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Association for Behavior Analysis International

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42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #35
CE Offered: BACB
Current Status and Future Directions of Headsprout Early Reading and Headsprout Reading Comprehension for Individuals With Autism and Intellectual Disabilities
Sunday, May 29, 2016
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Columbus Hall IJ, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Julie L. Thompson, Ph.D.
Chair: Julie L. Thompson (Michigan State University)
Discussant: Janet S. Twyman (University of Massachusetts Medical School; Center on Innovations in Learning)
Abstract: Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Intellectual Disabilities often require an explicit, systematic approach to reading in order to acquire literacy skills. Recently, a handful of studies have explored Headsprout@ Early Reading and Headsprout Reading comprehension to teach literacy skills to individuals with autism, developmental, and intellectual disabilities with promising results. The Headsprout programs are online behavior analytic programs that provide explicit, systematic reading instruction. The proposed session includes reports on four recent studies: (a) an investigation of Headsprout Reading Comprehension on answering comprehension questions by children with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities; (b) a study examining the effects of Headsprout Early Reading on early literacy skills of adult offenders with intellectual disability, (c) an investigation of contingent reinforcement and match-to-sample training on the fluency and independence of children with ASD using Headsprout Early Reading, and (d) a study exploring the use of contingent reinforcement plus physical prompting and prompt fading on progression through Headsprout Early Reading by children with ASD who were minimally vocal. Taken together, results of these four studies indicate that Headsprout Early Reading and Headsprout Reading Comprehension demonstrate promise as an approach to teaching early literacy and comprehension to individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities.
Keyword(s): Autism, computer-assisted instruction, Headsprout, Intellectual Disability
Evaluating the Use of Headsprout Reading Comprehension With Children With Mild to Moderate Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
CORINNA F. GRINDLE (University of Wales Bangor), J. Carl Hughes (Bangor University), Olivia Kurzeja (Step by Step Academy), Richard P. Hastings (University of Warwick), Rina Cianfaglione (Positive Behaviour Solutions UK)
Abstract: Headsprout Reading Comprehension (HRC) is an online program that teaches learners to answer reading comprehension questions in four categories: literal comprehension, inferential comprehension, main idea (summative) comprehension, and derived meaning (vocabulary) comprehension. These skills are notoriously difficult for many children who present with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). The present study evaluated and investigated the use of HRC with six children with IDD. The research used a single subject pre/post test design. A number of standardised tests were taken prior to and following HRC to assess the effects on the participants key reading repertoires, including reading comprehension and to assess possible links between improved reading comprehension and auditory comprehension. Results are discussed with reference to improved reading and auditory comprehension in this population and the practical strategies required to support children with IDD in order that they may benefit from the HRC program.
Evaluating the Use of Headsprout Early Reading With Adult Offenders With Mild Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
DAVID O'SULLIVAN (n/a), Corinna F. Grindle (University of Wales Bangor), J. Carl Hughes (Bangor University)
Abstract: Headsprout Early Reading (HER) is an online program, developed for children, that teaches learners basic reading skills. Several studies have found HER to be effective with typically developing children and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The program has not yet been evaluated with an adult population. The present study evaluated the feasibility of using HER with two adult offenders with mild intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in a secure hospital. The research used a single subject pre/post test design with two standardised literacy tests completed at baseline prior to HER, one during, and one following HER to assess the effects on the participants reading skills. A measure of reading self-concept was also completed. An additional component to this research design was the inclusion of two treatment as usual control participants who were assessed at the same points but did not complete the program. Results are positive in terms of the feasibility of running the program and improved reading skills and self-concept scores for both treatment participants. Results are discussed in the context of the limitations with the current research design and challenges relating to the fidelity of implementation.
Mediating Access to Headsprout Early Reading for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
JOSHUA PLAVNICK (Michigan State University), Julie L. Thompson (Michigan State University), M. Y. Savana Bak (Michigan State University)
Abstract: Many children with autism spectrum disorder require instructional programs that simultaneously address academic content, interfering behavior, and potential gaps in prerequisite skills for a given curriculum. This study examined the impact of an intervention package consisting of contingent reinforcement and match-to-sample training on the independent progression of 3 children with autism spectrum disorder through Headsprout Early Reading, a behavior analytic online reading program. A multiple baseline across participants design was used to examine the effects of the intervention package on participants' correct interactions per minute and total episodes completed. Transfer of training to oral reading of companion print books was also assessed. All participants demonstrated an increase in correct interactions per minute. Two participants learned to independently complete a Headsprout Early Reading episode each day and could orally read companion print books. The results suggest individualized behavior analytic programs can support the use of Headsprout Early Reading as a computer-based reading program for some children with autism spectrum disorders.
Supporting Progression Through Headsprout Early Reading using Systematic Prompt Fading
JULIE L. THOMPSON (Michigan State University), M. Y. Savana Bak (Michigan State University), Joshua Plavnick (Michigan State University)
Abstract: Recent research has indicated that children with autism spectrum disorder who are minimally vocal can independently access Headsprout Early Reading when provided with a token economy system for behavioral support. This study examined the effects of contingent reinforcement plus most-to-least physical prompting and prompt fading on progression through Headsprout by four elementary-aged children with autism spectrum disorder. A multiple baseline across participants design was used to examine the effects of the intervention package on the cumulative number of segments completed. Performance on Woodcock Johnson early reading tests were also assessed as pre- and post-test measures. All participants demonstrated an increase in number of segments completed per session. One participate was able to progress through Headsprout with contingent reinforcement only. Three participants required prompting for correct answers and two of these three were able to correctly respond with minimal-to-no support by the end of the study. All participants demonstrated an increased performance on the Woodcock Johnson assessments. The results suggest that some children with ASD may benefit from physical prompting for correct answers during Headsprout Early Reading. The range of responses across all participants suggests that a multi-tiered approach to support progression through Headsprout may be needed.


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