The TEACCH approach tries to respond to the needs of autistic people using the best available approaches and methods known so far, for educating and teaching autonomy. It is not a single method and can be used alongside other approaches.

Our charity’s Earlybird parent support programme uses techniques from the TEACCH approach, and we provide TEACCH training to professionals.

Here we look at the values, priorities and history of the TEACCH approach, and show you where you can find out more.

TEACCH values

Teaching – sharing autism knowledge and increasing the skill level of professionals and practitioners.

Expanding – increasing own knowledge to provide high-quality services to people on the autism spectrum and their families.

Appreciating – appreciating the strengths and uniqueness of autistic culture.

Collaborating and Cooperating with colleagues, other professionals, people on the autism spectrum and their families.

Holistic – adopting a holistic approach, looking at the person, their family and community.

TEACCH priorities

Some of the TEACCH Autism Program priorities are:

  • focusing on the person, their skills, interests and needs
  • understanding the ‘culture of autism’ and identifying differences based on individualised assessments
  • using visual structures to organise the environment and tasks when teaching skills
  • being broad-based, ie support people at work, teach skills but also ensure that people are supported during leisure and/or social activities
  • being flexible and teaching flexibility.

The TEACCH principles and techniques may always need to be in place for someone, but they may look very different at different stages of the person’s life. 

The history of TEACCH

Division TEACCH started in 1966 as part of the Department of Psychiatry of the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina in the USA.

It began as a Child Research Project to provide services to children on the autism spectrum and their families. In 1972 the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation which enabled Division TEACCH to become the first comprehensive state-wide community-based programme of services for children and adults on the autism spectrum and other similar developmental disorders.

Find out more

The University of North Carolina TEACCH Autism Program

Research Autism’s evaluation of the TEACCH approach

Find publications on the TEACCH website and research articles in our library catalogue

Our charity’s TEACCH training.

Please note: this page provides information on a particular intervention/approach and any research connected with it, and is not a recommendation. The outcome of any approach will depend on the needs of the individual, which vary greatly, and the appropriate application of the intervention. An intervention that may help one individual may not be effective for another. It would therefore not be appropriate for The National Autistic Society to recommend any one particular practice or therapy. Read more about choosing an approach.

Last reviewed 9 January 2017