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The Miller Method is a system which addresses the developmental requirements of children on the autism spectrum. This method was pioneered by Dr. Arnold Miller utilizing a "Cognitive-Developmental Systems Approach for Children on the Autism Spectrum". According to the official site of the Miller Method, "We maintain that each child - no matter how withdrawn or disorganized - is trying to find a way to cope with the world. Our task is to help that child use every capacity or fragment of capacity to achieve this."[1]


The Miller Method has four basic goals:

  • It assesses the adaptive significance of the children's disordered behavior,
  • It attempts to transform the disordered behavior into functional activity,
  • It attempts to expand and guide the children from closed ways (of living alone or in immediate circle like with parents) into social and communicative exchanges, and
  • It guides and teaches professionals and parents as regards the ways and systems to be followed to facilitate children the children affected with autism and related disorders toward reading, writing, number concepts, symbolic plays, and development of typical classroom activities.

Over the years, Dr. Arnold Miller has given a series of presentations explaining the aspects of the Miller Method before select audience at many organizations associated with autism-related works and at universities including the following:

  • Autism Society of America
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Speech and Hearing Association
  • Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental & Learning Disorders
  • University of Puerto Rico
  • University of Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Northeastern Regional Association for Autism at Brandeis University
  • Psychology Department, Clark University
  • Los Angeles Unified School Department


The Miller Method uses mainly a two-pronged strategy to restore normal developmental progressions in persons with autism and related disorders. Its official website [1] describes the two methods in these words: "One involves the transformation of children's aberrant systems (lining up blocks, driven reactions to stimuli, etc.) into functional behaviors; the other is the systematic and repetitive introduction of developmentally relevant activities involving objects and people. Activities are chosen to fill developmental gaps. This process is facilitated by narrating the children's actions while they are elevated 2.5 feet above the ground on an Elevated Square and similar challenging structures. Elevating the children enhances sign-word guidance of behavior and body-other awareness as well as motor-planning and social-emotional contact. It also helps children transition from one engaging object or event to another or from object involvement to representational play."

The method, first used in 1965, has continued to evolve and has been fine tuned for the last 40 years. The treatment is directed by staff members of the Language and Cognitive Development Center in Newton, and by certified Miller Method therapists including off-site specialists. The time required varies depending on the level and type of disorders, typically consisting of two one-hour session every week. The treatment is imparted mainly in private and public schools in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Canada, Israel. In some instances, treatment is also provided in the homes having videoconferencing facilities.[2]

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