The Ziggurat Model

Release 2.1

Ruth Aspy, Ph.D. and Barry G. Grossman, Ph.D.
Foreword by Gary B. Mesibov, Ph.D., Director of Division TEACCH

The Ziggurat Model won the Autism Society’s National award
for Literary Work of the Year in Education.

The Ziggurat Model is a system for designing comprehensive strategies and supports for all individuals on the autism spectrum. The Ziggurat Model was created to simplify a complex process. The focal point of the model is a five tiered research-centered system that capitalizes on strengths to address underlying needs. It is assessment driven and provides a framework that guides parents, professionals, and autistics themselves in creating effective supports and strategies.

The Ziggurat Model is used in home, school, mental health, and other therapeutic settings. The Ziggurat Model is also used by autistic adolescents and adults as a self-help strategy.

Recent trends in special education emphasize the use of scientifically based research approaches along with a focus on multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS). Additionally, there is a strong push for incorporating positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) based on a functional behavioral assessment. The Ziggurat Model facilitates these practices.

The Ziggurat Model is unique – simple to use and comprehensive. While it is easy to find volumes of information describing specific interventions, it is difficult to find information on how to develop an effective plan. Autistics, parents, and professionals will find the framework of the Ziggurat Model to be a useful guide in developing more thorough and effective supports and strategies.

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Use the slideshow below to learn more about the Ziggurat Model.  Scroll, using the arrows, and click on the desired image to open the page.

FBA to Z: Functional Behavior and Intervention Plans for Individuals with ASD

Ruth Aspy, Ph.D., Barry G. Grossman, Ph.D., Brenda Smith Myles, Ph.D. and Shawn A. Henry, M.S.

FBA to Z

FBA to Z: Functional Behavior and Intervention Plans for Individuals with ASD presents an alternative approach to conducting FBAs that is more holistic than the traditional FBA and considers not just the surface patterns but also the underlying needs related to autism. This revolutionary approach to the FBA highlights the need to understand an individual’s unique needs and strengths within each phase. Using a case study throughout the book, the authors address the unique characteristics of individuals with ASD within the FBA, ultimately resulting in the development of comprehensive, meaningful, and effective interventions, based on the specific needs of the learner.

Book Chapters, Journal Articles, and Other Writings

Aspy, R. (2009).  How do I know if it is the autism or “just behavior?”

Aspy, R., Grossman, B.G., Myles, B.S., & Henry, S.A. (2016). FBA to Z: Functional Behavior and Intervention Plans for Individuals with ASD.

Aspy, R., & Grossman, B.G. (2013). Assessment and diagnosis of Aspergerʼs Disorder. In R.W. DuCharme & T.P. Gullotta (Eds.) Asperger Syndrome: A Guide for Professionals and Families – Second Edition. New York, NY: Springer Academic.

Aspy, R., & Grossman, B.G. (2011).  Underlying characteristics checklist manual including the individual strengths and skills inventory. 

Aspy, R., & Grossman, B.G. (2007). Assessing autism spectrum disorders: Guidelines for parents and educators. Autism Advocate, 48(3), 11-14. Click here to download article.

Aspy, R., & Grossman, B.G. (2007). Ziggurat Model. In B.S. Myles, T. C. Swanson, & J. Holversott (Eds.) Autism Spectrum Disorders: A handbook for parents and professionals. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Grossman, B. (2009). The Importance of Matching Student Needs to Intervention.

Grossman, B.G., & Aspy, R. (2007). Comprehensive Behavior Interventions for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In E.A. Boutot & B.S. Myles (Eds.). Autism spectrum disorders: Foundations, characteristics, and effective strategies. Boston, Mass: Pearson.

Myles, B. S., Coffin, A. B., Hudson, J., Lake, R. A., Grossman, B., & Aspy, R. (2012). Assessment for program planning (pp. 11-21). In Darlene E. Perner and Monica E. Delano (Eds.), Teaching students with autism spectrum disorders. Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

Myles, B.S., Grossman, B.G., Aspy, R., Henry, S.A., & Coffin, A.B. (2007).  Planning a comprehensive program for students with autism spectrum disorders using evidence-based practices. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 42(4), 398-409. Click to download.

Myles, B.S., Grossman, B.G., Aspy, R., & Henry, S.A. (2009).  Planning a comprehensive program for young children with autism spectrum disorders. International Journal of Early Childhood Special Education, 1(2),164-180. Click to download

Myles, B.S., Henry, S.A., Coffin, A.B., Grossman, B.G., & Aspy, R. (2007).  The CAPS & Ziggurat Models: Planning a comprehensive program for students with autism spectrum disorders using evidence-based practices. Advocate, 16-20. Click to download.

Myles, B. S., Smith, S. M., Aspy, R., Grossman, B. G., & Henry, S. (2012). Evidence based practices: The Ziggurat Model and the Comprehensive Autism Planning System (CAPS). In D. Zager, M. L. Wehmeyer, & Simpson, R. L. (Eds.), Educating students with autism spectrum disorders: Research-based principles and practices (126-148). New York, NY: Routledge.

Smith, S., Myles, B.S., Aspy, R., Grossman, B.G., & Henry, S.A. (2010). Sustainable change in quality of life for individuals with ASD: Using a comprehensive planning process.  Focus on Exceptional Children, 43(3), 1-22. Click to download.

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