TEACCH and Structured Work Stations
TEACCH is a way of developing skills and understanding using tasks and activities that the child can complete with a high level of independence. “Structured TEACCHing” and the use of “Structured Work Stations” is based on understanding the learning characteristics of individuals with autism and the use of visual supports to promote meaning and independence.
The TEACCH method provides the individual with structure and organisation. This method relies on five basic principles:
The actual layout or surroundings of a person's environment are clearly defined. Within the classroom work stations have been set up for the student to go to work on the tasks that have been selected.
A schedule or planner is set up which indicates what the person is supposed to do during the time they are using the work station.
The work system tells the person what is expected of him/her during an activity, how much is supposed to be accomplished, and what happens after the activity is completed. The goal is to teach the person to work independently. The work system is also organized in such a way that the person has little or no difficulty figuring out what to do.
According to the TEACCH method, the most functional skill for autistic individuals is a routine which involves checking one's schedule and following the established work system.
Visual structure refers to visually-based cues regarding organization, clarification, and instructions to assist the person in understanding what is expected of him/her. For example, a visual structure may involve using colored containers to assist the person in sorting colored materials into various groups or displaying an example of a stamped envelope when the person is asked to place stamps on envelopes.
The TEACCH method is primarily used to assist an individual with autism to better understand his/her environment. The techniques described above are not faded out over time; but rather, they are to be consistently used across a variety of environments.
TEACCH and the use of Structured Work Stations work with individuals of all ages with ASD. These approaches can also be very useful for many other students who have specific learning or special educational needs. This way of working supports our youngest learners to those involved in work experience.