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TEACCH approach. TEACCH WORKSTATION. How to set up your first TEACCH station?

Updated: May 29, 2023

Hey everybody.

Happy Thursday.

I hope that you have enjoyed the two weeks of Easter Holliday break.

I enjoyed mine and what's two weeks I had. From snow hiking one week to the summer countryside walking in my local area the following week.

Last time I was talking about Autism Awareness Day.

In this week's episode of Bea Inclusive TV, I will get through the practicalities of organising and using the TEACCH approach and TEACCH workstation in the school.

This week I'm answering one question.

This is the question: Do you have any advice on setting up my first TEACCH station?

Yes! It is my pleasure to help as I love the TEACCH approach, and I was lucky enough to introduce it in my school.

Of course, I know nothing about the child's age, interests and deficit skills, so don't forget to adapt everything to the child's needs, but the principles of setting the workstations are the same.

So, in this video, you will:

  1. Find out – What is it, TEACCH APPROACH? What is TEACCH WORKSTATION?

  2. Find out where and how to place the workstation.

  3. Where and how to organise the work at the station.

  4. Find out about the Workstation rules.

Let me start with the TEACCH definition:

TEACCH approach (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children) is an evidence-based program founded by Dr Eric Schopler in 1972 at the University of North Carolina in the USA.

The TEACCH approach is highly effective as the structure you introduce to the child is a form of behaviour management. It will help your pupils to understand your expectations. The physical environment will clearly state when and where they work and what they must do. Predictability helps them to stay calm as well as helps with transition time.

There are plenty of reasons to use TEACCH in each school, such as:

  • Focusing on the child, his existing skills, interests, and needs

  • Development of "culture of autism".

  • Use of visual structure and the organisation of the physical environment and resources (box and folder tasks)

  • Support of learning processes but also leisure and social times

  • Flexibility of teaching

  • Adaptation and individualisation of the tasks

  • Focusing on being independent

  • Helping with the organisational skills

  • Evidencing child progress daily and differentiating further if necessary

This approach gives you actual data on what your child can do without help. It will also provide information on how long each child needs to master a new skill. Then, you can plan and prioritise more effectively, knowing a child's learning rate. This will help you target and challenge your pupils, so the child will not feel bored or overwhelmed.

The TEACCH approach is helpful in the classrooms for students of all ages and companies that employ people with SEND. The combination of the organisation of physical space, scheduling and visual clues, teaching methods, adaptations, differentiations, and individualisations help children and young people fulfil the tasks independently and allow staff to evidence their progress whiles avoiding a lot of challenging behaviour or refusal.

Of course, you can organise whole classrooms and intervention rooms by following TEACCH principles. Still, you can also use a single workstation, schedules, visuals, tasks, etc., in your classroom, library, quiet corridors, etc.

One of the essential factors when organising a TEACCH workstation/system is setting up the teaching tasks. Work must be visually organised around the child's strengths and interests and should be at the child's level of understanding and contain visual instructions.

So, let me show you an example of the workstation that is one of the necessary elements of the TEACCH approach.

As you can see, the workstation faced the wall and was screened by two shelving units on the left and right. This helps children focus on the work we prepared for them, avoid unavoidable distractions, and organise the tasks. Of course, this combination works best, but you can use table screening if that is the only option.

On the wall, you can see the schedule, organised from top to bottom with the laminated and Velcroed pictures, the place for the current task and the finished pocked, there are also visual reminders on what is expected from the child when working at the workstation.

At this station, the child is working from left to right. On the left-hand side, you can see folder tasks. On this occasion, the child will fulfil three tasks in one sitting.

So, how does this work?

The child is trained to use the schedule and visuals first. Simply show the child that we pick the first top picture up and place it onto the Velcroed spot, which means that:

I must find the folder or the box with the matching picture from the tasks placed on the left-hand side.

The child picks up the task, fulfils it, places the worksheet back into the box or folder and places the finished work on the right-hand side in the basket. Then removes, the scheduled picture is into the finished pocket, and the process starts again until the child reaches the visual representation of choosing. This marks the end of the independent work at the TEACCH workstation. Now the child can enjoy his reinforcement for agreed (beforehand) time.

The Choosing Folder is Velcroed to the right side of the table and contains 2 to 3 reinforcements preselected in the morning by the child from the Bank of Choosing. Then, the adult carefully selects six different picture representations of the reinforcements that will likely motivate the child to finish all the preparation work and rotate the motivators daily.

The reinforcements should be organised, and depending on the child's needs and skills, you can give the child free access to the motivators, or you can teach the child to come over to you and ask you for the prize.

If you work with young people, you can prepare To-Do Lists with ticking boxes or another crossing system instead of picture schedules, but the rules are similar.

When the child is enjoying their chosen time, this is the time for the Teacher, TA/LSA to check the child's work and fulfil the child's tasks records, plan more or different activities, and prepare the workstation for the afternoon or the next day – that will depend on the school system.

Before I talk about the tasks that we prepare for the child, let me talk about the workstation rules first:

Rule number 1: coach the child to stay at the workstation until he finishes all the tasks and chooses the reinforcement picture.

Rule number 2: the work must be done independently, and adults can only observe the child's work (evidencing the progress) or approach the child only if the child indicates that he needs help by using the graphic card on the wall. All the requested support (prompts) must be recorded in the child's workstation records and marked appropriately by using the prompting symbols as the work would be supported. This may mean that the child didn't understand the task and requires additional practice time with the adult.

Rule number 3: All the tasks can only be planned and placed in the workstation after the teacher's input. This way, you will be able to differentiate and adapt the resources to the needs of the individual.

Rule number 4: Make sure that the level of differentiation, adaptation and individualisation of tasks meets the child's needs. It is not easy, so the child can successfully fulfil the duties independently and contain a few challenges. This is particularly important as we do not want children to be bored, but also want them to increase their self-esteem and show them that they can finish their work independently and enjoy the earned prize. The workstation and the task should be organised and include the child's interests.

Rule number 5: All the necessary equipment is supplied for the child and available at the workstation. There are two ways of organising the resources, depending on the child's needs. First, I suggest placing everything in the folder or the box. Let me give you a few examples:

  1. When the child is required to cut an object and glue it correctly, you must place scissors and glue in the folder.

  2. If the child must read the text and find and highlight the verbs, then the highlighter should be included in the task.

  3. If the child is required to sort objects, then objects and marked containers should be included in the box.

You can do plenty to motivate children to fulfil their tasks, and you can organise the tasks in many interactive ways to engage them.

If you have children struggling with fine motor skills, you can prepare plenty of different ways to practice them fulfilling English or maths tasks simultaneously.

Velcro Folders and The Box Tasks are the most attractive to children, and very often, we notice that the main obstacles to fulfilling the work are children struggling with writing.

The understanding is there, but the child cannot move forward as he cannot write. So, if you have children struggling with writing and not progressing, replace this element with typing or Velcro or Boxes tasks to check the child's understanding and allow them to work independently. Hence, they are not dependent on LSA or teachers.

This way, you can genuinely evidence even little progress as the task to the workstation changes daily and depends on the child's progress. This means that the child can work at his best, and the pace of the work reflects the child's needs with the appropriate level of work differentiation, adaptation, and individualisation. This approach fulfils our duty to deliver child-centred and evidenced-based teaching when supporting and helping children with SEND.

Ok. There you have it!

I hope that you enjoyed my VLOG today, and I'm looking forward to hearing from you. If you have more questions about the TEACCH approach, TEACCH WORKSTATION, please ask me. I have plenty of experience organising the whole classroom using the TEACCH approach in the school with a flexible 3-6 workstation system, social skills group tables, transition areas, etc.

I hope I could give you some basic information to get your workstation started. You will be amazing!

After finishing this video, please click the like button and subscribe. This will help my channel immensely, and I can make VLOGs like this, which is for free.

That's it for today, and I will see you next Thursday.

Until the next time

Love and xxx



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