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.
The Ziggurat Model won the Autism Society's National award for Literary Work of the Year in Education.
“A practical and helpful book that provides a comprehensive approach to intervention for more able individuals with autism and Asperger Syndrome. The book is enhanced by use of cases and diagrams and has a practical orientation. It will be of great benefit to professionals and parents alike.”
-Fred R. Volkmar, M.D., Director, Child Study Center, Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Psychology, Yale University School of Medicine; Chief, Child Psychiatry, Children’s Hospital at Yale New Haven
“In the past ten years, I have seen three materials that I believe have the potential to advance the progress of children and youth with ASD. One is the Ziggurat Model. Aspy and Grossman understand AS/HFA in a way that most people do not. They have created a simple-to-use, yet comprehensive model to ensure that children’s needs are met throughout the school day. The Ziggurat program is innovative, based on best practices and focused on the child’s needs. I wish that I would have created this model. It is simply brilliant.”
– Brenda Smith Myles, Ph.D.
“With the Ziggurat Model of intervention, Drs. Aspy and Grossman have synthesized the research on program planning and functional behavior assessment into a useful and user-friendly decision model leading to the development of truly comprehensive, functionally determined educational and behavior support plans. Highly recommended.”
– Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D., President, Organization for Autism Research
“Comprehensive and well-researched, but also understandable and accessible, the ZM addresses the multi-faceted needs of children with AS and HFA in the school setting. Its very premise is that while there are commonalities, the characteristics of autism impact every student differently. This program is ingenious in that it creates an individualized plan and a framework in which to implement it. It is a well-oiled mechanism that smoothes the wrinkles out of the school day for every child. In addition, as a parent it’s exciting for me to think of the multitude of ways we can further use the information we gain about our kids through, for example, using the UCC (Underlying Characteristics Checklist). The ZM is not merely a support system, but a celebration of what is unique about our kids on the spectrum and a springboard for their future.”
-Kristi Sakai, Mother of three children with Asperger Syndrome and author of Finding Our Way – Practical Solutions for Creating a Supportive Home and Community for the Asperger Syndrome Family
“I love this book! In this much-anticipated publication, Aspy and Grossman have done an exceptional job at providing a user-friendly process and framework for designing comprehensive interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorders It is a must-have reference for all educators, clinicians, and parents who work and live with children with ASD.”
– Amy E. Bixler Coffin, M.S., Educational autism administrator, Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI)
“Ruth and Barry have finally done what so many of us have tried to do for years. The Ziggurat Model is truly a framework for understanding how autism affects a given individual, and for planning interventions that follow from that understanding. What’s more, it does so without diminishing the contributions of so many others in the field who have contributed to our current knowledge. The Ziggurat Model is easy to understand, practical, and could potentially impact the education and support of thousands of people on the autism spectrum.”
– Daniel Davidson, Ph.D., Northern Arizona University
“I found this book to be extremely thorough and comprehensive. There are many applications for a text like this. I personally would like to buy about 10 copies and hand them out to all of my child’s special and general education teachers, but I also believe that other team members (psychologists, therapists, and parents) can benefit from this comprehensive resource. The book does an excellent job of painting a picture that will help many “see” autism and understand that a comprehensive plan can make a huge difference. I’ve had the privilege of working with the authors and know that their comprehensive view and strategies have helped my child.”
– Doris Fisk, Registered nurse and parent
About the Authors:
Ruth Aspy, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist specializing in transdisciplinary assessment and intervention for people on the autism spectrum. She is co-author of a comprehensive model of intervention, The Ziggurat Model, which earned the Literary Achievement Award from the Autism Society of America. Dr. Aspy has co-authored other works including: FBA to Z: Functional Behavior and Intervention Plans for Individuals with ASD; Excelling with Autism: Obtaining Critical Mass Using Deliberate Practice; Talk With Me; and High-Functioning Autism and Difficult Moments. She has provided training and consultation throughout the United States and internationally in countries including Greece, Australia, Canada, Trinidad, Spain, Turkey, and Japan. Her focus is on understanding the underlying characteristics of autistic people, keeping their neurological/brain differences in mind. She believes that kindness is at the heart of all good intervention strategies. She has an emphasis on working with females on the spectrum and with those individuals who have symptoms of catatonia.
Barry G. Grossman, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and author in private practice. He specializes in counseling and assessment for individuals on the spectrum and their families. Dr. Grossman has an emphasis on working with females on the spectrum. Dr. Grossman presents internationally and has provided state-wide training and consultation to improve autism assessment and intervention in the public schools. He has authored books, textbook chapters, and journal articles. Dr. Grossman, along with his co-author, Dr. Aspy, wrote The Ziggurat Model-a book on designing interventions for individuals on the autism spectrum. The Ziggurat Model, which earned the Literary Achievement Award from the Autism Society, is being used successfully throughout the United States and internationally in countries including Japan, Greece, Canada, and Mexico. Dr. Grossman serves on the Autism Society of America's Panel of Professional Advisors.