LEAP (an acronym for Learning Experiences - An Alternative Program for Preschoolers and Parents) is an educational programme in which small groups of children with autism are taught alongside a small number of typically developing children.
LEAP is based on the idea that children with autism will learn better in integrated settings alongside their typically developing peers provided that those peers have been taught how to help them.
The LEAP curriculum is designed to develop social and emotional growth, enhance language and communication abilities, increase independence in work and play activities, facilitate choice making, increase capacity to cope with transitions and improve behaviour, and improve overall cognition and physical abilities
Each child with autism has an individually designed educational plan, which includes the mainstream curriculum, as well as specific objectives, behaviours and social interactions.
LEAP also uses a range of specific techniques including errorless learning, time delay, incidental teaching, pivotal response training, the picture exchange system, positive behaviour support and parent training.
There is some limited research evidence to suggest that the LEAP programme could benefit some preschool children with autism.
There could be dangers if LEAP is applied without following the relatively strict guidance, specifically if it is confused with putting children into mainstream schools with little or no support.
If it is carried out as at the research sites it has a reasonable chance of success for some children, as shown by the limited outcome data.
Please read our Disclaimer on Autism Interventions