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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #341
CE Offered: BACB
The Use of Explicit Instruction Curricula to Teach Academics to Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Monday, May 26, 2014
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
W184bc (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Josh Plavnick (Michigan State University)
Discussant: Debra M. Kamps (Juniper Gardens Children's Project, The University of Kansas)
CE Instructor: Josh Plavnick, Ph.D.

Kasari and Smith (2013) emphasize the need for research to align to the goals of teachers (e.g., teaching academics aligned to common core state standards) to increase buy-in and durability of implementation. Due to budget, time, and personnel constraints, researchers must identify academic interventions for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that are feasible, effective, and efficient. Historically, there has been an emphasis on discrete trial instruction for students with ASD. However, it is important to identify curricula as opposed to isolated skills instruction. Curricula are more likely to be adopted by teachers, which may increase feasibility and durability of research-based instruction (Kasari & Smith, 2013). Scripted, explicit, and systematic instructional programs such as Direct Instruction appear to be well matched to the characteristics of students with ASD (Watkins, Slocum, & Spencer, 2011). This session will include: (a) a review of the literature on the effects of scripted, explicit, and systematic programs on academic performance of students with ASD, and (b) an overview of a recent study investigating the effects of antecedent strategies on responding during small group Direct Instruction mathematics lessons with elementary students with ASD.

Keyword(s): Autism, Direct instruction, Explicit instruction, Systematic instruction
Explicit Academic Instructional Programs and Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review of the Literature
JOSH PLAVNICK (Michigan State University), Nancy Marchand-Martella (Eastern Washington University), Ronald C. Martella (Eastern Washington University), Julie L. Thompson (University of North Carolina at Charlotte), Leah Wood (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)
Abstract: Compared to individuals with other disabilities, school-aged individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) spend little time in general education classrooms for academic instruction. There are very few empirically validated interventions for teaching academic skills to students with ASD. Academic interventions that better prepare students with ASD to participate in general education settings are needed to mitigate this deficit. Curricula that include scripted, explicit, and systematic instruction match the needs associated with characteristics of autism spectrum disorder. In this paper, the authors proposed a clear definition of scripted, explicit, and systematic curricula. This definition was then used to identify and describe the research literature on the use of these curricula with individuals with ASD. A review of the literature identified 8 articles published between 2006 and 2013. Results indicated positive effects of scripted, explicit, and systematic curricula on academic skill acquisition of students with ASD. Implications and directions for future research will be discussed.
Increasing Responding During Direct Instruction Mathematics Using Antecedent Strategies with Students with Autism
JULIE L. THOMPSON (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)
Abstract: Students with ASD need specialized interventions that are feasible and durable for school settings. Direct Instruction (DI) curricula may be effective for teaching students with ASD due to the explicit features of the DI programs that match the learner characteristics of individuals with ASD. DI is designed to be taught during group instruction and relies heavily on unison responding; yet, individuals with ASD are primarily taught one-on-one or sequentially within groups. Students with ASD who demonstrate problem behaviors and/or limited participation during instruction may have limited access to group instruction. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of proximity fading and task breaks on responding during small group DI in mathematics with students with ASD. Four students with ASD participated in this study; one student served as a peer model and three received the intervention. Three students were culturally and or linguistically diverse. Results indicated a functional relation between the intervention and participant responding. An English Language Learner required a Spanish cognate directive to increase responding to an acceptable level. Implications for research include considerations for teaching diverse learners with ASD and multi-tiered instructional supports to increase inclusive opportunities.



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