for Education and Employment Research Report RR77.Sudbuty: DfEE Publications. Pages 79-90.

    Simps Simpson, R.L. (2005) Autism Spectrum Disorders: Interventions and treatments for Children and Youth. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

    Simp Simpson, R.L (2005) Evidence-based practices and students with autism spectrum disorders, Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 20 (3), 140-149.

  • #5204

    Anonymous

    Hi Janice,

    I acknowledge what you seem to be saying about TEACCH but would have to disagree and would be interested, as you are so against it, what other intervention you feel is more appropatiate to meet the needs of people with ASD?

    Are these comparible with TEACCH in that it accepts ASD is a life long disablity and works with the autism rather than aiming to cure it.

    I think the comment about Gary Mezibov having a ‘vested interested’ may be true but surely you could say the same about the majority of other interventions Eg Son-Rise program. Just because someone has a vested interest doesn’t mean the intervention is wrong.

    Similarly when you say TEACCH hasn’t been ‘proved’ can you show that other interventions have.

    I acknowledge your comment about ‘sweet and sour but’ if schools and parents genuinely feel that TEACCH has had a positive impact on their child and that they are learning then surely it is acceptable for them to continue with an intervention they know works – no one wants their child to be a guinea pig for something that may not work.

    You seem to be suggesting that TEACCH is used for all children with ASD in exactly the same way. Of course you are right all children with ASD are unique and, if the right observations, assessments and reflection of the work implimented is done then TEACCH interventions would and definatley should be designed and introduced to each individual child to meet their needs at any given time. This will take into account their levels of anxiety, communication and functioning, all of which can change very quickly.

    If a school are introducing a blanket approach to TEACCH – that is one size fits all, then it will fail but that is a shortcoming of the school and not the intervention.

    I appreciate that, as you say, your child is an aural learner and therefore TEACCH may not be appropriate for him. However it is generally acknowledged that people with ASD are predominately visual learners and I have certainly found this to be the case in my work. Again the visual supports implimented need to be designed specifcially for that child in that given situation.

    I have generally found, when talking and working with parents, that they understand the problems they and their children are experiencing when they look at it in the context of a ‘culture of autism’ and, although some parents don’t understand it i have not yet found a parent against this way of looking it their child.

    If, as you say, few teachers will ever understand what it is like to live with autism and don’t have time to explore this on an individaul basis then using TEACCH as an intervention would be no less producive than any other. Indeed, this may be the case for some mainstream schools but in our autism specific provision we have some brilliant teachers and LSAs who, as much as any of us can, do look at the world with an ‘autism head’ on.

    My experince working with families is not that they grab at anything, namely TEACCH. Often this is a long way down the line after they have explored other interventions, ones that seem to be promoting a cure. Many of our families are not ready to look at TEACCH until they have come to terms with the diagnosis and the fact that it is a lifelong condition.

    I am far from as certain as you seem to be that a future study into TEACCH will result in an onslaught from parents to schools and again I would ask what alternative you feel is more appropriate.

  • #5205

    Anonymous

    Hi Jayne. Yes, my child had a very unsuccessful experience with teacch. This became painfully evident to me when we pulled him from his teacch class and started an ABA program at home and implemented an ABA trained therapist in his school environment. His progress was staggering. I still keep in contact with a few of the parents whose children attend my child’s old school and my child has progressed immeasurably compared to their children. I think its actually painful for these parents to talk to me about my boy.

    I think you are probably quite able to answer most of the questions you ask of me, yourself and I have outlined some of the major problems i have with the teacch program already.

    I do not believe in “cures” for autism as autism is not a disease. It has been referred to many things through the ages, including “mentally retarded, autistically “handicapped” (as this web site used to refer to it), a disorder, a condition, etc etc.

    However, what i do know is that my own child is extremely bright and given the appropriate environment and provided with trained individuals who specialise in child development and behavioural intervention, children on the autistic spectrum can be prevented from developing those behaviours and “outward” appearances that isolate them from the world, making them so “different” that they cannot cope.

    More importantly, however, autistic children can and regularly do develop the cognitive ability to progress in their education without the need for outside assistance. There is no communicaton or behavioural program written into teacch and this alone should put parents off. The two most important things our kids need are not available through teacch.

    The philosophy and ethos of teacch and mesibov et al is what i find particularly galling and extremely damaging. I do not believe that autism is a “culture”. Though i respect the fact my child is on the autistic spectrum, i do not know what that actually means for him as he is so young, and he is so very different from every autistic child on the planet, much less any child, autistic or not. It would be a very rare teacher who would claim to know what autism is, particularly for my child, better than what i know it is, yet that is what i get from teacch teachers. They have so much to learn, but the ethos of teacch wraps autism up very nicely in a package that is so “manageable” for the uninitiated.

    There is no one “AUTISM”, and though you may have gleaned insight from your work to observe that children with ASD are often “visual”, this in and of itself does not have a lot of meaning for the entire autistic population, particularly in terms of addressing their educational needs. Most boys are rambunctious and like rough and tumble, that does not mean that every preschool child should get a piggy back ride and a judo lesson in class or that it would have any efficacy.

    It is my view and the view of thousands of other parents that autism is a condition caused by an environmental assault. Some parents attribute this to the MMR/heavy metal/vaccine toxicity explanation, others attribute autism as a result of compromised immune systems unable to “detoxify”. Others believe it is genetic and “unstoppable”.

    I only see what i see with my own child, the child who was perfectly “normal” 3 days prior to his vaccinations, and who 3 days after was taken into hospital with legs the size of balloons and who developed deafness in one ear. (despite his deafness he overcame this and hears better than i do!)

    This was not a “culture” my boy entered into, it was a prison, not of his choosing. Teacch has no right to impose its philosophy about autism on unsuspecting parents, particularly parents who are forced to accept the teacch option because nothing else exists. Teacch may serve those parents who are at a loss to explain autism, it may lessen the pain of parents, to convince them that autism is a “culture” but i can assure you no parent i know thinks that way, not one!

    I know without the shadow of a doubt what happened to my boy and i find it particularly irking that those involved in the education of our children have the audacity to try and encourage parents to believe that autism is a “world” or that the autistic child should not be encouraged to live in our world. Autistic children did not choose to be autistic and my own boy spends most of his time trying to enter “my” world and the world of his NT peers.

    that is my opinion. Other parents are entitled to their own opinion. But in the face of very little option for parents to choose what educational approach they want for their children, i think it is wholly unfair that teacch has been hoisted upon parents. I dont remember being consulted in 1996 when teacch was adopted in my area. I do not recall parents being asked to join public consultations to discuss what THEY wanted for their children. The decision to implement teacch was generally made by social services, the LEAs etc. How convenient that they ignored all the expert parents out there who probably had much to say about the matter.

    Teacch offers a cheap and cheerful solution to teachers who simply dont have the time to truly understand our children. It is damaging because the ethos of teacch is flawed, not represented in any real truth about autism, but based on presuppositions which may or may not be held by parents of autistic children, many of whom have been convinced of teacch efficacy due to lack of option/choices.

    Children in teacch programs are kept so busy “feeding” their autism that they may appear to be happy. But in terms of any real “progress” or gains made by children in the teacch programs, there is no evidence, and there won’t be any time soon, to gauge whether children in the teacch programs are succeeding with their lives. Where is the evidence, where are the control studies?? None exist and mesibov doesnt want them to exist. How long has teacch been around for now, and no real evidence of its efficacy???????? This compares very unfavourably to the mountains of research on behavioural analysis and autistic children. We are humans and we all have basically the same reasons for our behaviours. Same as autistic children. Autism doesnt bring with it these “magical and weird” behaviours. Lack of communication skills and socialisation skills bring behaviours, behaviours that condemn many autistic children to living a solitary and non independent life. Its so very sad. There is nothing organic about autistic “type” behaviours. they are all explainable, but the time, effort and money to “explain” and redirect those behaviours do not interest the school boards.

    This can’t be done within the confines of teacch because the original philosophy sets the parameters geared to “feeding” autism. Children in teacch programs are considered “disabled for life”, are considered a separate “culture” so they dont ever have to meet “markers” based on the NT population. It sets our kids up to fail in terms of leading lives that do not require support.

    We on the other hand have set our boy high expectations, most of which to date, he has met. He will not be needing an aide next year, he plays appropriately with non autistic children, he never went to school with other autistic children (except for 6 months in a teacch program) and he learns more and more every day how to be a social “being”, not a being who is dependent on cues, cards and visual schedules.

    Teacch offers teachers a way to cope with our children. That’s why its so popular with the education system. It doesnt take a brain surgeon to develop a teacch environment and generally from my own experience, the teachers i have met have only a modicum of undertanding of teacch and only a week or two of training in it.

    Compare this to our own consultant who has 12 years training in education and 7 years training and experience in child and human behaviour analysis.

    Its all down to money. Teacch is easy, ABA is not. Teacch is cheap, ABA is not.

    Teacch feeds autism, is autism specific. ABA is not.

    As i said, the proof will be in the pudding, in 10 to 15 years time. I will be very interested to see where my son’s classmates will be, those children who continued with their teacch programs. I will be interested to see if they are living independent and happy lives.

    Teacch has it all sewn up though. Its ethos is basically to give autitic children the opportunity to develop to “their” best ability as opposed to expecting “THE” best they can be. It imposes an outdated and very damaging and PATRONISING value system on the children and i would not touch it with a barge pole.

    Like i said, parents may think their children are doing “great” with teacch but they will hardly know what “great” is, unless they are made aware of how other children NOT in teacch programs are faring, children like my own child, who is treated like his siblings and of whom we expect great and wonderful things just like his siblings.

    Make no mistake many many parents are aware of the vagaries of teacch. But they dont get a look in, cause the system is “all sewn up” to provide teacch. Slowly but surely parents are demanding educational interventions appropriate to THEIR child. They are fighting at the high court, they are forming support groups. They are at parliament demanding the right education for their child.

    They are not begging for teacch. I think parents are way past begging. They are demanding, and time will point to the damage that has been done to our precious children in the name of money and lack of understanding.

  • #5206

    Anonymous

    WOW!
    you really have had a bad experience with TEACCH haven’t you. This must have been very distressing for you and your child.

    Obviously you have and are entitled to your opinion on it.

    However the parents that I have worked with, and continue to work with, do know their children and if they are say that their child is improving then I feel it would be incredibly ignorant of me to assume I know better.

    Indeed you seem to be suggesting that we blindly use TEACCH interventions at the same level for each child regardless, which is definately not the case.

    Before it is introduced there is a period of assessment, getting to know the child and importantly, the parents, to determine whether this intervention would be appropriate and practical to use in the home enviroment.

    Sometimes it is the case that due to family dynamics etc parents are unable to commit fully to this type of intervention.

    I also find it interesting that you argue the fact that there is little research evidence to ‘prove’ that it works whereas, in another posting regarding low salycilates diet, you actually say that ‘parents know what does and doesn’t work’ and that you trust parent experinces more than peer reviewed research’.

    Surely if parents can decide on what diet suits their child they are no less able to decide what other interventions work best for them?

  • #5207

    Anonymous

    Your attempt to use “parents” like myself against my argument of teacch is interesting as well. Fortunately, there are many many informed parents out there. Those parents who take the time to investigate their children’s diets, and learn about salycilates and biomedical interventions are usually parents who have done a lot of their own research do not make decisions lightly and are well informed in general about their children’s conditions.

    for those parents who are not informed about edcuational interventions for autism, (there are as many uninformed as informed) teacch provides, in my opinion, an alternative to them that in the face of nothing else, is accepted and considered “helfpul”.

    I say again, that unless parents are presented with educational alternatives, which in the main in the UK they are NOT, that many parents, particularly parents who are at their wits end about how to educate their children, will accept that teacch is appropriate for their children.

    In light of the fact that very few alternative schools and methodoligies are being used for children with asd, it stands to reason that parents are accepting teacch. do they have a choice even if they didnt? Have they got the money to pursue an ABA program, or RDI or sonrise or whatever else that they want to pursue?

    Have parents in general the time and energy it takes to fight an educational system which insists that “they” know best how to teach our children? Not all parents are up to this fight and why should they have to? Yet this is the reality.

    Anecdotal evidence about the use of teacch being “great”, having efficacy etc, can hardly be compared to anecdotal evidence of parents using biomedical interventions. Where a parent who has a child who wont eat, cant think, is in pain and isnt thriving, suddenly sees a healthy child, can this be compared to a parent who considers their child “progressing” because they can suddenly match the color blue from a selection of 15 cards? There is no verifiable proof that the matching skill was developed via teacch, it could have been through maturation. further due to the almost complete lack of peer reviewed study of teacch, its proponents would have a hard time proving this matching ability was “progress” because it wasnt being compared to anything else.

    In terms of parents who are seeing before their eyes, and via the indisputable medical tests of their children, that their children are becoming healthy, well this is a totally different kettle of fish.

    I will be happy to bring some parents who use biomed to this forum to further explain how when they cleared up their children’s immune issues that they were able to learn much more easily. Its really a “cart before the horse” scenario here.

    There are parents who do want teacch, no doubt about that. But i ask myself if they could afford ABA or other interventions, if they could have ABA programs put in place in their child’s schools run in an efficient and comprehensive way, without the stress a home program creates, i am quite confident that they would be very pleased with the results. Every ABA school in the UK is filled to capacity with huge waiting lists. I can send my son to the local teacch facility tomorrow if i wanted. There is ALWAYS a place for him.

    Hmmmmm wonder why. Instead i chose to do the best i can for my son, and for us, we had the money and the opportunity to pursue the best educational intervention in the world for our boy. That is applied behaviour analysis, which is includes every program my child needs, not a watered down version of behavioural control which is what the teacch program is, designed for teachers, not for the child and predicated upon outdated and harmful suppositions about what “autism” is. Funny, how the best minds in the world cant really define autism for even one child because it is so very different, yet the proponents of teacch seem to think they have a handle on how our children think, in totality.
    When the government offers something as cheap and “cheerful” as teacch, one should immediately be immediately suspicious. It takes money to teach our children, it takes time, energy and intensive training. None of these things are particularly required to run the teacch program.

    go figure

  • #5208

    Anonymous

    And i forgot to add, when i see peer reviewed research noting positive outcomes of teacch in terms of “progress” as compared to children in different programs, i might change my mind, as might other parents.

    The word “progress” has many connotations and is used willy nilly regarding our children in iep’s by teachers in general. Progress as compared to what? We need proof and evidence to determine what progress is.

    A child who could not talk at the age of 4 who can say one word at 15 can be said to be making “progress”, but what happened in the 11 years between is how we measure progress, what were the expectations, how were they measured, compared to the intended goals and objectives for each year?

    How did the child fare compared to his peers?

    This is where autism and how it affects each child differently simply does not fit into the teacch model. Teacch is a model set up specifically to teach autistic children. It begs the question, what is an autistic child??

    It also begs the question, why teacch has not evolved over the years. Its outdated, its ethos concering our children is insulting.

    I know a LOT of parents with children on the autistic spectrum. They would not be insulted if i said to them that they are simply unaware of what teacch is really about. Yes there are the parents who involve themselves in the philosophy of teacch and understand it, but equally there are thousands of parents who do not. Its a safe bet that if you ask the average parent whose child goes to school in a teacch facility that they will not be able to tell you what teacch really means, neither the acronym or its ethos.

    Particulary in areas of social deprivation throughout the UK, you have parents who do not have the resources to even think about anything else for their children because the information simply is not available. ABA schools do not exist in Govan, or Mosside. Parents couldnt afford it. Alternative educatio for our chidren is in the main, restricted to those who can afford it and who are willing to fight for it. Not being able to afford appropriate education for children with ASD is not an excuse for not being able to access it.

    Teacch sets our kids up to fail. It does not provide a socialisation program nor does it provide a language program. It condemns children to a life of routine, sequencing and isolation. Many children in the teacch programs simply should not be there and will never be given the change to pursue their academic and social lives to the fullest.

    Gary Mesibov and co have a lot to answer for. Thankfully though parents are becoming more and more vocal in what they want for their children, and they want the best. Teacch does not fit that bill, never did.

    I am a parent, i have first hand experience of teacch, and i know of what i speak. I can remember other parents who collected their children from the teacch facility asking me why i was pulling my child from the school, particularly because it was “free”.

    I told them, nothing in this world is for free, and my child deserves the best i can offer. i didnt say this to make them feel bad about their economic situation. I said it so that maybe they would think about joining me. One of them did. We both run programs now at home together with the local mainstream school and this mum is very thankful we had those initial conversations. her child is going into mainstream school next year after a 2 yrs of home ABA tutoring. Now THAT is progress.

  • #5209

    Anonymous

    As my mum used to say, ‘There are two sides to every argument, my side and the wrong side…’

  • #5210

    Anonymous

    Thank you for the list of publications.Are any of these pubkications by independent researchers (ie in no way connected to or making money from TEACCH)and  in independent peer-reviewed journals, please? The social work monograph obviously was not peer-reviewed, and I have never found anything that was really independent and properly peer-reviewed. TEACCH has produced a lot of information which purports to be research BUT it is entirely self-generated, and not independent or scrutinised externally.Margaret

  • #5211

    Anonymous

    PS I am interested only in research relevant to young school-age children and to the efficacy of TEACCH (or otherwise) in an education setting. How do the skills and language and IQ of children in a TEACCH setting develop when compared withm say, children educated in an ABA setting. Has there been ANY proper research?My son has just started an ABA programme after 5 years of TEACCH, where even the LEA's own Ed Psych admitted he'd shown no real progress. He can't concentrate in school.(He's been in 2 LEA schools, so you can't just blame the school.)One week into ABA his concentration is improving fast!!!By the way, Jayne, are you in the UK? I ask because your description of TEACCH's individualised components -assessment and close working with parents - doesn't happen in the UK.Margaret

  • #5212

    Anonymous

    Do you work for TEACCH? and are you in Northampton - I was thinking or telephoning to try and track down whether there is any research on the efficacy of TEACCH in education children.Thanks,Margaret

  • #5213

    Anonymous

    I am a parent of a 15-year-old girl with Aspergers Syndrome. She was briefly in an lea special school using Teacch. She is now home-educated. I think the emphasis on the “belief” of Teacch that there is no cure for autism is a bit of a red herring. Belief in this context (possibly in all) is only interesting when it is expressed in action. In this context Teacch is a school-based programme altering the world of the school to fit what it deems to be the desires of the child. The standard educational institution aims to alter the child to fit the world outside. Teacch aims to do the opposite, creating an enclosed world shaped around a standard “autistic” child. There is one argument about whether Teacch is correct in its assessment of the needs and desires of this standard child. There is a second argument about whether such a standard child exists in a context in which the phrase “all children with autism are different” is such a commonly heard platitude.

  • #5214

    Anonymous

    I am the parent of a 15-year-old girl with Aspergers Syndrome. She was briefly at an lea secondary special school using Teacch and is now home educated. I think that the “belief” or non-belief of Teacch in a cure for autism is a red herring. What is important is the consequences of that belief in practical action. Teacch believes in adapting the environment of the school to fit the child. It believes that this autistic child needs a low-stimulation environment with visual timetables and rigid routine for reassurance. This can be problematic in various ways. Firstly we have the cookie-cutter problem. In a context in which it is platitudinously said that “all children with autism are different” it seems a bit odd to find a programme based on the idea that they are all broadly the same. Secondly this approach is at odds with what is generally conceived as education. Mainstream education aims to change the child to fit the demands of the world. We can argue about whether this is desirable but it is so. It is odd to find a programme which does not share this aim being presented as schooling. Parents differ in their attitudes and some do not wish their special needs child to take part in the world outside special education. They want separate development within a special needs world. For them teacch, which does not aim to modify the behaviour of the child, will be acceptable. The danger is that students handled using teacch will not develop the skills needed to manage in a non-teacch world. They must remain within the special needs world all their lives. Teacch is cheap for local authorities to implement because its emphasis on non-change means less intensive learning. A lack of joined-up thinking is stopping councils from recognising the long term costs in care and social services from the implementation of Teacch in special schools.

  • #5215

    Anonymous

    well know you have me worried i have a daughter with severe autism severe learning difficulties she is non verbal they have just started the TEACCH programme with her at her school ,they have been unable to cope with her up until now ,Sunfield are training them ,it seems to be having a good effect on my daughter but now you have me worried [xx(]

  • #5216

    Anonymous

    Janice’s long posts are very well worth reading, as is Sally’s. It’s as well to find out that there are problems with TEACCH sooner rather than later. What does TEACCH actually teach? Nothing, that I can see. It provides a structure, but if the teachers don’t know what to put in it (and they are nearly all without the right training to do this or the resources they need)it remains an empty shell.

  • #5217

    Anonymous

    As mentioned TEACCH is a framework in which teaching operates. It still requires skilled, intuitive teachers as does mainstream teaching, to bring children forward. There will be teachers more able to do this than others, again, as in mainstream, and certain children will ‘gell’ with certain teachers and approaches. What I like about TEACCH is how well it complements and fits in with other approaches and enhances them. It doesn’t offer a cure. I don’t expect one, and that is in no way being negative. It is impossible to tell how our children will ‘turn out’ and whether using one approach or another would have changed that outcome. I can only assess both my autistic boys on whether they are progressing and, more importantly, whether they are happy. Thankfully, they are both.
    With regard to the ‘fitting in’ aspect I’ve had similar discussions with regard to education for deaf children (I’m the only hearing member of my family) Whether we like it or not, or it fits our politically correct outlook, the deaf community is a seperate entity. My brothers, one is an accountant, the other a teacher of the deaf, both have social lives almost exclusively within the deaf community. This doesn’t mean that they are in any way socially inadequate, it is their preference. I know of families with deaf children who have sent their children to schools which actively discourage signing, their argument being that they have to live in the ‘real world’ where the majority of people don’t sign. As a result the children leave school unable to actively participate in the mainstream community and unable to communicate wth the deaf community.
    Perhaps with an almost exclusively special needs family/upbringing my aspirations for my own children differ from parents who are desperate for their children to be ‘normal’ but I certainly do not feel that I am in anyway ‘shortchanging’ my children or that I have chosen the ‘cheap’ option. The TEACCH structure is offering my children the change to participate in the ‘real world’ to the best of their ability and wishes and has drastically reduced the frustration, tantrums,confusion and upsets they endured prior. Dave.

  • #5218

    Anonymous

    Jayne,

    Parents are grateful for any help from any source that might help them cope with their child, especially if that help involves a friendly adult visiting them at home to help their child. But they are continually encouraged to accept that they have to give up hope first: this is the line that is peddled by the NHS and LEAs: autism, nothing can be done, go home and get on with it. (Gets the parents off their backs very effectively.)
    There is a growing body of research concerning which both Prof. Geraldine Dawson and Prof. Pat Howlin seem to be saying that, while the research picture is far from being a full picture, research evidence does support the view that the best approach is ABA (sometimes called EIBI)and that this should be both intensive and started when the child is as young as possible. If you google “Autumn National Day Conference 9 November 2006: Report” you will find a summary of Pat Howlin’s comments made at that conference.

  • #5219

    Anonymous

    I hope this is OK to quote (it’s a short section from the report I referred to above):
    Patricia Howlin, Professor of Clinical Child Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, looked at the psychological interventions available for children and young people with developmental disorders (many linked with autism treatments) and the evidence base for their efficacy.

    Of the many interventions available, whatever their direction – traditional,complementary, alternative – there was little methodology, control studies or randomised control trials.
    Even amongst the better-known programmes, such as TEACCH (teaching and education for autistic and communication disordered children), PECS (picture exchange communication system) and Functional Analysis, there was only a moderate evidence-base, with the most impressive results being available with the EIBI (early intensive behavioural intervention).

    Professor Howlin outlined some of the questions raised in respect of these programmes, such as for what sorts of children do they work, how long should treatment last, how many hours per day/week, what age should treatment commence etc. Whilst there appeared to be no definitive answers, most effective therapies appeared to be those with direct parental involvement, intensive behavioural intervention and multi-component early intervention.

    The general recommendation by the National Autism Plan UK was that treatment should last a minimum of 12 months and be an average of 15-20 hours per week and that an early diagnosis and therapy did not appear to reduce opportunities for later intervention. In conclusion, Professor Howlin summed up that no single programme was likely to work with all children with all types of problem. However, techniques developed from psychological, educational, social and language research/theory could have a major impact on improving the quality of life for children and their families.

  • #5220

    Anonymous

    Hi Margaret,

    I find it quite insulting that you seem to suggest that myself and my colleagues are just ‘a friendly adult visiting them at home’ helping parents to manage their child and that these parents are so ill informed that they will accept anything.

    All the members of the team I work for are trained in ASD and TEACCH and work with families to empower them to work, educate and care for their children.
    Indeed we will not work with parents unless they are fully committed to the hard work involved and the expectation, from day 1, is that it is their job learn how to use this intervention and that we are there only to faciliate this.
    During our input we are continually assessing and modifying our approach to make sure it is approprate to meet the needs of both children and parents at every stage. We do not sit down holding parent’s hands and drinking tea.

    On the other hand I know of a number of families who advertise for helper, who are not specially trained, to work on a rota with their children on other interventions (mainly ABA). Some of these helpers have had no previous experience and are reliant only on parents providing their training and guidance.

    You sound as though you have had a bad experience of TEACCH in an educational setting, could this be due to inexperience or lack of professionalism of the staff involved? If you haven’t seen it used correctly it is difficult to judge. Did you try to introduce it at home and if so did you have support/training to do so?

    I agree with you that TEACCH, if used correctly, certainly should NOT be about keeping children contained and quiet for visitors. This sounds dreadful but it is not how TEACCH is intended.

    I am not dismissing ABA or similar approraches as I am not trained in them or know them in enough detail to compare them against the benefits of TEACCH I am merely making the point that if you haven’t seen TEACCH used correctly – as your postings might suggest you haven’t – then it is difficult to make a fair comparison.

  • #5221

    Anonymous

    Jayne,

    Of course I can’t say anything about how you and your colleagues work,as I haven’t seen this. I was thinking of the NAS “franchised” Early Bird course. We parents all gave good feedback at the time – you don’t want to do anything else with someone who’s visited you at home a few times. But several years down the line I think the course was useless, except in that we got to meet other parents. I met one of them recently and her current verdict on Early Bird was that it was “a complete waste of time”.Its value was really that the LEA and the NHS could claim they were providing early intervention. I think it would be lying to describe the Early Bird in this way.

    However I do note that this web site appears to advocate that TEACCH and only TEACCH to be used in Northampton. This has to be wrong. (See my posts above re Pat Howlin’s comments.)One approach does not fit all.

    LEAs claim to be using TEACCH. Usually it is as I have described in my son’s school. It is exceptional for anything further to be offered. TEACCH is not offered in the home and I personally wouldn’t want it, any way. My son needs to be TAUGHT not just managed. He has disabilities. Autism is not a culture, it is a collection of behaviours caused by a variety of neuro-developmental problems. To say it is a culture is total tripe: yet that is what Division TEACCH asserts. I remember when the school first told me they used TEACCH I thought great, what are they going to teach him! Eventually I realised it was nothing. By the way the legal duty to educate lies with the LEA and not with the parents. The LEA should be providing the education and not expecting parents to do this work for them.

    Any ABA programme should be designed and frequently monitored and supervised by a qualified BCABA. Tutors are not just recruited and left to get on with it. The programme is very specific, the targets are very specific, the way of working is very specific and the tutors are taught to implement all these. It may be that the family you know simply can’t afford to do the job properly. The LEA ought to pay, but getting them to do so is a long and difficult and expensive process.

    Schools recruit learning support assistants who do almost all the teaching of children with autism. Yet commonly these assistants have little or even no training (apart from Health and Safety and Positive Handling).

  • #5222

    Anonymous

    Well, its nice to see a bit of debate about teacch in the UK. It is glaringly obvious that the LACK of debate about the use of teacch in special schools indicates lack of awareness of parents about it.

    I would like to reiterate what Margaret has said about the reasons for using teacch. The general belief is that children like mine who are “autistic”, not aspergers, but “autistic” is that they are debilitated, that they will probably never work, never go to university and never amount to much of anything.

    That is why they are offered crap provision. There are so many studies and so much research being done on provision being offered to kids with Aspergers in the UK, but not to kids with “autism”.

    Why? Cause kids with aspergers have a “chance” as far as the health and education authorities are concerned, they go to university, sure isnt Bill Gates allegedly “aspergers”. Our kids on the other hand are expected to be thankful for what they get.

    Teacch is incredibly harmful to our kids, i wouldnt send my dog to a teacch school and i make it my business to let parents i know in my own “autism” circles what i think about teacch. You know what? A lot of them still dont get it. You know why? Because they have never been offered anything else and they feel inured to it, afraid to “let it go” in case nothing else gets offered.

    Its maddening listening to parents say how “well” their child has come on. Compared to what I say? I can teach my dog Rover to put blue balls with blue balls and to pick up a newspaper from a waste basket. But do i want to limit my child to these tasks?

    You dont get anything from the government, for free, that is worth anything. Teacch is cheap, easy to run, and is a testament to just what society thinks of our kids, which isnt much.

    Puhlease refrain from trying to convince parents like me who have had their children damaged by teacch that it has any efficacy. You are talking through your hat. The philosophy of teacch stinks, its has a built in self destruct button.

    For anyone reading these threads please pass this website on to people you know who can come here and tell us their “real” experiences of having their children in a teacch program.

    Chances are we will NOT hear a lot of gushing about division teacch.

    Parents really need to wake up to what is being done to their autistic children.

    Ultimately, it is ME, my child’s parent, who is responsible for his education, not a poorly trained teacch “technician”, who views my child as a train wreck.

    I have my problems with ABA as well but i would take ABA any day, even with all the problems that go with it, over teacch.

    In a few years time, when parents wise up, you will see teacch losing any credibility in the public eye. Parents of autistic children are growing in numbers, just like the children themselves. Teacch cant fool all of us all the time and more and more informed parents are demanding their children be accorded the rights of their non autistic peers in acquiring an education, not dog training.

  • #5223

    Anonymous

    Hi Margaret & Janice,

    I am not sure where you live and obviously cannot speak for other authorities.

    But just to clarify a couple of points:

    You are wrong to say that TEACCH is not offered in the home – in my county it certainly is as that is what our Team does and indeed it works best when used across different environments, through out the child’s day and not just in school.

    Also, if used correctly, TEACCH DOES teach and not just manage.

    It concerns me that you seem to have such low regard for the opinion of other parents. When you make your feelings about TEACCH known to other parents in your “autistic” circles you say of them:
    ‘You know what? A lot of them still dont get it. You know why? Because they have never been offered anything else and they feel inured to it, afraid to “let it go” in case nothing else gets offered.’

    Are you saying that parents less able to judge how ‘well their child is coming on’ than you are? Surely they are the best judge of their own child.

    Could it not simply be that their opinion is valid, that they ARE happy with TEACCH and that it is just that different approaches suit different children and TEACCH was not approprate for your child whereas another intervention is working better.

    Many of the families we have worked with have, indeed researched other interventions, and for their own reasons, have decided that they would like to impliment TEACCH at home. On the other hand some families do not feel it is appropriate for them or their family set up.

  • #5224

    Anonymous

    Jayne, I actually do think there is a big problem of ignorance. It took me years to work out what was really going on between the NHS and the LEA.
    Parents are expected to choose what’s right for their child without having enough information. I was desperate to put my child in a special school at 2 because there was nothing else for him in our LEA area and I believed (and was advised by the local diagnosing clinical psychologist) that X school was good. The Head teacher assured me my son would be in the right place with them. How very wrong I was to believe this.
    The LEA Ed Psych who did the assessment for my child’s Statement refused to give an opinion – in fact said they were forbidden to do so by the LEA – when I asked for advice concerning what sort of education my child should get and where he should go. The report the Ed Psych wrote contained recommendations I actually did not understand. In fact it recommended ABA! But what he got was a bog-standard special school which claimed to be implementing TEACCH, and which had no idea what ABA even was.(Neither did I at the time.)
    Parents also don’t understand how LEAs operate: “best interests of the child” commonly mean nothing of the sort, but they really man the bests interests of saving money.I was caught out by the Statementing procedure – I didn’t understand what the Statement meant. I didn’t know what to do when the Statement wasn’t being implemented. I didn’t understand the full procedure of the Annual Review – the Head’s game here was to sent in their signed account of the Annual Review without showing a draft to anyone who had been present, leaving out disagreements and misrepresenting others’ views.
    The LEA toyed with me for years.
    I think now it would have been better for him to have had nothing for a further year and to have gone into mainstream nursery. This would still have been totally inadequate for him, but he would have had 1:1 work and have been with people who did not come from a special ed background. My experience certainly confirms the widely-held view that the special ed system has rock bottom expectations of its pupils. It took me years to find a way get him out of the school.

    There is a massive amount of jargon in the education world, and it is used daily to bamboozle parents. Have you seen SOS!SEN’s teatowel which gives some choice examples of LEA-speak? Along the lines of “these rules don’t apply in this Authority”?

    I have been to meetings of parents of children with autism to discover I was the only one to have heard of and to have read the National Autism Care Plan, or the Good Practice Guidance for autism.

    At a recent parents’ meeting there was general astonishment that it was possible to get speech therapy quantified in a Statement, and widespread misunderstanding of Annual Reviews.

  • #5225

    Anonymous

    I am in a support group for parents of autistic children. Its only been running for a short while. The committee brought in some speakers from a larger ASD support group to give us some pointers. One of the first questions they asked was, “do you all know what a statement is?”

    do you know how many people put up their hands? 3 out of about 20. The parents in this group all had children under 5, most of whom were just about to enter nursery or primary 1.

    So yes, parents are ignorant. Please refresh yourself what “ignorance” means, i.e. not knowing the facts. This does not equate with lack of IQ or being “stupid”. Parents are kept deliberately ignorant by the school system so they dont have the ability to ask questions in the first place.

    Do you really think that every parent who has an autistic child has a copy of the Code of Practice by their bedside? or that they read copious amounts of books on different intervention methods? Do they do this in Essex, Glasgow, Mosside, and Islington, the same??

    Let me tell you something, I am a parent. Jayne you are not a parent of an autistic child??? I speak for me and my own experiences of meeting, speaking and working with other parents and NO they are not aware of their rights, aware of what teacch really means (they dont even know what the acronym means, much less its philosophy or approach.)

    I was a naive parent before my child was diagnosed with autism. I knew the school system sucks generally, but having a child with special needs, parents have to learn real quick. For those who choose not to, or for those who avoid having to learn or dont feel the “need” to learn about how their child is being educated, so be it. But please, these parents cannot be making informed choices just because they “accept” that teacch is useful for their child. Just because “johnny can read the word “cat”” does not prove progress.

    Mostly, with teacch, its a case of “johnny can’t read, because he is autistic. My local teacch facility has 8 children in the class age nursery and primary 1. None, and i mean NONE of those children can speak, much less use pragmatic language. they run around like little robots, unable to make decisions for themselves learning useles tasks. In my opinion, the gushing of the teachers about how well teacch does for “our” children springs from teachers who dont know any better either.

    How do i know? Cause i visited the class in November just to see for myself. My boy was in a teacch facility for nursery for six months and i thought maybe things would change going into primary one so i gave teacch the benefit of the doubt.

    Nope, nothing changed. Those primary one children are still doing tasks that a 3 year old would do and are not encouraged to push to their “limit”.

    Teacch stinks and any parent who says that it is great, is a parent who has not investigated alternative methods of teaching, or has been put off of alternative methods of teaching, due to lack of funding or opportunity to obtain same or simply does not have the energy or will to fight anymore. There are all kinds of reasons that a parent would “say” they think teacch is effective, but that is just opinion, it cant possibly be based on fact.

    Like i said, i would send my dog to a teacch school. Even dogs need to make choices in life.

    I hear repeatedly from people like you who purport teacch has merit, that “well, that is because teacch is not being used “correctly”. What a load of B.S. Where exactly is teacch being used “correctly” then? and what would “correction” prove? I think a “correct” application of teacch would be even more damning to the child, so maybe its a godsend that schools in the UK use a “watered down” version of teacch.

    I note that there are so many courses for teacch, some lasting only 3 days. What can a teacher fresh out of university, who hasnt a clue about special needs learn in 3 days or even a month??????

    teacch proponents should be learning from us, the parents. But i dont see a two way street in that regard in the UK. the government bought teacch hook line and stinker, cause its cheap, plain and simple. Cause our kids dont matter.

    get real already and stop peddling teacch. Show the evidence in the research journals, tell gary to open his doors for some real research to take place.

    My child is being taught via science backed by decades of real research and evidence. He is not being taught by teachers who feel sorry for my child, or who have preconceptions about his “ability” or disability.

    All teacch does is make teachers feel good, and even there i think we have a problem. I know 2 teacher now, who are very sick of teacch. One of them actually came to our meeting to listen to us parents complain about the school systems. She and I had a quiet word and I know she is unhappy with the application of teacch. She has no where to go if she does not “tow the line”, as all the schools use this method, so all she can do is be the best teacher she can be. She is caught, just like the parents, in the headlights of vulnerability and ignorance.

  • #5226

    Anonymous

    I would certainly agree with you both that parents are not given nearly enough support and information in dealing with the statementing process and selection of schools etc. and that they are often left feeling completely out of control over what is happening.

    It is a problem that many of our families have who get bogged down with the procedure, time scales and the jargon involved. Without support to ensure the statement is meaningful and appropriate to their child, end up with vague wording on the statements that don’t ‘tie schools down’ to providing specifcied and quantified support.

    As far as TEACCH is concerned I am confident in the fact that the families that myself and my colleagues work with have, more often than not, looked at the different interventions and have made an informed choice about using TEACCH. That is not to say that all families who have a child with ASD in my county opt for this intervention at home it’s just that we only work with those who do want to impliment it.

    However from what you have both said it seems as though you assume that any parent deciding to use TEACCH has simply made the WRONG choice and is therefore not doing what is best for their own child.

    Whilst I understand that TEACCH is not right for your child and that you have both found an intervention better suited I find your comments about other parents, particularly thinking about the families we work with, quite arrogant and difficult to understand.

    However that aside, it is clear that we are never going to agree on the merits or otherwise of TEACCH as an intervention for children and adults with ASD so there seems little point us continuing to try and persuade the other.

    I find it interesting though that you assume i have no personal experience of ASD.

  • #5227

    Anonymous

    Jayne, if you have a child with ASD i do not recall you mentioning that fact. Its the first thing parents of children with ASD mention as soon as they come to boards like this talking about children who ARE ASD.

    I had personal experience of ASD well before i had a child with ASD. But unless you walk the road i do, with a child who is autistic, your “personal” experience and my daily life and knowledge of ASD will continue to be quite different.

    You are right in attempting to close this discussion between yourself and me (at least) We are not going to agree. I have no vested interest in TEACCH, it does not pay my wages, it has never done anything but damage my child and there is no point arguing with you over it when you obviously can see merit in it and I cannot.

    Which is why i came to this forum in the first place….to let other parents know that there are alternatives to teacch, much better alternatives..to let other parents know, if they dont know already, that teacch does not offer an academic curriculum to their children, keeps them wrapped up in the “cotton wool” of a teacch environment, and generally expects so little of them that their children may well lose out on life’s greatest opportunity, the opportunity to learn, to learn independently. TEACCH does not advocate limitless possibilities for our children.

    TEACCH assumes autistic children have “potentials”. When i hear this kind of language regarding my boy, i shudder. Someone else, particularly a teacher who teaches teacch, will NEVER EVER know my child’s potential. However, that teacher may well damage my child’s “potential” by placing a self fulfilling prophesy on him and assuming he will only go “so far”.

    It really really makes me ill and extraordinarily angry.

    Again for parents who are not aware of what teacch really stands for, learn what the acronym means, try and find anecdotes from other parents whose children have been in teacch programs and make yourself aware of the underpinning “philosophy” that is teacch. Read about Eric Schopler and go the teacch website and carefully examine the words that are used regarding our children.

    Funny, how kids with aspergers are not pushed into teacch programs, but our kids are. Because kids with aspergers are considered more “able”, this is verified by the fact that many of them attend mainstream schools.

    teacch will ALWAYS keep your child in a “special” school, away from his peers and away from society until he or she turns 16 or 18 and then that child will continue to be YOUR responsibility, or a ward of the state. Unless you can replicate the teacch classroom at home and for the duration of your child’s life, be prepared to have a child who simply cannot cope.

    Compare your child’s “teacch” curriculum to that of a child who is in mainstream school or even an ABA school. YOu will see a “sea” of difference.

    There is no built in language or behaviour program in teacch, so whilst your child may “behave” and do what he is told at school, what is he really like at home? Even if you get rid of the schedules in his bedroom, what would he be like if you removed the schedules?

    My boy doesnt need schedules. He was non verbal and totally without motivation or compliance a year ago. Now he has about 1000 words, is starting to use pragmatic speech and is in a mainstream school learning with his peers.

    Why you ask? Because we never lost sight of the fact that he is a little boy first, and autistic 2nd. We never put a blanket ceiling on his “potential”. we dont use words like that. We knew right from the start we had a very bright boy, who could not speak and who was autistic. Had we felt sorry for him and placed him in a classroom with 7 other autistic non verbal children with ill trained aides and teachers with “attitude” he would not be where he is today.

    Oh, i forgot, yeah we DID do that, out of our naivete. He regressed terribly for those six months. But we managed to get those six months back.

    I am a parent. I have no vested interest in teacch. when the nice lady from the local teacch school comes a calling and tells you how wonderful it would be for your child to attend their purpose built facility, do yourself a favor and wait before you make any decisions.

    Tell the nice lady that you want the best interventions for your child, interventions that are backed up by science and peer reviewed research. YOu want to see results of positive outcomes, and studies.

    Sorry you won’t get this. What you will get is clap trap and then you will be told how “autistic” your child is, and that he really needs to be in a facility that “suits” him so that he is “happy”. You will be told your child’s “happiness” is paramount.

    How happy will your child be in 2 or 3 years time when he still cannot talk, when he cannot function without a visual schedule, when he cant go to the local park on his own with friends because he has absolutely no danger awareness or social skills, or when he has no friends except those at his special school.

    Your child’s future is ultimately up to YOU, the parent. I would never let a teacher, much less a teacher at a teacch facility try to brainwash me into thinking that teacch is “good” for my “autistic” boy.

    Please please PLEASE just ask questions, if you are reading this. Put them in writing and expect answers.

  • #5228

    Anonymous

    Hi, I know this is a teacch forum, but can anybody tell me if there is a LOVAAS forum? or where i could get information on its benefits and limitations?

    Thanks

  • #5229

    Anonymous

    Hi
    New here, but I have been reading this post with interest over the past few days. I am a teacher in a residential special school which specialises in ASD and predominantly uses TEACCH as the main approach. I say predominantly as my class group don’t use TEACCH, we use Intensive Interaction as a whole class teaching approach. The reasons for me deciding to do this was that I felt TEACCH was too much of a blanket – one size fits all – kind of approach, and that there were students in the school for whom TEACCH was not suitable. I wanted to develop a class group which had a firm focus on social skills and communication in whatever form the students choose to use. There is a lot of pressure to use TEACCH in many schools now, and I realise how lucky I have been to be able to step away from this. The end result has been that I am now getting referals from other classes/memeber of sataff to do Intensive Interaction sessions with students who don’t ‘fit’ with the TEACCH approach.
    I relate to a lot of what has been said previously in this debate about TEACCH, and having done the 5 day TEACCH course last year, also think that the approach leaves a lot to be desired with regards to building social and communication skils, which of course, are the skills that students with ASD struggle with. I really hope that other schools/teachers begin to realise that TEACCH is not the be all and end all of ASD education. No 2 students are alike,. and our teaching methods need to be adjusted accordingly. I would be intertested to hear more about other people’s TEACCH experiences, both positive and negative. Sorry for the length of this, got a bit carried away [:)]

  • #5230

    Anonymous

    Note: SFTAH transferred this from old data base when site was updated, thus date and name lost, all dates 2006 & 2007 changed during changeover to odd dates.Hi Jayne. Yes, my child had a very unsuccessful experience with teacch. This became painfully evident to me when we pulled him from his teacch class and started an ABA program at home and implemented an ABA trained therapist in his school environment. His progress was staggering. I still keep in contact with a few of the parents whose children attend my child's old school and my child has progressed immeasurably compared to their children. I think its actually painful for these parents to talk to me about my boy. I think you are probably quite able to answer most of the questions you ask of me, yourself and I have outlined some of the major problems i have with the teacch program already. I do not believe in "cures" for autism as autism is not a disease. It has been referred to many things through the ages, including "mentally retarded, autistically "handicapped" (as this web site used to refer to it), a disorder, a condition, etc etc. However, what i do know is that my own child is extremely bright and given the appropriate environment and provided with trained individuals who specialise in child development and behavioural intervention, children on the autistic spectrum can be prevented from developing those behaviours and "outward" appearances that isolate them from the world, making them so "different" that they cannot cope. More importantly, however, autistic children can and regularly do develop the cognitive ability to progress in their education without the need for outside assistance. There is no communicaton or behavioural program written into teacch and this alone should put parents off. The two most important things our kids need are not available through teacch. The philosophy and ethos of teacch and mesibov et al is what i find particularly galling and extremely damaging. I do not believe that autism is a "culture". Though i respect the fact my child is on the autistic spectrum, i do not know what that actually means for him as he is so young, and he is so very different from every autistic child on the planet, much less any child, autistic or not. It would be a very rare teacher who would claim to know what autism is, particularly for my child, better than what i know it is, yet that is what i get from teacch teachers. They have so much to learn, but the ethos of teacch wraps autism up very nicely in a package that is so "manageable" for the uninitiated. There is no one "AUTISM", and though you may have gleaned insight from your work to observe that children with ASD are often "visual", this in and of itself does not have a lot of meaning for the entire autistic population, particularly in terms of addressing their educational needs. Most boys are rambunctious and like rough and tumble, that does not mean that every preschool child should get a piggy back ride and a judo lesson in class or that it would have any efficacy. It is my view and the view of thousands of other parents that autism is a condition caused by an environmental assault. Some parents attribute this to the MMR/heavy metal/vaccine toxicity explanation, others attribute autism as a result of compromised immune systems unable to "detoxify". Others believe it is genetic and "unstoppable". I only see what i see with my own child, the child who was perfectly "normal" 3 days prior to his vaccinations, and who 3 days after was taken into hospital with legs the size of balloons and who developed deafness in one ear. (despite his deafness he overcame this and hears better than i do!)This was not a "culture" my boy entered into, it was a prison, not of his choosing. Teacch has no right to impose its philosophy about autism on unsuspecting parents, particularly parents who are forced to accept the teacch option because nothing else exists. Teacch may serve those parents who are at a loss to explain autism, it may lessen the pain of parents, to convince them that autism is a "culture" but i can assure you no parent i know thinks that way, not one!I know without the shadow of a doubt what happened to my boy and i find it particularly irking that those involved in the education of our children have the audacity to try and encourage parents to believe that autism is a "world" or that the autistic child should not be encouraged to live in our world. Autistic children did not choose to be autistic and my own boy spends most of his time trying to enter "my" world and the world of his NT peers. that is my opinion. Other parents are entitled to their own opinion. But in the face of very little option for parents to choose what educational approach they want for their children, i think it is wholly unfair that teacch has been hoisted upon parents. I dont remember being consulted in 1996 when teacch was adopted in my area. I do not recall parents being asked to join public consultations to discuss what THEY wanted for their children. The decision to implement teacch was generally made by social services, the LEAs etc. How convenient  that they ignored all the expert parents out there who probably had much to say about the matter. Teacch offers a cheap and cheerful solution to teachers who simply dont have the time to truly understand our children. It is damaging because the ethos of teacch is flawed, not represented in any real truth about autism, but based on presuppositions which may or may not be held by parents of autistic children, many of whom have been convinced of teacch efficacy due to lack of option/choices. Children in teacch programs are kept so busy "feeding" their autism that they may appear to be happy. But in terms of any real "progress" or gains made by children in the teacch programs, there is no evidence, and there won't be any time soon, to gauge whether children in the teacch programs are succeeding with their lives. Where is the evidence, where are the control studies?? None exist and mesibov doesnt want them to exist. How long has teacch been around for now, and no real evidence of its efficacy???????? This compares very unfavourably to the mountains of research on behavioural analysis and autistic children. We are humans and we all have basically the same reasons for our behaviours. Same as autistic children. Autism doesnt bring with it these "magical and weird" behaviours. Lack of communication skills and socialisation skills bring behaviours, behaviours that condemn many autistic children to living a solitary and non independent life. Its so very sad. There is nothing organic about autistic "type" behaviours. they are all explainable, but the time, effort and money to "explain" and redirect those behaviours do not interest the school boards. This can't be done within the confines of teacch because the original philosophy sets the parameters geared to "feeding" autism. Children in teacch programs are considered "disabled for life", are considered a separate "culture" so they dont ever have to meet "markers" based on the NT population. It sets our kids up to fail in terms of leading lives that do not require support. We on the other hand have set our boy high expectations, most of which to date, he has met. He will not be needing an aide next year, he plays appropriately with non autistic children, he never went to school with other autistic children (except for 6 months in a teacch program) and he learns more and more every day how to be a social "being", not a being who is dependent on cues, cards and visual schedules. Teacch offers teachers a way to cope with our children. That's why its so popular with the education system. It doesnt take a brain surgeon to develop a teacch environment and generally from my own experience, the teachers i have met have only a modicum of undertanding of teacch and only a week or two of training in it. Compare this to our own consultant who has 12 years training in education and 7 years training and experience in child and human behaviour analysis. Its all down to money. Teacch is easy, ABA is not. Teacch is cheap, ABA is not. Teacch feeds autism, is autism specific. ABA is not. As i said, the proof will be in the pudding, in 10 to 15 years time. I will be very interested to see where my  son's classmates will be, those children who continued with their teacch programs. I will be interested to see if they are living independent and happy lives. Teacch has it all sewn up though. Its ethos is basically to give autitic children the opportunity to develop to "their" best ability as opposed to expecting "THE" best they can be. It imposes an outdated and very damaging and PATRONISING value system on the children and i would not touch it with a barge pole. Like i said, parents may think their children are doing "great" with teacch but they will hardly know what "great" is, unless they are made aware of how other children NOT in teacch programs are faring, children like my own child, who is treated like his siblings and of whom we expect great and wonderful things just like his siblings. Make no mistake many many parents are aware of the vagaries of teacch. But they dont get a look in, cause the system is "all sewn up" to provide teacch. Slowly but surely parents are demanding educational interventions appropriate to THEIR child. They are fighting at the high court, they are forming support groups. They are at parliament demanding the right education for their child. They are not begging for teacch. I think parents are way past begging. They are demanding, and time will point to the damage that has been done to our precious children in the name of money and lack of understanding.

  • #5231

    Anonymous

    Note: SFTAH transferred this from old data base when site was updated, thus date and name lost, all dates 2006 & 2007 changed during changeover to odd dates.Don't wish to burst your bubble but my child has been on an ABA programme since he was 4, he is now coming up to 13. I too told everyone for the first few years, that this is the best thing available for any child with autism, especially one with no language like my son. But now 9 years on, I know only too well, that those behaviours you think you are avoiding by being on ABA do rear their ugly head no matter what programme you choose.It is very easy to be smug about the programme when your child is so young and starting to make progress that you have nt seen before. But before you berate other programmes and choices that other parents make, maybe you should speak to those who have been where you are.Don't get your hopes up. Autism is a disease and it eats into every thing and everyone around it.I still believe in ABA but I no longer look at it through rose coloured glasses. I know my child has autism for life and that there is little I can do to prevent what comes with it.janicA wrote "Hi Jayne. Yes, my child had a very unsuccessful experience with teacch. This became painfully evident to me when we pulled him from his teacch class and started an ABA program at home and implemented an ABA trained therapist in his school environment. His progress was staggering. I still keep in contact with a few of the parents whose children attend my child's old school and my child has progressed immeasurably compared to their children. I think its actually painful for these parents to talk to me about my boy. I think you are probably quite able to answer most of the questions you ask of me, yourself and I have outlined some of the major problems i have with the teacch program already. I do not believe in "cures" for autism as autism is not a disease. It has been referred to many things through the ages, including "mentally retarded, autistically "handicapped" (as this web site used to refer to it), a disorder, a condition, etc etc. However, what i do know is that my own child is extremely bright and given the appropriate environment and provided with trained individuals who specialise in child development and behavioural intervention, children on the autistic spectrum can be prevented from developing those behaviours and "outward" appearances that isolate them from the world, making them so "different" that they cannot cope. More importantly, however, autistic children can and regularly do develop the cognitive ability to progress in their education without the need for outside assistance. There is no communicaton or behavioural program written into teacch and this alone should put parents off. The two most important things our kids need are not available through teacch. The philosophy and ethos of teacch and mesibov et al is what i find particularly galling and extremely damaging. I do not believe that autism is a "culture". Though i respect the fact my child is on the autistic spectrum, i do not know what that actually means for him as he is so young, and he is so very different from every autistic child on the planet, much less any child, autistic or not. It would be a very rare teacher who would claim to know what autism is, particularly for my child, better than what i know it is, yet that is what i get from teacch teachers. They have so much to learn, but the ethos of teacch wraps autism up very nicely in a package that is so "manageable" for the uninitiated. There is no one "AUTISM", and though you may have gleaned insight from your work to observe that children with ASD are often "visual", this in and of itself does not have a lot of meaning for the entire autistic population, particularly in terms of addressing their educational needs. Most boys are rambunctious and like rough and tumble, that does not mean that every preschool child should get a piggy back ride and a judo lesson in class or that it would have any efficacy. It is my view and the view of thousands of other parents that autism is a condition caused by an environmental assault. Some parents attribute this to the MMR/heavy metal/vaccine toxicity explanation, others attribute autism as a result of compromised immune systems unable to "detoxify". Others believe it is genetic and "unstoppable". I only see what i see with my own child, the child who was perfectly "normal" 3 days prior to his vaccinations, and who 3 days after was taken into hospital with legs the size of balloons and who developed deafness in one ear. (despite his deafness he overcame this and hears better than i do!)This was not a "culture" my boy entered into, it was a prison, not of his choosing. Teacch has no right to impose its philosophy about autism on unsuspecting parents, particularly parents who are forced to accept the teacch option because nothing else exists. Teacch may serve those parents who are at a loss to explain autism, it may lessen the pain of parents, to convince them that autism is a "culture" but i can assure you no parent i know thinks that way, not one!I know without the shadow of a doubt what happened to my boy and i find it particularly irking that those involved in the education of our children have the audacity to try and encourage parents to believe that autism is a "world" or that the autistic child should not be encouraged to live in our world. Autistic children did not choose to be autistic and my own boy spends most of his time trying to enter "my" world and the world of his NT peers. that is my opinion. Other parents are entitled to their own opinion. But in the face of very little option for parents to choose what educational approach they want for their children, i think it is wholly unfair that teacch has been hoisted upon parents. I dont remember being consulted in 1996 when teacch was adopted in my area. I do not recall parents being asked to join public consultations to discuss what THEY wanted for their children. The decision to implement teacch was generally made by social services, the LEAs etc. How convenient  that they ignored all the expert parents out there who probably had much to say about the matter. Teacch offers a cheap and cheerful solution to teachers who simply dont have the time to truly understand our children. It is damaging because the ethos of teacch is flawed, not represented in any real truth about autism, but based on presuppositions which may or may not be held by parents of autistic children, many of whom have been convinced of teacch efficacy due to lack of option/choices. Children in teacch programs are kept so busy "feeding" their autism that they may appear to be happy. But in terms of any real "progress" or gains made by children in the teacch programs, there is no evidence, and there won't be any time soon, to gauge whether children in the teacch programs are succeeding with their lives. Where is the evidence, where are the control studies?? None exist and mesibov doesnt want them to exist. How long has teacch been around for now, and no real evidence of its efficacy???????? This compares very unfavourably to the mountains of research on behavioural analysis and autistic children. We are humans and we all have basically the same reasons for our behaviours. Same as autistic children. Autism doesnt bring with it these "magical and weird" behaviours. Lack of communication skills and socialisation skills bring behaviours, behaviours that condemn many autistic children to living a solitary and non independent life. Its so very sad. There is nothing organic about autistic "type" behaviours. they are all explainable, but the time, effort and money to "explain" and redirect those behaviours do not interest the school boards. This can't be done within the confines of teacch because the original philosophy sets the parameters geared to "feeding" autism. Children in teacch programs are considered "disabled for life", are considered a separate "culture" so they dont ever have to meet "markers" based on the NT population. It sets our kids up to fail in terms of leading lives that do not require support. We on the other hand have set our boy high expectations, most of which to date, he has met. He will not be needing an aide next year, he plays appropriately with non autistic children, he never went to school with other autistic children (except for 6 months in a teacch program) and he learns more and more every day how to be a social "being", not a being who is dependent on cues, cards and visual schedules. Teacch offers teachers a way to cope with our children. That's why its so popular with the education system. It doesnt take a brain surgeon to develop a teacch environment and generally from my own experience, the teachers i have met have only a modicum of undertanding of teacch and only a week or two of training in it. Compare this to our own consultant who has 12 years training in education and 7 years training and experience in child and human behaviour analysis. Its all down to money. Teacch is easy, ABA is not. Teacch is cheap, ABA is not. Teacch feeds autism, is autism specific. ABA is not. As i said, the proof will be in the pudding, in 10 to 15 years time. I will be very interested to see where my  son's classmates will be, those children who continued with their teacch programs. I will be interested to see if they are living independent and happy lives. Teacch has it all sewn up though. Its ethos is basically to give autitic children the opportunity to develop to "their" best ability as opposed to expecting "THE" best they can be. It imposes an outdated and very damaging and PATRONISING value system on the children and i would not touch it with a barge pole. Like i said, parents may think their children are doing "great" with teacch but they will hardly know what "great" is, unless they are made aware of how other children NOT in teacch programs are faring, children like my own child, who is treated like his siblings and of whom we expect great and wonderful things just like his siblings. Make no mistake many many parents are aware of the vagaries of teacch. But they dont get a look in, cause the system is "all sewn up" to provide teacch. Slowly but surely parents are demanding educational interventions appropriate to THEIR child. They are fighting at the high court, they are forming support groups. They are at parliament demanding the right education for their child. They are not begging for teacch. I think parents are way past begging. They are demanding, and time will point to the damage that has been done to our precious children in the name of money and lack of understanding."

  • #5232

    Anonymous

    actually autism is not a “disease” though it does have common concomitant physical maladies that accompany it.

    Autism is a neurological “disorder” for lack of better desription, that in my opinion and the opinion of thousands of other parents, is caused by toxicity.

    No, i in no way think ABA is a panacea at all. In fact a lot of it is smoke and mirrors and a load of old expensive hooey. Having had had the misfortune of going through no less than 3 consultants during the last 4 years, i know of what i speak.

    ABA which is based on behavioural science does have some merit but the question arises when it is put into practice and by whom.

    Personally, i realised my child could not learn until we healed his gut and his brain so that he could settle enough to focus and to think.

    The nature of ABA in the UK today is appalling. There are people calling themselves consultant when my grandmother knows more about childrearing than these so called experts. This is not to detract from the efficacy of knowing about childhood behaviour but alas, parents do not realise they have a lousy consultant until it is way too late, and their pocket books have been eaten into.

    sad state of affairs.

    teacch on the other hand is just plain bunkum, and prima facie B.S. Its a money maker, its a scandal and it destroys children. Again, parents do not realise this until it is too late. Also parents who have not chosen other routes for their childrens education are not exactly qualified to know that teacch has no efficacy. A parent who says that their child’s teacch program is “good”, cannot be relied upon to be speaking with any sense of “fact”, only personal opinion.

    As it stands, teacch has no scientific basis, no studies and it is absolutely amazing to me that the LEA’s get away with offering this garbage.

    Until parents start empowering themselves and thereby empowering their children, children will languish by the wayside and will continue to need institutionalisation and residential care when they grow up.

    Dont believe me? Take a chance and enrol your young child in a teacch program for the next 7 years. Thats a chance i would NEVER EVER take.

    I know what my child needs and aint no way some pumped up young teacher of teacch is going to tell me different.

    Hey, i was taught french and german and spanish for about 9 years in all. Despite learning it in grade school and in university, i am still very far from being fluent. Yet, a special ed teacher can come along and say that s/he knows how to teach my very unique son just because they have a teacch cert and a teaching cert?

    yeah right.

    Parents take control of your children and really READ what the teacch philosophy is about. Its not about empowering your children or bringing them into society, teacch is about separating them and “celebrating” their difference, their culture!!!! Ha, yeah, in a perfect world maybe? Wait till your child graduates if he or she graduates and tries to cope in real life situations with only teacch training.

    I am sorry, but you will be in for a very rude shock.

    Its all about the money, and the lousy attitudes that society and the educational establishment have about our kids. The LEA’s and doctors have little hope for our kids so they segregate them into these awful teacch programs to keep them away from real life. We will all be paying a huge huge price in 10 or 20 years when these kids have no coping skills.

    It could be your child. If you dont like what i have to say, i am sorry, but thats the truth the way i see it and its based on my own experience and my son’s sorry experience with teacch.

    People have to wise up to the fact that the schools dont give a damn and teach is just a means of putting a pretty face on a terrible problem, i.e. no real interest in our children.

  • #5233

    Anonymous

    Oh dear.

    No approach is any good. There is no evidence of any success. No professionals, however qualified or experienced are able to teach. It is indeed a sad state of affairs.

    Will your grandmother be running any courses in the foreseeable future?

  • #5234

    Anonymous

    thats four assumptions you make, together with the question of my grandmother who by the way was an absolute fabulous teacher to her own eight children.

    No there is no proven efficacy of any teaching method for children with ASD. Even the so called peer reviewed reports of the Lovaas and Smith types dont actually prove anything. No one system can teach ALL children with ASD.

    Which is where teacch is incredibly behind the times and so very damaging.

    Yes of course there are teachers who can teach, millions of them. But, what has that got to do with the methodology of teacch?

    The sarcasm is noted and is really not needed in this discussion, as it serves no purpose. If you have something to say, say it and perhaps refrain from that “lowest form of wit”.

  • #5235

    Anonymous

    ‘No one system can teach ALL children with ASD’
    Your grandmother may have been a fabulous teacher to her own eight children but could have been an appalling teacher to mine (and that’s no disrespect to your grandmother)
    Just because TEACCH wasn’t right for your child or ‘umpteen’ others doesn’t mean it hasn’t worked wonders in a large number of cases.
    Anyway, I’m off to join Mr Mesibov on his yacht to sip champagne and help him spend the astronomical amount of money he’s made.
    PS There is ‘no proven efficacy’ that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but it is fun…

  • #5236

    Anonymous

    The point being, there is no PROOF that teacch has had any efficacy for any child. Children are not tracked, measurements are not made public.

    Parents are not screaming for teacch, they arent on the web DEMANDING teacch, why not? Who wants it, its a dumping ground for children whose parents havent copped on to the fact that its crap. Poor parents and i dont blame them. Unless a parent has the time money and energy to investigate what is truly right for their child, the teacch schools sit there lying in wait for these poor unsuspecting parents to fill their seats.

    Makes me truly ill. If parents asked questions, they wont get answers. there are no answers emanating from mesibov and co cause they know its all a load of rubbish. The autistic adult community needs to get on board with this and start telling the school boards and government what rubbish teacch really is. BUt, we dont have a lot of autistic adults who have gone through the teacch program, and hey, guess what NOBODY LISTENS TO AUTISTIC ADULTS do they???

    For those adults who have gone through the teacch program, will they have the ability to make their voices heard or are they out there somewhere consulting their visual schedules and living in residential homes with no access to publicly expressing themselves in a way that can be heard???

    Teacch promotes a self fulfilling prophesy, that autism is this “lifelong disabling” condition. Yep, if you send your kid to a teacch school, it certainly will be.

    There is no hope with teacch. If you want a robot, and you want your child to “stay” autistic in every way, send them to teacch.

    Parents are going to wise up to teacch, dont know when, for many it will be too late.

    the government has a responsibility to give our children education. teacch is not education, its “damage control”.

  • #5237

    Anonymous

    you know what i think we have met before do you enjoy going round forums upsetting people ?? you go there start this topic ramble on for a while then leave ,how dare you tell me i am not doing right by my child my daughter has severe autism and severe learning difficulties she is non verbal ,my job is damn hard enough with out people like you telling me that i am damaging my child my daughter does teacch now ,you know why ? because she was excluded, suspended and in the end taught in the cupboard and excluded from any contact with other pupils until we got an out reach worker Autism specialist(yes she came from the best school in the country ) who assessed her and decided the teacch approach would be the best for my daughter ,and so far its been great no there is no proof teacch works or any proof ABA works either and just because it works for your child doesn’t mean it will work for the rest ,but then my child is already damaged goods because i haven’t put her through 40 hours of ABA a week ,and no i haven’t got the money either i am a full time carer to my two Autistic teenagers i am on benefits and i never get any sleep ,where do you expect me to get the money from a magic wand ?? but that just makes me a bad mom doesn’t it ?,well in your eyes it does and i resent that so much i try my best every single day for my kids i have been knocked out and been black and blue but i still come back and fight for my kids i have been fighting my LEA for a year now for a specialist school placement if you want to scream at some one go scream at them
    ABA or teacch which ever any parent uses i respect there views and understand whatever, there doing there best i don’t go around saying this is the way the only way and if you don’t follow my way you are all bad parents with damaged children
    i am not a stupid person the FACT is before my daughters school started using the teacch method with her they called her well in not so many words an unteachable animal ,the specialist school where her out reach worker came from do not just offer teaach they offer many alternatives the child is assessed and it is decided which method will be best for each child as an individual
    my daughter has a preety face and a terrible problem and teacch is helping her and us ,it helps her to cope with the day and life itself i know many mums and dads that have used either methods some speak highly of teacch some of ABA ,but in the end we are all flailing around in the dark and that includes you !!
    I am trying my best and i don’t need people like you telling me other wise but then i am just a bad mum aren’t i

  • #5238

    Anonymous

    Just thought I’d drop in to say that the Research Autism website gives ratings for TEACCH and ABA. ABA gets three ticks (their highest rating) TEACCH only gets one tick, because of the lack of evidence to support its use.

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