S - PREP
Structured Teaching - What is it!
Various Other Topics as a Tier 1
Diane Talarico-Cavanaugh, M.Ed.
What is Structured Teaching?
A specific antecedent based approach designed specifically for
students with autism. This approach utilizes the core
strengths of the student with autism to facilitate learning.
This approach was born out of the T.E.A.C.C.H. philosophy.
T.E.A.C.C.H. was founded by the late Eric Schoppler, PhD.
in the early 1970’s at UNC. It promotes the “Culture of
Autism” as a way of thinking about the characteristic patterns
of thinking and behavior of these individuals.
Goals of Structured Teaching
Promote independence & meaning through structure.
Transform curriculum/learning tasks into concrete, visual
sequences that compensate for Executive Function Disorder
and poor communication skills
Structure is not faded or removed but is modified and
The ability to:
Executive function is the way we monitor and control our
thoughts, actions, emotions and behaviors.
Which students have Executive
For many students, the executive functioning system of their
brain is not working properly.
Executive Dysfunctions are intimately connected with
Asperger's Disorder, Autism, ADHD, some Learning
Disabilities and have also been found in adults with OCD.
Executive Dysfunctions also effect middle schoolers as part of
the normal developmental process!!!!
It is also associated with depression, to name but some of the
Major areas of impairment in Executive
Executive Dysfunction often leads to
Causes of Behavior Problems
Lack of order
Behavior Serves a Purpose
Compensates for a deficit
Utilizes a strength
What are some behaviors that you are
Not completing work
Not paying attention
Focused on wrong stuff
Overflow of body/hands/mouth
Forgetting needed materials
Poor impulse control
There is growing evidence that:
Problems associated with Executive Dysfunction contribute to most
disruptive behavior that result in removal from the learning
There is increased demands on executive function skills.
Children are exposed to fewer activities that build executive function
Executive Function or Hard Work,
Discipline and Persistence
Evidence indicates that self discipline accounts for over twice as much
variance in final grades as does IQ, even in college.
Duckworth & Seligman( 2005)
EF skills are important for school readiness and are more strongly
associated with school readiness than IQ or entry reading or math
(Blair, 2002, 2203, Blair & Razza, 2007; Normandeau & Guay, 1998)
So what works?
Using Their Strengths
Preferred interests or desired topics
Smaller segments, fewer numbers, tasks broken down
Addressing Executive Function
Why Use Visual Strategies
Visuals are not transient and compensate inattention, poor
working memory, inability to prioritize/organize
Visuals help sort out or point out what is important
Visuals lesson demands on working memory and other executive
Types of Visual supports
Color Coding (like science folder, books, notebooks etc. all blue,
even what bin to place work into)
Strips that contain steps in the editing process such as checking
punctuation, checking for capitalization, etc.
Visual thought or idea organization (inspiration.com)
Antecedent based NOT reward or punishment based
Uses competence motivation rather than consequence
Levels of Structured Teaching:
Routines and Strategies
Clearly defined spaces so students can visually see what the
expectations are for that area
Visual structure that supports the task or activity
Answers the questions of why am I here and what do I need
Provides a visual (objects, pictures or words) to tell the
person what activities will happen and in what order
Sometimes it can be faded or changed to match a student’s
skills but not eliminated
Success does not indicate a lack of need
How much do I have to do?
How do I know when I am
What comes next?
Antecedents (trigger and slow burn)
Looking for Functions of Behavior
The Iceberg Model
The behavior is just the symptom of the underlying
characteristics of autism.
Difficulty with Change
Cognitive Learning Style
Specific Behaviors (tip of the
Waits for prompts
Unable to organize behavior
Poor concept of time
Does not understand future
Does not understand expectations
See how behavior is misinterpreted as noncompliant,
disrespectful, oppositional, impulsive etc.
Use the Iceberg Model instead of a traditional A-B-C
approach to address underlying skill deficits instead of using
consequences to manipulate behavior.
Structured Teaching is a behavior regulation system!!
USE VISUAL SUPPORTS.
Rely on antecedent based strategies.
The Incredible 5-Point Scale
by Buron & Curtis
A visual scale describing the escalation phase of behavior or
What the behavior looks like or sounds like.
Get student input on what the behavior feels like.
People or strategies that can help.
The perception of others (added by Diane)