TEACCH Autism Program

Information below provided by the TEACCH Autism Program.

The TEACCH® Autism Program is a clinical, training, and research program based at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.  TEACCH, developed by Drs. Eric Schopler and Robert Reichler in the 1960s, was established as a statewide program by the North Carolina legislature in 1972, and has become a model for other programs around the world.

MISSION STATEMENT: The University of North Carolina TEACCH Autism Program creates and cultivates the development of exemplary community-based services, training programs, and research to enhance the quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and for their families across the lifespan

Clinical Services

TEACCH offers a set of core clinical services at seven community-based centers throughout North Carolina, a supported employment program and an integrated vocational and residential program for adults with ASD.  TEACCH’s clinical services include diagnostic evaluations; parent training and parent support groups, intervention groups, and individual counseling for higher-functioning clients. TEACCH services are grounded in empirical research, enriched by extensive clinical expertise, and notable for flexible and individualized support of individuals with ASD and their families.

TEACCH developed the intervention approach called “Structured TEACCHing”, an array of teaching or treatment principles and strategies based on the learning characteristics of individuals with ASD, including strengths in visual information processing, and difficulties with social communication, attention, and executive function.  In response to this profile of strengths and challenges, Structured TEACCHing includes: 

  1. External organizational supports to address challenges with attention and executive function
  2. Visual and/or written information to supplement verbal communication
  3. Structured support for social communication

Structured TEACCHing is not a curriculum, but instead is a framework to support achievement of educational and therapeutic goals.  This framework includes: 

  1. Physical organization
  2. Individualized schedules
  3. Work (Activity) systems
  4. Visual structure of materials in tasks and activities

The goal of Structured TEACCHing is to promote meaningful engagement in activities, flexibility, independence, and self-efficacy.  We integrate Structured TEACCHing strategies into other evidenced-based practices. 

Training

TEACCH is committed to developing training programs for students and professionals who serve individuals with ASD.  In addition to training University-based graduate students, TEACCH conducts training nationally and internationally and provides consultation for teachers, residential care providers, and other professionals from a variety of disciplines.  TEACCH uses a unique training model that combines traditional lecture-style activities with hands-on learning activities to train professionals to employ Structured TEACCHing techniques

TEACCH Autism Program has established a comprehensive Professional Certification Program in response to the increasing number of professionals trained by TEACCH and the growing demand for quality services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  This certification program is for educators, psychologists, social workers, speech therapists and other service providers in the field of autism.

This new TEACCH Professional Certification Program will help protect the integrity and quality of the TEACCH model and provide educators and clinicians with a professional certification that documents their knowledge and use of Structured TEACCHing Intervention strategies, evidence-based practices.  The program includes two certification levels, Practitioner and Advanced Consultant, progressing professional from a skilled practitioner to a consultation role within their work setting to an advanced consultant who is trained to provide lectures to groups inside and outside their work setting.

Research

An additional goal of the University of North Carolina TEACCH Autism Program is to provide a strong, collaborative environment for both basic and applied ASD research that is meaningful to individuals with ASD and their families as well as informative to clinicians, service providers, and researchers. 

Currently, the research team at TEACCH is conducting a variety of research projects. 

  • Longitudinal Study of Adult Outcomes:  Thanks to funding from Autism Speaks and the Foundation of Hope, TEACCH has a unique opportunity to learn more about the children diagnosed by TEACCH with ASD between 1965 and 2000 who are now adults.  A goal of this research is to learn more about the experiences of this growing population of adults with ASD and determine what services and supports are needed. 
  • TEACCH School Transition to Employment Program (T-STEP):  With funding from Autism Speaks, TEACCH is researching the T-STEP, a transition curriculum to help high school students with ASD develop several pivotal skills that are essential to employment, including organization skills, social skills, and emotion regulation skills. 
  • Fighting Worries and Facing Your Fears:  TEACCH is collaborating with researchers at the University of Colorado, Denver to help children with ASD who also experience anxiety, face their worries through a group-based cognitive behavior intervention program.   

In order to create and improve intervention programs, TEACCH is conducting a variety of studies to learn more about how individuals with ASD learn as well as the cognitive strengths and challenges of individuals with ASD.  For more information about the TEACCH Autism Program, please go to the website www.teacch.com or contact us at teacch@unc.edu

Autism Speaks continues to fund a wealth of research aimed at developing and improving behavioral interventions that enhance education, function and quality of life. You can explore these studies using our Grant Search here.

For more information and resources related to autism, please see our Treatment overview, Video Glossary, FAQs and special sections on Symptoms, Diagnosis, Learn the Signs, Your Child’s Rights, Asperger Syndrome and PDD-NOS. We also offer a number of resource-packed tool kits for free download (here and here). They include our 100 Day Kit for families who have a child recently diagnosed with autism. These resources are made possible through the generous support of our families, volunteers and donors.