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The SCERTS Model

A comprehensive educational approach for children with autism spectrum disorders
Researched and written by Prizant, Wetherby, Rubin, Laurent and Rydell.

Social –Communication, Emotional regulation, Transactional -Support

These areas address the core deficits in autism. They are the key areas of teaching we need to offer pupils who have autism.

Social communication addresses the overriding goals of helping a child to be an increasingly competent, confident and active participant in social activities. This includes communicating and playing with others in everyday activities and sharing joy and pleasure in social relationships.

To do so, children must acquire capacities in two major areas on functioning: Joint attention and symbol use. Joint attention enables a child to share attention and emotion with a social partner and is a key building block to learning to communicate in a way that is rewarding for each social partner.

Symbol use addresses how children communicate and the approach gives us the means to structure the use of symbols that they can understand. From real objects that clearly represent the activity in which the child is engaging through photographs of the activity or object they want, to symbols form our communicate in print vocabulary and words on the page, we will use the SCERTS approach to provide a framework to teach them how to communicate with speech as our overriding goal.

We believe in teaching communication above all else. We prioritise teaching our pupils to speak. If this proves too difficult, we will teach other forms of communication, signing, use of symbols and iPad programmes.


Click on these links to see examples showing how the approach works

1: Social Communication
2: Symbol Use
3: Language Partner
4: Emotional Regulation
5: Transactional Support


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