Developing an ASD intervention plan using the Ziggurat Model, Ziggurat Model background info, how the Ziggurat Model works


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ASD Resources

Developing an ASD Intervention Plan

Autism spectrum disorders are conditions that require interventions throughout the lifespan (Aspy and Grossman, 2008).  While there are hundreds of specific interventions and treatments for ASDs in existence today, information concerning the intricate task of developing effective intervention plans is rather limited.

The Ziggurat Model

Fortunately, a user-friendly guide has recently emerged with the long sought answers to how to develop thorough intervention plans.  The Ziggurat Model offers a step-by-step framework for organizing our knowledge of autism and intervention options into a comprehensive plan into which we can plug in the intervention strategies of our choosing.

Ziggurat Model Background

The Ziggurat Model was co-authored by Ruth Aspy, Ph.D., and Barry Grossman, Ph.D., licensed psychologists specializing in assessment and intervention for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.  The model was created to address concerns and common pitfalls of typical approaches to developing intervention plans, such as incomplete pictures of the person's challenges and failure to target specific behaviors.

Aspy and Grossman synthesized the research on program planning and functional behavior assessment into a practical, coherent decision model that many in the field speculate "could potentially impact the education and support of thousands of people on the autism spectrum."

How it Works

The Ziggurat Model is based on the premise that we must first understand why individuals are engaging in specific behaviors and identify what is reinforcing for them before attempting to teach them new skills.  The Ziggurat approach centers on three assessment tools and a five level hierarchal system, and it utilizes students’ strengths to address underlying deficits.  Each level represents an area that must be addressed in order for an intervention plan to be comprehensive.

After learning the Ziggurat Model, users can choose targeted strategies for each individual and plug them into the Ziggurat at the appropriate level.

Strengths of the Ziggurat Model

  • Outlines evidence-based practices
  • Emphasizes proactive, positive approach
  • Ongoing assessment
  • Promotes collaboration among parents and professionals

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