Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #322
Innovations in literacy and science instruction for students with severe disabilities
Monday, May 28, 2012
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
LL04 (TCC)
Area: DDA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Fred Spooner (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
Discussant: John J. McDonnell (University of Utah)

Teaching standards-based academic skills affords students with severe disabilities a complete educational opportunity and need not preclude personally relevant instruction. Students who have access to the general education curriculum are expected to make progress in the academic content areas of reading, mathematics, and science and teachers are expected to teach academic skills using evidence-based practices. The purpose of this symposium is to present evidence of three investigations in teaching science and literacy skills to students with severe developmental disabilities. The first paper, presented by Fred Spooner, will focus on the outcomes of teaching vocabulary and concepts via an early science curriculum to three elementary students. The second paper, presented by Melissa Hudson, examines an application of peer-delivered system of least prompts to teach comprehension skills with literacy content. The third study, presented by Bethany Smith, investigates the application of embedded computer-assisted instruction to teach science content to high school aged students with Autism and severe developmental disabilities. The implications for instructional interventions and evidence-based practices will be discussed.

Keyword(s): General-Curriculum Access
Teaching science to elementary students with severe disabilities
FRED SPOONER (University of North Carolina, Charlotte), Bethany Smith (UNC Charlotte), Bree Jimenez (UNC Greensboro), Diane Browder (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
Abstract: Teaching academic content to students with severe developmental disabilities is a topic that has recently been debated, even though science content is one of the academic areas that comprise a standards-based curriculum. Science content like other academic skills can be taught to this population using forms of systematic instruction, a validated evidence-based practice. In this study, three elementary aged students between 6 and 8 years old were taught units from an Early Science curriculum via inquiry-based lessons and effects were measured by a multiple probe design across behaviors (units). Visual analysis shows a functional relationship between the introduction of the intervention and a change in each participant’s responding. These successful outcomes are discussed in light of other comparable work, the practicality of classroom teachers implementing similar lessons, social validity, and extending the knowledge-base of teaching science content to students with severe developmental disabilities.
Using Peer-Delivered System of Least Prompts Intervention Package and Adapted Academic Read-Alouds to Teach Comprehension
MELISSA HUDSON (University of North Carolina at Charlotte), Diane Browder (University of North Carolina, Charlotte), Fred Spooner (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
Abstract: Comprehension of text is a strong focus of instruction in general education because it is the goal of reading. Likewise, comprehension of text encountered in the general curriculum is important for students with moderate and severe intellectual disability. This study investigated the effects of a peer-delivered system of least prompts package and grade-level adapted academic read-alouds on listening comprehension for participants with moderate and severe intellectual disability. The system of least prompts package included rules for wh- questions, think alouds, opportunities to hear selected text again, directions for finding correct responses, prompts to ask for help, and self-monitoring. Chapters were adapted from the fifth grade literature curriculum currently in use by the district and comprehension questions were created that required various levels of comprehension using a question template. Peer tutors delivered the intervention package during 5th grade literacy block while other students in the class worked independently or in small groups. A multiple probe design across participants was used to evaluate the intervention package and outcomes indicate that the intervention was effective for teaching listening comprehension for all participants. Generalization of study effects, contributions to research, limitations, need for future research, and implications for practice are discussed.
Using iPads to teach science to students with ASD
BETHANY SMITH (UNC Charlotte), Fred Spooner (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
Abstract: Education reform over the past decade has targeted the need for scientific literacy as evidenced by the rise in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education movement. Since the push for education reform, many organizations and programs have begun to specifically target the need for STEM for students from Kindergarten through high school. Embedded computer-assisted instruction is one way to use technology to increase academic skills for students with autism and intellectual disability. In this study, three secondary participants received instruction on nine science terms and applications of their meanings via embedded computer assisted instruction within the science general education setting. A multiple probe across participants design measured the effects of the intervention. Additionally, this study assessed the participants’ ability to generalize acquired skills across materials and situations within the general education setting.



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