I too, have wondered a lot about why TEACCH is so popular in the U.K.
Gary Mesibov and his company obviously are making a living by promoting the teacch concept but in terms of being referred to Gary Mesibov for “research” or understanding any “efficacy” of teacch, this is far from scientific as Mesibov has a financial vested interest.
I read the recent article by Patricia Howlin who states there is not enough evidence that teacch is effective in teaching autistic children (by the way, i am the mom of an autistic child) and I too would love to know why the UK is using a system for teaching children that has not been proved.
In terms of determining whether children make any gains with teacch, its very hard to establish in the UK because not much else exists in the schools except teacch. If we do not know what “sour” tastes like, how can we know when we taste something that is “sweet”, i.e. compare?
My own personal opinion is that teacch is not appropriate for many autistic children, is outdated and provides a very damaging cookie cutter approach to our children, who are all so very unique from each other.
My own child is not visual, he is very aural. He hates picture schedules and has very good receptive ability. Further i do not believe, like many other parents, that autistic children should be considered living in their own “culture”. Very few teachers will ever understand what it is like to “live” with autism and i think teacch provides a method for teachers to deal with a “condition” that they are often fearful of and simply dont have the time to explore on an individual basis.
I believe teacch offers a panacea to parents, especially parents who are new to the diagnosis who do not know which way to turn and who will grab anything that is handed to them, out of sheer desperation.
teacch fits this bill, in my opinion and in this year, 2007, i am amazed that it is still being used almost exclusively in the UK when other countries have moved on from it. We in the UK should be using the best educational interventions in the world, and teacch is not it. The fact that we are “winging” it with teacch, an unproven and unscientific mode of educational intervention frankly stuns me.
the proof will be in the pudding in 10 or 15 years time when a study will inevitably be done tracking the children who had teacch used in their schools compared to other approaches. I only hope the schools prepare themselves for the onslaught of condemnation from the parents.