T.E.A.C.C.H. (Treatment & Education of Autistic & related Communication handicapped Children & Adults) was develop in the early 1970’s by Eric Schopler from the Universtiy of North Carolina. The aim is to focus on the child and the development of a program around the child’s skills,interests and needs. We cultivate the strengths rather than drilling solely on deficits but we try to maintain a balance between developing skills and remediating deficits. We use the child`s existing skills and interest to build an intervention strategy. The difference between T.E.A.C.C.H and other interventions is that it does not require the child in the spectrum to fit into what is considered a “ normal mold ,” whether that is confortable for them.
According to Prof. Gary Mesibov, Director of Teacch; "Respecting the culture of autism, recognizes that the difference between people with autism and others can sometimes favour people with autism. Their relative strengths in visual skills, recognizing details and memory among other areas, can become the basis of successful adult functioning. Capitalizing on their interest,even though might be peculiar from our perspective, helps increase their motivation and understanding of what they do." (T.E.A.C.C.H. Statement; April 10,1998 ) Independent work skills, fostering of social communication and leisure skills are emphasized.
T.E.A.C.C.H. does not create structure by relying on repeated trials,prompt and material reinforcements which could cause prompt dependence. In T.e.a.c.c.h, structure is provided by the physical environment,organizational strategies and the presentation of material, which is similar to the Montessori approach with typically developing children(Mesibov, Shea and Schopler, 2004 ). However,T.E.A.C.C.H can be used in combination with ABA as it is a hybrid approach. This depends entirely on the individual child’s personality , interest and existing skills.