What is responsive teaching?
Responsive teaching is a program that teaches parents how to support the development of their children’s communication, thinking, social and emotional skills by being more responsive in their interactions with their children.
The program’s developers also refer to responsive teaching as a relationship-focused therapy.
This program isn’t currently available as a stand-alone program in Australia. It might be offered as part of a service within Australia or in a modified form.
Who is responsive teaching for?
Responsive teaching is designed for children under 6 years old who have difficulties with communication, thinking or social-emotional skills.
What is responsive teaching used for?
Responsive teaching is used to improve 3 areas of child development – thinking, communication skills, and social and emotional skills. It aims to improve these by teaching children several pivotal behaviours.
Where does responsive teaching come from?
Responsive teaching was developed in the United States in 2007 as a parenting program for parents of young autistic children and children with developmental delay.
What is the idea behind responsive teaching?
This program is based on the idea that responsive interactions between children and parents are an essential basis for development.
What does responsive teaching involve?
Parents and children spend one hour a week with a therapist trained in this approach, either at a centre or at home. The sessions train parents in specific techniques like:
- taking turns when interacting
- matching what they do with children’s development levels
- being warm and expressive when interacting with children.
These techniques aim to improve children’s use of pivotal behaviours and support children’s development and learning.
The therapist and parents also develop family action plans, which are made up of responsive teaching strategies and activities to do at home.
Does responsive teaching help autistic children?
Some research has shown positive effects on child learning and development from this therapy, but more high-quality studies are needed.
Who practises responsive teaching?
Professionals can become Certified Responsive Teaching Providers by completing training through Responsive Teaching International Outreach in the United States.
Where can you find a practitioner?
Responsive teaching is currently available only in the United States and Canada.
If you’re interested in therapies that are similar to responsive teaching, you could talk with your GP or one of the other professionals working with your child. You could also talk about relationship-focused therapies with your NDIA planner, early childhood partner or local area coordinator, if you have one.
Parent education, training, support and involvement
Initially, parents must complete a 2-day workshop called Getting Started with Responsive Teaching. Parents deliver responsive teaching with the support of a trained professional, so involvement is high.
Responsive teaching isn’t offered as a stand-alone program in Australia, so no information about cost is available.
Therapies and supports for autistic children range from behaviour therapies and developmental approaches to medicines and alternative therapies. When you understand the main types of therapies and supports for autistic children, it’ll be easier to work out the approach that will best suit your child.