Developmental Intervention Model, a child is encouraged to initiate purposeful behavior, and the therapist follows the child’s lead to extend engagement (Greenspan and Wieder, 1997). At Walden, an engineered environment provides high-preference toys, which are dispensed by teachers in a systematic manner to ensure that children’s engagement levels are maintained at least 80 percent of the time (McGee and Daly, 1999). The Pivotal Response Training approach uses a variety of procedures (e.g., interspersing previously learned tasks among newer and more challenging tasks, reinforcing attempts to respond) to keep children’s motivational levels high (Koegel and Koegel, 1986; Koegel et al., 1988).
Social Interactions Virtually every program lists social interactions as an intervention priority, although the programs differ as to whether the concentration is on interactions with adults (i.e., Developmental Intervention Model, Young Autism Project) or on interactions with peers (i.e., LEAP, Walden). Because the Individualized Support Program is a family support model, this approach emphasizes social interactions with parents and siblings (Fox et al., 1997).
Because all of the programs have an overriding goal of promoting children’s long-term independent functioning in the community, all recognize inclusion of children with autistic spectrum disorders in classes with typical children as a desired long-term outcome. The major differences center around whether the program takes a “readiness” position, which assumes that certain prerequisite skills are needed for a children with autistic spectrum disorders to benefit from inclusion (e.g., the Children’s Unit and TEACCH [Marcus et al., 2000; Romanczyk et al., 2000]), or a position that early social skills are most feasibly developed when children are included with typical children from the outset in intervention (Strain et al., 2001). The Developmental Intervention Model and the Young Autism Project tend to include successful children with autism with typical peers near the end of their early intervention period (Greenspan and Wieder, 1997; Smith et al., 2000a). Douglass now provides a continuum of settings, across which children move from one-to-one, to small-group segregated classes, to an integrated class that includes a majority of typical peers (Harris et al., 2000). One reason the original Denver center-based treatment program closed was in recognition of the importance of including children with autism with their typical peers, which is now done through technical assistance in preschool settings (Rogers, 1998).
A number of models maintain an a priori position that favors inclusion from the outset, based on various arguments for inclusion (Strain et al., in press). Both LEAP and Walden have developed their curricula with a major emphasis on promoting normal social learning opportunities from the earliest possible moment, when all young children are learning how