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 #25
CE Offered: BACB
Using Technology to Increase Academic and Leisure Skills for Students With Learning Difficulties
Saturday, May 26, 2012
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
LL05 (TCC)
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell College)
Discussant: Paul Argott (Educational Partnership for Instructing Children)
CE Instructor: Sharon A. Reeve, Ph.D.

The use of technology for interventions involving skill acquisition has been demonstrated to be promising for students across a wide range of learning difficulties. As technology advances, it is important to investigate effective applications to teach a variety of skills to students in more efficient ways. This symposium will review three different applications of technology to increase academic and leisure skills. In the first study described, interactive, computer-based practice was used to increase sight words, color words, and number identification (11-20) in two students with moderate intensive educational needs. In the second presentation, a specific computer program, Headsprout Comprehension, was used to increase comprehension skills of six students diagnosed with mild to moderate disabilities. In the third study, an iPod touch was used to teach four children with autism to follow an activity schedule composed of leisure activities. Collectively, these three studies showed effective uses of technology in teaching a variety of skills.

Keyword(s): Academic Skills, Leisure Skills, Technology

The Effects of Computer Based Practice on Basic Skills for Children With Moderate to Intensive Disabilities

ELIZABETH SPOTTS (The Ohio State University), Julie Everhart (Westerville City Schools), Sheila R. Alber-Morgan (The Ohio State University)

The purpose of this study was to determine whether interactive, computer-based practice would increase the acquisition and maintenance of basic academic skills for students with moderate to intensive educational needs. The academic skills selected for this study were based on the each participant's Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals. Specifically, the skills selected were: sight words, color words, and number identification (11-20). The intervention consisted of interactive computer games using discrete trials and immediate feedback. Acquisition of basic skills was assessed using flash cards 1 day following each computer practice session. Results showed a substantial increase in all skills for one participant. These skills were also maintained over a period of time. The results also showed a slow, but steady increase in the skills from the second individual. Data were also collected throughout the study on the amount of times each participant became off task during the computer games. Results showed that both students remained on task during the majority of the sessions. Overall, the computer game intervention was an effective means to increasing the academic acquisition of the participants.


The Effects of Headsprout Comprehension on the Reading Skills of Urban Elementary Students With Disabilities

JENNIFER MARIE CULLEN (The Ohio State University), Joe Wheaton (The Ohio State University), Sheila R. Alber-Morgan (The Ohio State University)

Urban students with learning disabilities and behavior problems typically struggle with reading comprehension. Using technology for academic interventions has been demonstrated to be promising for children with a wide range of learning difficulties. This study investigated the effects of Headsprout Comprehension, a computer program designed to increase reading achievement. The experimenters used Headsprout Comprehension to improve the reading skills of 5 fifth-grade students diagnosed with mild to moderate disabilities and 1 third-grade student diagnosed with an emotional/behavioral disorder. A multiple probe across participants design was used to examine the effects of Headsprout Comprehension on the number of correct responses on AIMSWEB maze passages and the number of comprehension questions answered correctly on state reading achievement practice passages. All 6 students showed improvement in the number correct of correct responses on state achievement comprehension passages, and 5 out of 6 students showed improvement in the number correct on AIMSWEB Maze.


Teaching Leisure Skills With an iPod touch Activity Schedule

KELLY CARLILE (Caldwell College), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell College), Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell College), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell College)

Traditionally, activity schedules are presented to learners in book form. However, this format may be cumbersome and socially stigmatizing to a child with autism. Conversely, presenting an activity schedule on an iPod touch may provide a more socially acceptable format, in that it would be more discrete and allow for easy portability, especially if supports, such as prompts, and an adult's presence, are eventually removed. The present study investigated the use of an iPod touch to teach students to follow an activity schedule composed of leisure activities to 4 children with autism. Manual prompts, time delay and reinforcement procedures were also used. To further promote independence, experimenter proximity to the participants was faded until she was no longer present. A multiple-probe-across-participants design was used. Prior to intervention, none of the participants followed the schedule and they rarely engaged in on-task behavior. Following intervention, all participants learned to independently follow a 47-step leisure activity schedule presented on the iPod touch and increased their on-task behavior. In addition, these skills generalized to novel settings and novel schedules, and maintained over time. The implications of incorporating technology to increase independence in children with autism is discussed.




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