Yeung-yeung is our service user who is autistic and moderately mentally handicapped. He enjoys getting along with people, but he is not good at expressing his emotions and feelings, and communication barriers are sometimes inevitable. Especially when he insists on achieving something, he may take rather aggressive actions to reach his goals or express his discontent. That is why he may easily be distracted by some surrounding factors and socialising issues during his regular training, making him difficult to concentrate and achieve the expected training outcomes. Therefore, we brought together our professionals including social workers, clinical psychologists and occupational therapists to conduct analysis and assessment, after which we formulated training and therapy strategies tailor-made for Yeung-yeung, giving him all necessary assistance with the TEACCH method.
Introducing ‘TEACCH’ Method
The ‘TEACCH’ method (which stands for the Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication Handicapped Children method) is a teaching strategy that focuses on structured and systematic arrangement of learning environment, materials and work procedures. The aim of the method is to help children on the autism spectrum to improve their emotions and behaviours, to build a proper daily routine, and to learning independent living skills. The TEACCH method includes 4 key principles, namely ‘physical structure’, ‘schedules’, ‘work system’ and ‘visual information’.
Specifically developed for children with autism spectrum disorder, the TEACCH method takes into account all the characteristics traits of autism. Through multi-perspective analysis of their learning characteristics, comprehensive and personalised support is provided to help persons with ASD master and develop different skills. Explicit visual cues help to make a physical structure, which in turn helps persons with ASD to understand the correlation between different environments. In this way, they can be at ease when engaging in activities in such environment, thus enhancing their ability to work independently and their learning performance.
Situation gradually improves
By adopting ‘visual cues’ and ‘building routines’, along with ‘personal work system’, ‘environment arrangements’ and ‘schedules’, social workers help Yang-yang express his needs and feelings, as well as enhancing his communication and social skills. After 4 months of training, Yang-yang has gradually adapted to the training mode of TEACCH. His emotions have improved, his anxiety and restlessness relieved, his attention span increased, and his problem behaviours reduced.
When Yang-yang did not know how to express his restlessness properly, he let out his discontent through negative behaviours, which had placed strain on his relations with other people. With the help of effective training strategies and ways of communication, Yang-yang’s needs have been properly taken care of, and he can now enjoy restored relations with others.
‘And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:7)