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 #69
Evaluating the Use of Headsprout Reading Programmes With Diverse Learners
Saturday, May 26, 2012
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
611 (Convention Center)
Area: EDC/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Emily Tyler (Bangor University)

This symposium comprises four papers outlining studies investigating Headsprout Early Reading (HER) and Headsprout Reading Comprehension (HRC). The first paper reports the use of HER with children with mild to moderate Intellectual Disabilities within a state funded special education school. Paper two reports the use of HER with two nonverbal children with cerebral palsy accessing the programme through communication aids. Paper three reports on the ongoing studies using both programmes with children with autism. Paper four reports on the effects of introducing a look-back contingency in HRC.

Keyword(s): Developmental disabilities, Instructional design, Reading intervention

Using Headsprout Early Reading With Children With Mild to Moderate Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

EMILY TYLER (Bangor University), Bethan Williams (Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board), Shan Lea (Gwynedd Education Authority), John Carl Hughes (Bangor University), Michael Beverley (Bangor University)

Reading instruction for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) has typically focused on a sight word reading approach. However, there is increasing evidence that individuals with IDD can benefit from phonics-based reading instruction. Previous case studies suggest Headsprout Early Reading (HER, an online, phonics-based programme) can be used to help improve reading and language skills in children with moderate to severe IDD. This reports on the individual progress of four children with mild to moderate IDD, outlining reading and language assessment scores after an initial 10-month teacher-led intervention and after subsequent completion of the programme. Some of the challenges for future research implementing and evaluating HER in special education settings will also be discussed.


Accessing Headsprout Early Reading Using Communication Aids With Two Children With Cerebral Palsy to Improve Reading and Communication Skills

BETHAN WILLIAMS (Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board), Emily Tyler (Bangor University), Deborah Morris (Gwynedd Education Authority), Janet Griffiths (Gwynedd Education Authority), Shan Lea (Gwynedd Education Authority), John Carl Hughes (Bangor University)

There is little research on the acquisition of reading and the use of text as a means of communication in children who are nonverbal. The presenting author, a specialist senior speech and language therapist, has been working with two teenage girls with Cerebral Palsy. Both have acquired communication aids at the same time as beginning to use Headsprout Early Reading. One of the children uses a hand held communication aid operated with a stylus and the other uses a wheelchair mounted communication aid operated by eye gaze. Both communication aids can be operated by using pictures or text. Data has been kept both on progress with reading and global language skills as well as the frequency of functional use of the respective communication aids. Additionally, Headsprout frequency building materials have been used to address their ability to spell accurately and to use a standard QWERTY keyboard.


Using Headsprout Early Reading and Headsprout Reading Comprehension With Children With Autism: An Update

CORINNA F. GRINDLE (Bangor University), John Carl Hughes (Bangor University), Faye Rapley (Bangor University), Tracey Tibbals (Bangor University), Maria Saville (Bangor University), Emily Tyler (Bangor University)

Over the last several years we have been conducting several studies using Headsprout Early Reading (HER) and Headsprout Reading Comprehension (HRC) with children with autism in the context of early ABA-based intervention programmes. Here we describe the findings from 5 studies using HER or HRC. The research used single subject, pre/post test designs. A number of standardised tests were taken prior to and following the Headsprout interventions in all studies to assess the effects on the participants key reading repertoires. HER had a positive impact on participants reading accuracy, and HRC had similar effects on comprhension scores. Across all studies, additional procedures derived from ABA were used to support the children in the programme. Results are discussed with reference to increased reading ability in this population and the practical strategies required to support children with Autism in order that they may benefit from Headsprout reading programmes.


When Learners Have to Look Back in the Passage Before Answering Questions

HIROFUMI SHIMIZU (DYMO| Mimio Interactive Teaching Technologies), T. V. Joe Layng (DYMO| Mimio Interactive Teaching Technologies), April Heimlich Stretz (DYMO| Mimio Interactive Teaching Technologies), Victoria Ford (DYMO| Mimio Interactive Teaching Technologies), Jay Thompson (DYMO| Mimio Interactive Teaching Technologies), Marta Leon (DYMO| Mimio Interactive Teaching Technologies)

This presentation will address the effect of the look back procedure implemented in the Headsprout Reading Comprehension. Headsprout Reading Comprehension is an online program that teaches students to answer reading comprehension questions in four categories: literal comprehension, inferential comprehension, main idea (summative) comprehension, and derived meaning (vocabulary) comprehension. In the first version of the program, learners 1) read a narrative or expository passage, 2) read a reading comprehension question and possible answers, 3) identified a question type, and 4) selected an answer. The second version of the program has one more contingency between identifying a question type and selecting an answer: they are asked to find necessary parts in the passage to answer questions (we call this contingency look back). We compared learners performances, based on the program version they used. That is, the first version (without look back) is a control condition and the second version (with look back) is an experimental condition. Learners in the look back condition demonstrated better performance in questions than learners in the other condition. We then extended this analysis to learners in schools. This presentation will address the results of learners who use Headsprout Reading Comprehension at school.




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