Instructional Methods and Strategies
There are numerous instructional approaches, treatment protocols, and specialized programs which have been proven through research, review of outcome data, and observation to be effective with children with autism. Team members including parents select intervention strategies, techniques, and methodology based on the:
• Developmental level of the child
• Child’s learning style, strengths, and needs
• Skill or task to be learned.
The following strategies and intervention approaches may be considered when developing personalized programs for young children with autism:
• Incidental Teaching
• Normalization and Developmentally Appropriate Practice
• Naturalistic Teaching Strategies
• Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based Approach (DIR)
• Family-Guided Routines-Based Intervention
• Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped
Children (TEACCH) Strategies
• Applied Behavior Analysis and Discrete Trial Training
• Positive Behavioral Supports
• Assistive Technology
• Sensory Intervention Plans
• Verbal Behavior
• Other Approaches.
It should be noted that different approaches or models use some of the same strategies and are based on similar principles; for example, Behavioral Principles in Naturally Occurring Activities includes elements of Applied Behavioral Analysis, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Naturalistic Teaching Strategies, and Family-Guided Routines-Based Intervention. The approaches may be contrasted on a number of variables which Cole and others have used in comparing direct instruction and mediated learning:
• Teacher versus child initiation of interaction
• Use of secondary reinforcement versus naturally occurring consequences
• Use of elicited responding versus modeling
• Use of predetermined stimulus material versus naturally occurring environmental
• Predetermined sequence of instruction versus variable sequence of instruction
• Goal selection based on didactic principles versus goal selection based on the
sequence of normal development.
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