Behavioral and Educational Therapy


Behavior and education therapies are usually the primary interventions for addressing issues relating to autism, with many different programs and approaches for teaching these skills. Generally speaking, programs are usually based on one of two philosophies or approaches: behavioral and developmental/relationship.

In behaviorally-based programs, the emphasis is on precision and organization during instruction. The teacher takes responsibility for shaping the learning environment and the curriculum progresses in a structured, orderly fashion based upon the child’s responses. Skills to be learned are broken down into small steps, each step is clearly defined and taught sequentially, and progress is monitored through data collection.

In a developmental/relationship-based program, the focus is on developing skills while engaging in personally meaningful activities. This approach, rooted in typical child development, is based on the idea that children acquire skills through interactions, and an emphasis is placed on child-centered activities facilitated by an adult in a natural setting.


Whether a program is behaviorally-based or relationship-based does not determine the program’s effectiveness for YOUR child. Each child is an individual, and whatever programs you choose must be tailored to the child’s needs, as well as to the tasks being taught or the issues being addressed. Good programming requires that the therapist, educator or other provider is trained in the program and is equipped for working with your child and the curriculum or content being taught is individualized to reflect your child’s unique needs, strengths and weaknesses. Here are some of the programs that are currently being used to work with people with autism: 

Inclusion on this listing is not an indication of the program’s effectiveness or quality but is meant to be informative to help you determine what programs might be useful for your child and family.

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