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A Review of the Miller Method Jessica Jaruczyk Heather Peltack Lindsey Gallagher Caldwell College Graduate Programs in Applied Behavior Analysis

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1 A Review of the Miller Method Jessica Jaruczyk Heather Peltack Lindsey Gallagher Caldwell College Graduate Programs in Applied Behavior Analysis THE MILLER METHOD

2 A Review of the Miller Method Jessica Jaruczyk Heather Peltack Lindsey Gallagher Caldwell College Graduate Programs in Applied Behavior Analysis

3 Philosophy “We maintain that each child – no matter how withdrawn or disorganized – is trying to find a way to cope with the world.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.” (“What is Miller Method?,” 2009)

4 Founder of the Miller Method Dr. Arnold Miller 3/11/ /27/2011

5 Who was Arnold Miller? Native of the Bronx, grew up on L.I. Radio Operator in the Navy, World War II B.A. from City College of New York Doctorate in psychology at Clark University Austrian developmental psychologist Heinz Werner (mentor) Associate professor of psychology at the University of Montana (1960) parents-of-autistic-children-autistic-tendencies

6 Who was Arnold Miller? Married Eileen (Faythe), a SLP from NY Opened development center in children each year in special-education programs in nearby school districts. Dr. Miller said that about 70 % returned to mainstream classrooms. Focused on videoconferencing and workshops after his wife’s death parents-of-autistic-children-autistic-tendencies

7 The Millers “From Ritual to Repertoire’’ (Wiley, 1989) “The Miller Method’’ (Kingsley, 2007) Passed away 8/27/201 of pancreatic cancer

8 He’s in there… “Dad’s biggest contribution to the treatment approach is to say there is an inner child in there. He’s in there.’’ said Dr. Miller’s oldest son, Loren of Arlington, a filmmaker. “We can bring him out and we can leverage the parts of these two worlds.’’

9 History Founded by Arnold Miller and wife Eileen Eller-Miller in 1965 Language and Cognitive Development Center (LCDC) in Boston The Miller Method is guided by a cognitive-developmental systems theory with links to the work of: Piaget (1948, 1954, 1962), Von Bertallanfy (1968), Vygotsky (1962), Werner (1948), Werner and Kaplan (1963) Adapted to the needs of children with severe developmental challenges Grants and research funded by U.S. Department of Education

10 What is the Miller Method The Miller Method

11 What is the Miller Method The Miller Method is an integrated approach that addresses problems of body organization, social interaction, and communication in school, clinic, and home settings as presented by children on the autistic spectrum as well as those with significant challenges in learning or communication. (Miller & Eller-Miller, 2000)

12 What is the Miller Method Assesses the adaptive significance of the children's disordered behavior Attempts to transform the disordered behavior into functional activity

13 What is the Miller Method 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 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

14 What is the Miller Method autismspeaksvids-1 autismspeaksvids-1

15 Assessments Miller Diagnostic Survey (MDS) Parent Survey Few pages in length LCDC staff member writes a report of recommendations Goes directly to cognitive therapist and Dr. Miller 107 Likert-type questions Computer program organizes the responses – “A statistical analysis comparing the two developmental profiles will determine which changes in scored categories are statistically significant” (Miller, 2002) $1000 (Miller, 2002c, Spring/Summer, “Miller diagnostic survey,” 2009,


17 Assessments Sign and Spoken (2 times beginning and end) Receptive and Expressive Only start about 2 years ago School districts were asking for proof

18 Assessments Umwelt Assessment (Once a year- Beginning) Assessment to understand the world around you If you are an open or closed system What the child can and can not do on.html

19 Assessments Capacity to interact with a person and an object Capacity to adapt to change Problem solving and learning from experience

20 Assessments Vygotsky Test (Every time a videoconference was done) Object identification passes-the-vygotsky passes-the-vygotsky

21 DisorderType AType B Closed-systemDominated by only a few systems; unable to respond to any stimuli not related to their current system Minimal executive functioning Have multiple systems; move from one system to another; prohibit others from entering their systems Executive functioning with many objects/systems System-forming (Open- System) Unable to form systems due to poor sensory-motor coordination Minimal executive functioning Unable to form systems because “too sensorily driven” by various stimuli Little executive functioning Diagnosis

22 Basic Treatments No criteria for mastery No data collection

23 Elevated Square TM Virtual Tour of the Miller Method

24 Why the Elevated Square TM ? Why do you have children on the autism spectrum walk on an "Elevated Square" 2.5 feet above the ground? Using for 30 years More aware of themselves Increase eye contact More focused Able to communicate and learn Eliminates toe walking


26 Elevated Square TM The Elevated Square seems deceptively simple, but this device is the culmination of 45 years of research and treatment of autistic children.

27 Sign and Spoken Language Relates objects and events to signs and spoken words Manual signs adapted from American Sign Language 4 segments Actions Food Familiar Objects/Events Two-word Combinations

28 Sign and Spoken Language DVD of Sign and Spoken Language Video 0 5:16 Video 1 1:45

29 Sign and Spoken Language Helps children that don’t use words Repeat appropriate word while child is preforming action Narrating child’s action

30 Receptive Last 2 to 3 years Started data collection Sit with student “Show me get up” Student will do

31 Expressive Interrupting situations to elicit signs or words E.g., on elevated square, “scavenger hunts,” videotapes in action The use of signs “pulls” spoken language and contributes to language development

32 Symbol Accentuation Reading Program Teach symbolic function of printed words. Learn how to sight-read sentences in both large and small type Shift from sight-reading to phonetic reading Acquire letter-sounds relationships and blending and sequencing of letter sounds into meaningful words Stimulates active participation by both students and teachers


34 Classroom Interventions Pennies in the Jar Picture on Close pins Mr. Potato Head Nesting cups Light Bright

35 Individual Interventions Becoming part of their world Puzzle Exchange w?id= %3AVideo%3A3770 w?id= %3AVideo%3A3770

36 Interactive Interventions Tug of War Wagon Rides Teeter Totter Pig Piles

37 Schools Ages 2-12 Jessica believes it only works to age 5 1 in NJ Per student $65, students $3, 250,000 a year School districts only This does not include the aides or 1 in Israel Distance Consultations/ Video Conferencing Oversight Program (VCO’s) $150 an hour Takes place in private and public schools in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Canada, Israel, and secondarily in the homes of families equipped for videoconferencing


39 Criteria for certification Miller Method Specialist 4-day training workshops at LCDC Hours of supervision 50 weeks (1 hour per week) Cases covered Written examination

40 Miller & Parents Advice to Parents


42 Miller vs. ABA Miller vs. ABA in San Diego. Both therapies were used for an hour with a 4-year-old nonverbal autistic child. Dr. Miller said he believed the demonstration showed that his method was superior, and he debated leaders of the California-based Autism Partnership, who support ABA. Directors of the Autism Partnership countered that the demonstration was flawed.

43 Miller vs ABA Miller vs. ABA

44 Research Support of the Miller Method Current outcome research includes studies by Cook (1998), Messier (1971), Miller and Miller (1973), and Warr- Leeper, Henry, and Lomas (1999). It was reported that a comprehensive controlled study contrasting the effect of functioning while elevated with comparable functioning on the ground is under way at the Language and Cognitive Development Center in Boston.

45 Conclusions What are your thoughts? A lot of holes in the research behind the Miller Method



48 We would like everyone to stand on their chairs before asking questions this will increase body awareness, attention to surroundings, problem solving, perceptual motor coordination and the is first steps toward meaningful communication.

49 References About the Millers. (2009). Retrieved from Cook, C. E. (1998). Implementation of the Miller method in an early intervention program for children with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD): A case study. (Doctoral dissertation, Kent State University). Cognitive Designs, Inc. (2008b). Sign and spoken language program. Retrieved from Cognitive Designs, Inc. (2008c). Symbol accentuation reading program. Retrieved from Cognitive Designs, Inc. (2000d). Symbolic playthings. Retrieved from Discussion forum. (2009). Retrieved from Distance consultation. (2009). Retrieved from For parents/caregivers of children with autism or PDD. (2009). Retrieved from

50 References For professionals seeking training in the Miller method. (2009). Retrieved from Miller, A. (1996, Spring/Summer). The Miller umwelt assessment. The Miller Method Newsletter. Retrieved from Miller, A., & Eller-Miller, E. (1989). From ritual to repertoire: A cognitive-developmental systems approach with behavior-disordered children. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Miller, A., & Eller-Miller, E. (2000). The Miller method: A cognitive-developmental systems approach for children with body organization, social, and communication issues. The interdisciplinary council on developmental and learning disorders: Clinical practice guidelines: Redefining the standards of care for infants, children, and families with special needs. (pp ). Retrieved from Miller diagnostic survey. (2009). Retrieved from What and where is the LCDC?. (2009). Retrieved from What is Miller method?. (2009). Retrieved from

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