Autism Society records most keynote and concurrent sessions at their annual conferences. You can see and hear those recordings by purchasing full online access, or individual recordings.
Noting that there has been no true comparison between educational/behavioral/developmental approaches for working with children on the autism spectrum, qualitative research was initiated to investigate Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication-handicapped CHildren (TEACCH), Daily Life Therapy (DLT), Miller Method (MM), and Developmental Individual difference Relationships intervention (DIR). Relational Developmental Intervention (RDI) and Social Communication Emotional Regulation Transactional Supports (SCERTS) are also discussed.
The closest research in this area appears to be where ABA is pitted against what is termed "eclectic approaches" where ABA comes out the winner. Rather than attempting to seek the best way of working with children on the autism spectrum, this research opens the door to examining how best practice can be matched with the needs of children on the autism spectrum.
Overview of Presentation Session Plan
After a short introductiong to the approaches listed above, lecture, video, and discussion will be employed to contrast and compare the different methods. Additionally, areas of overlap will be explored. The presentation will end with findings from my study of these different approaches and implications for future research.
Educators, family members, therapists, school administrators, and others supporting people with autism shall develop an awareness of seven of the more popular and promising approaches used today with the goals of matching best practice to the needs of children on the autism spectrum.
Qualitative research focused on querying key developers, namely Tristram Smith (ABA), Gary Mesibov (TEACCH), Anne Roberts (Daily Life Therapy), Arnold Miller (MM), and Serena Wieder (DIR) on topics including defining autism, explaining behavior and treatment according to their own approaches, and intellectual histories. An initial email survey was conducted which was followed by one hour videotaped interviews to gather data for analysis. Further research into RDI and SCERTS was also conducted to include them in this presentation.
• current definitions of autism are incomplete and disagreement of how to define autism between the persons interviewed,
• multi-dimensional approaches to diagnosis and treatment are needed,
• the autism spectrum as currently employed is too wide to be useful without meaningful subtyping,and,
• a sense that people with autism have something valuable to contribute to the community.
The ever widening conception of what is included in the autism spectrum calls for a diversity of approaches for empowering people with autism to lead fulfilling and productive lives to their greatest potential. Continued research is suggested for matching best practice to the needs of children and youth with autism.
Content Area: Applied Research
Stephen M. Shore, Ed.D.
Professor at Adelphi University