Sample Psychology Case Study on Autism Spectrum Disorder

Several approaches have yielded positive outcomes when it comes to teaching children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Some of these approaches include treatment and education of autistic and related communication-handicapped children (TEACCH) approach and the applied behavioral analysis (ABA) approach. Although every ASD child has unique needs, there is no need to use reinvent the wheel when an individual works with a different child. TEACCH and ABA approaches and critiques are explored with the most effective approach required in teaching children with ASD being determined.

TEACCH is a university-based autism program at the University of North Carolina that conceptualizes ASD and delivers clinical services and support to children living with the disorder. The clinical services including diagnostic evaluations, initial referral and consultations, individual counseling, social play, and recreational groups among others. TEACCH developed the concept of the culture of autism. The approach was established to convey a message to the society that autism is like culture as it produces characteristic patterns of thinking, communication, and behaviors amongst children living with ASD. The approach holds that teachers and parents should act as cross-cultural interpreters to translate the expectations of the neurotypical world to persons living with ASD. TEACCH is one of the first approaches to address the need for coming up with contingency plans to help persons with ASD. The approach uses an effective plan to develop social, communication and other skills that do lag in persons living with the disorder. The fundamental principles of this approach include the need for individuals to understand the culture of autism, develop an individual or family-centered curriculum to teach children with ASD rather than adopting the use of standard curriculum, structuring the physical environment in a way that may assist children with ASD to understand what meaning of various environmental component, using visual supports to allow the children with ASD to predict and understand their daily activities, and help them understand their tasks.

ABA is a therapy-based approach centered on the science of learning and behavior of individuals. The approach helps individuals to understand how the behavior works, how the environment can affect one’s behavior, and how learning takes place in a particular environment. The approach aims at intensifying positive behaviors and eliminating negative ones that may affect an individual’s learning process. The approach can be used in teaching children with ASD to increase their language and communications. ABA can also help in improving the attention, focus, and social skills of persons within ASD (Axelrod, McElrath & Wine, 2012). The approach can further be used to decrease problem behaviors amongst children with the disorder. ABA involves several techniques and teachers can use it in different situations or places as it is flexible. The approach can be adapted to meet the needs of each unique person and can be provided in different locations including home and school, among other places. The approach also teaches various skills that may be useful in the daily lives of children with ASD and can involve one-on-one-teaching or group discussions amongst those with the disorder.

The most effective model in teaching children with ASD is the ABA approach. The approach helps children with ASD to gain social skills necessary to get them along with their peers and establish effective relationships with others in society. Besides, the approach allows teachers, parents, and guardians to teach children with ASD independent living skills such as brushing teeth and getting dressed. ABA also increases life satisfaction. Once children with ASD learn how to be independent and acquire the necessary social skills, they would feel empowered and be able to manage any challenges they may experience.



Axelrod, S., McElrath, K. K., & Wine, B. (2012). Applied behavior analysis: Autism and beyond. Behavioral Interventions, 27(1), 1-15. Retrieved from