What is the SCERTS Model?
The SCERTS Model is a model of service provision, rather than a specific therapy or program. SCERTS aims to help families, teachers and therapists work cooperatively to support autistic children. It combines several techniques to create individualised programs for autistic children.
The acronym stands for Social Communication (SC), Emotional Regulation (ER) and Transactional Support (TS).
The SCERTS Model isn’t available in Australia. But it might be offered as part of a service within Australia or in a modified form – for example, within an early learning centre or autism-specific service.
Who is the SCERTS Model for?
The SCERTS Model was developed specifically for autistic preschoolers and primary school-age children. The approach might also be useful for older autistic people.
What is the SCERTS Model used for?
The SCERTS Model is used to help autistic children learn how to regulate their emotions and communicate with others.
Where does the SCERTS Model come from?
The research that underpins the SCERTS Model was conducted during the early 1980s in the United States. In its current form, SCERTS was created in 2007 by a team of autism experts.
What is the idea behind the SCERTS Model?
The SCERTS Model concentrates on 3 key areas:
- social communication – developing relationships and communication skills
- emotional regulation – reducing emotional ups and downs
- transactional support – providing helpful aids to communication and learning.
SCERTS takes aspects of well-established therapies for autistic children and combines them in individualised programs designed by children’s parents and therapists.
What does the SCERTS Model involve?
Parents work with professionals to assess children and then choose a set of individual techniques they think will be most helpful to children.
In choosing these techniques, parents and professionals draw on established, evidence-based therapies like:
- More Than Words
- Pivotal Response Treatment
- Relationship Development Intervention
- Social stories
The time involved in this approach depends on the specific therapies that are used with individual children.
Does the SCERTS Model help autistic children?
SCERTS is a model of service provision, rather than a specific program. Some of the individual therapies and techniques used in this model are supported by research.
Who practises the SCERTS Model?
Practitioners who have been trained in the SCERTS Model or who have studied the SCERTS professional manual can use the Model. The SCERTS developers say it’s most effective when professionals from different disciplines – for example, speech pathologists, psychologists and occupational therapists – collaborate on its use.
Where can you find a SCERTS practitioner?
SCERTS is offered as part of autism-specific learning and teaching programs in some Australian early childhood services and schools.
If you’re interested in approaches like SCERTS, you could talk about these approaches with your GP or one of the other professionals working with your child. You could also talk about them with your NDIA planner, early childhood partner or local area coordinator (LAC), if you have one.
Parent education, training, support and involvement
If your child is in a program that uses the SCERTS Model, you work with therapists and other professionals to implement the Model. You help with your child’s initial assessment, set intervention goals and use the teaching supports and techniques at home.
The cost of this approach varies depending on the service provider.
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.