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What is the SCERTS® Model?

The SCERTS® Model is a model of service provision, rather than a specific program. It combines several techniques to create individualised programs for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). SCERTS® aims to help families, teachers and therapists work cooperatively to support individual children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The acronym stands for Social Communication (SC), Emotional Regulation (ER) and Transactional Support (TS).

This program isn't available in Australia in this form. It might be offered as part of a service within Australia or in a modified form.

Who is the SCERTS® Model for?

The SCERTS® Model was developed specifically for preschool-age and primary school-age children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The approach might also be useful for older people with ASD.

What is the SCERTS® Model used for?

The SCERTS® Model is used to teach children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) 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. SCERTS®, as it exists now, was created in 2007 by a team of experts with experience in autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

What is the idea behind the SCERTS® Model?

The SCERTS® Model concentrates on three 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® incorporates aspects of different well-established autism spectrum disorder (ASD) therapies 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. They draw on established interventions like Pivotal Response Treatment, TEACCH, DIR®/Floortime™, Relationship Development Intervention™, More Than Words® and Social Stories®.

The time involved in this approach depends on the specific strategies that are used with individual children.

Cost considerations

The cost of this therapy varies depending on the service provider.

Does the SCERTS® Model work?

SCERTS® is a model of service provision, rather than a specific program. Research has validated some of the individual techniques used in this model.

Who practises the SCERTS® Model?

Practitioners who have been trained in the SCERTS® Model or who have studied the SCERTS® professional manual can practise this method. The developers of SCERTS® say it's most effective when professionals from different disciplines - for example, speech pathologists, psychologists and occupational therapists - collaborate in the treatment.

Parent education, training, support and involvement

Parents partner with therapists and other professionals to implement SCERTS®. Parents help in the initial assessment, set intervention goals and play a central part in implementing the teaching supports and techniques.

Where can you find a SCERTS® practitioner?

SCERTS® is offered as part of Autism specific curricula in some Australian early years services.

If you're interested in approaches like SCERTS®, you could talk with your GP or one of the other professionals working with your child. You could also talk with your NDIA planner, NDIS early childhood partner or NDIS local area coordination partner, if you have one.

There are many treatments for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They range from those based on behaviour and development to those based on medicine or alternative therapy. Our article on types of interventions for children with ASD takes you through the main treatments, so you can better understand your child's options.