Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 366-380

First online:

Comparative Efficacy of LEAP, TEACCH and Non-Model-Specific Special Education Programs for Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Brian A. BoydAffiliated withDivision of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Email author 
  • , Kara HumeAffiliated withFPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • , Matthew T. McBeeAffiliated withEducational and Quantitative Psychology, East Tennessee State University
  • , Michael AlessandriAffiliated withCenter for Autism and Related Disabilities, University of MiamiDepartment of Psychology and Pediatrics, University of Miami
  • , Anibal GutierrezAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Florida International University
  • , LeAnne JohnsonAffiliated withSpecial Education Programs, University of Minnesota
  • , Laurie SperryAffiliated withAutism Centre of Excellence, School of Arts, Education and Law, Griffith University
  • , Samuel L. OdomAffiliated withFGP Child Development Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel HillSchool of Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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LEAP and TEACCH represent two comprehensive treatment models (CTMs) that have been widely used across several decades to educate young children with autism spectrum disorders. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to compare high fidelity LEAP (n = 22) and TEACCH (n = 25) classrooms to each other and a control condition (n = 28), in which teachers in high quality special education programs used non-model-specific practices. A total of 198 children were included in data analysis. Across conditions, children’s performances improved over time. This study raises issues of the replication of effects for CTMs, and whether having access to a high quality special education program is as beneficial as access to a specific CTM.


Comparative effectiveness Comprehensive treatments Efficacy Intervention LEAP TEACCH