The Miller Method is a cognitive-developmental approach to transforming developmentally challenged children’s stereotypical actions and repetitive behaviors into functional behavior whenever possible.
The Miller Method was founded by Arnold Miller, Ph.D. and Eileen Eller-Miller, M.A., CCC, Sp/L in 1965 at their Language and Cognitive Development Center in Boston. The method essentially began as a set of strategies used to help children with autism and severe learning disorders reach their full potential.
This method is known to address cognitive development systems as they relate to children’s social interaction, communication and representation challenges, and body organization both in classroom and clinical settings. The theory of cognitive developmental systems assumes that for a child to develop typically it would depend on their ability to form systems or “organized chunks of behavior” from what begins as repetitive and circular to later expanding and becoming more complicated as the child develops. The method uses two main strategies to target and restore typical developmental progressions. The first strategy involves transforming children’s aberrant systems into more functional behaviors and the second strategy is the introduction of developmental relevant activities in a systematic and repetitive way utilizing objects and people to fill developmental gaps.
The Miller Method incorporates using elevated board systems to increase a child’s body awareness and help them become more aware of themselves and their surroundings.
Sign and spoken language programs are used to increase communication and ease the transition into spoken language for non-verbal children and symbol accentuation reading programs are used to provide children with supports necessary to begin sight-reading, writing and decoding unfamiliar words. The method strongly encourages the involvement of parents and families as they play an integral role in generalizing the child’s achievements in the program to home and other environments.
Core values of the Miller Method include
- Assessing the significance of the child’s disordered behavior
- Transforming disordered behavior into functional task and activity
- Expanding and guiding children into communicative and social exchanges
- Teaching parents and professionals how to guide children toward meaningful inclusion in less restrictive environments