Bea Inclusive TV and Podcast
Episode 021 - How to set up your first TEACCH workstation?
I hope that you have enjoyed the two weeks Easter Holliday break.
I enjoyed mine and what’s two weeks I had. From the snow hiking one week to the summer countryside walking in my local area the next week.
Last time I was talking about Autism Awareness Day.
In this week episode of Bea Inclusive TV, I will get through the practicalities of organising and using TEACCH approach 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 age, interest 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:
Find out – What is it TEACCH?
Find out where and how to place the workstation.
Where and how to organise the work at the station
Find out about the Workstation rules.
Let me start with TEACCH definition:
TEACCH approach (which means 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.
TEACCH approach is extremely effective as the structure that 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 on the daily basis and differentiating further if necessary
This approach gives you real data on what your child can do, without any help. It will also give you info on how long each child needs to master a new skill. Then, you will be able to plan and prioritise more effectively, knowing the rate of a child learning. This will help you in targeting and challenging your pupils, so the child will not feel bored or overwhelmed.
TEACCH approach is proven useful in the classrooms for students of all ages and for 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 help 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, but you can also use a single workstation, schedules, visuals, tasks, etc. in your classroom, library, quiet corridors, etc.
One of the important factors when organising a TEACCH workstation/system is the process of 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 is facing the wall and was screened by two shelving units on the left and on the right. This helps children to focus on the work we prepared for them, to avoid unavoidable distractions and to organise the tasks. This combination works best but you can use table screening if that is the only option.
On the wall, you can see the schedule which is 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 be fulfilling 3 tasks in one sitting.
So, how 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, place 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 into the finished pocket and the process starts again until the child will reach 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 types of reinforcements that were preselected in the morning by the child from the Bank of Choosing. The adult carefully selects 6 different picture representations of the reinforcements that more likely will motivate the child on the day to finish all the preparation work and rotate the reinforcements 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 instead of pictures schedules you can prepare the To-Do Lists with ticking boxes or another crossing system, but the rules are similar.
When the child is enjoying his/her choosing time this is the time for the Teacher, TA/LSA to check the child’s work and fulfil the child’s tasks records, to plan more or different activities and to prepare the workstation for the afternoon or the next day – that will depend on the school system.
Before I will talk about the tasks that we prepare for the child let me talk about the workstation rules first:
Rule number 1: train 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 work (evidencing the progress) or approach the child only if the child indicated that he needs help by using the visual card that is placed on the wall. All the requested help must be recorded into the child’s workstation records and marked appropriately by using the prompting symbols as the work would be supported and 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 input and TA/Learning Support Assistant 1 two 1 work. 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, is not too easy so the child can be successful in fulfilling the tasks independently but also contain few challenges. This is particularly important as we do not want children to be bored but also, we 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 organising and including 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 and this will depend on the individual child’s needs. I suggest placing everything in the folder or the box. Let me give you few examples:
when the child is required to cut an object and glue in the right place then you must place scissors and the glue in the folder.
If the child will be required to read the text and find and highlight the verbs, then the highlighter should be included in the task.
If the child will be required to sort objects, then objects and clearly marked containers should be included in the box.
There is plenty that you can do 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, then you can prepare plenty of different ways to practice them fulfilling English or maths tasks at the same time.
Velcro Folders and The Box Tasks are the most attractive to children and very often we can 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 is not able to write. So, if you have children struggling with writing and not progressing then replace this element with typing or Velcro or Boxes tasks to check the child understanding and give them the opportunity to work independently so they not dependant on LSA or teachers.
This way you can truly evidence even tiny progress as the task to the workstation are changed daily and depends on 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 the 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, please feel free to ask me. I have plenty of experience in organising the whole classrooms by using the TEACCH approach in the school with flexible 3-6 workstation system, social skills group tables, transition areas, etc.
I hope that I was able to give you some basic information to get your workstation started. You will be amazing!
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That’s it for today and I will see you next Thursday.