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Comparative Efficacy of LEAP, TEACCH and Non-Model-Specific Special Education Programs for Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Abstract

LEAP and TEACCH represent two comprehensive treatment models (CTMs) that have been widely used across several decades to educate young children with autism spectrum disorders. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to compare high fidelity LEAP (n = 22) and TEACCH (n = 25) classrooms to each other and a control condition (n = 28), in which teachers in high quality special education programs used non-model-specific practices. A total of 198 children were included in data analysis. Across conditions, children’s performances improved over time. This study raises issues of the replication of effects for CTMs, and whether having access to a high quality special education program is as beneficial as access to a specific CTM.

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Acknowledgments

The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education through Grant R324B070219 awarded to UNC-Chapel Hill. The opinions expressed represent those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the US Department of Education. At the time the study was conducted, Dr. Matthew McBee was at the UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. Anibal Gutierrez was at the University of Miami and Dr. Laurie Sperry was at the University of Colorado-Denver. Finally, we wish to thank all of the families, teachers and other school personnel who participated in this study.

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Correspondence to Brian A. Boyd.

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Boyd, B.A., Hume, K., McBee, M.T. et al. Comparative Efficacy of LEAP, TEACCH and Non-Model-Specific Special Education Programs for Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord 44, 366–380 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-1877-9

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