Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped CHildren is an evidence-based service, training, and research program for individuals of all ages and skill levels with autism spectrum disorders. Established in the early 1970s by Eric Schopler and colleagues, the TEACCH program has worked with thousands of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families. TEACCH provides clinical services such as diagnostic evaluations, parent training and parent support groups, social play and recreation groups, individual counseling for higher-functioning clients, and supported employment. The main goal of TEACCH for autistic children is to help them grow up to a maximum independence at adult age. This includes helping them understand the world that surround them, acquiring communication skills that will enable them to relate to other people and giving them as much as possible the necessary competence to be able to make choices concerning their own lives.
Working from the premise that people with autism are predominantly visual learners, intervention strategies are based around physical and visual structure, schedules, work systems and task organization. Individualized systems aim to address difficulties with communication, organization, generalization, concepts, sensory processing, change and relating to others. Whereas some interventions focus on addressing areas of weakness, the TEACCH approach works with existing strengths and emerging skill areas and employs alternative and augmentative communication techniques in a supportive environment.