What is the SCERTS Model: Can it Help People with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

What is the SCERTS Model: Can it Help People with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
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What is the SCERTS Model?

People with autism spectrum disorder generally have problems in the areas of communication. The SCERTS model is a plan that can be

adjusted to an individual’s circumstances. If health professionals, educators, and family members work together to consistently implement the strategies, the results can be very good. While the SCERTS model is often used with children, it can benefit autistic people of any age.

Teamwork is the best approach, and the SCERTS model recommends at least 25 hours of active engagement and instruction per week. This training should be carried through from school to home and will concentrate on supporting social and emotional development through daily activities and routines. Assessments and interventions are part of the framework of training.

The SCERTS Model and Social Communication

The SCERTS model uses a multi-faceted approach to improving social communication and recommends that a variety of settings be used. These include one-to-one interaction, small groups, and larger groups. Language comprehension is part of social communication and the SCERTS model aims at moving communication from gestures to pictures and from pictures to words. Interaction with children who have normal social skills is encouraged as this can be a positive learning environment if handled correctly.

The SCERTS Model and Emotional Regulation

Emotional dysregulation is a characteristic of autism spectrum disorder and is defined as an emotional response that is poorly modulated. The SCERTS model aims at finding ways to help people when an unexpected event causes emotional distress. These types of events often include some kind of sensory input that is uncomfortable or overwhelming.

The initial response is to provide some relief to the person. This may be by removing him or her from the scene of distress or allowing them to engage in an regulating activity. Long term, the SCERTS model tries to prepare the person for an upcoming event or change by communicating about it and using visual aids. Their support team is encouraged to look for the reasons behind the emotional reaction and work around this rather than trying to prevent the resulting behavior

The SCERTS Model and Transactional Support

Transactional support refers to the involvement of parents, caregivers, and educators and their response to carrying through activities with the autistic person. In some cases the home or school environment may need to be modified and learning aids provided. These can include visual and written material as well as sensory supports.

How the SCERTS Model Benefits People with Autism

The SCERTS model has been used in many parts of the worlds with great success. It aims at improving social communication and emotional regulation in people with autism spectrum disorder. This is done by involving family members, health professionals, and educators. As these people work as a team and reinforce the same behaviors and messages, the autistic person can develop better social skills and coping strategies for events that cause emotional stress.


The SCERTS Model. Frequently asked questions, retrieved at https://www.scerts.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=5

Autism Speaks. Social communication/ emotional regulation/ transactional support (SCERTS), retrieved at https://www.autismspeaks.org/treatment/scerts.php

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