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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #213
CE Offered: BACB
Teaching Academic Content and Communication Skills to Students With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Sunday, May 30, 2021
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Area: EDC/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Rose A. Mason (Purdue University)
CE Instructor: Rose A. Mason, Ph.D.

With federal laws and state policies in place to maximize access to the general education curriculum for students with disabilities, students with autism or intellectual and developmental disabilities have gained increasing access to an inclusive education. However, there remain barriers to their learning in school, such as a lack of support for in-service special educators who work with these students, limited preparation of pre-service teachers in teaching these students, and inadequate understanding of how we can address the unique academic needs of students with autism and developmental disabilities. In this symposium, we present three papers that attempted to address these gaps. The first paper investigated the effects of an individualized coaching approach on supporting a special educator to implement systematic instruction with students with moderate to severe disabilities. The second paper examined how different variables (e.g., behavior analytic intervention components) may influence the effects of technology-aided reading interventions for students with autism. The third paper explored limitations of teacher preparation programs in training pre-service teachers to teach communication skills to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Implications for research will be discussed and recommendations for practice will be offered based on the study findings.

Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): coaching, reading, school-based interventions, teacher preparation
Target Audience:

Knowledge of Foundations in Applied Behavior Analysis and school-based support

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1)Describe how coaching can be individualized to support teachers in implementing systematic instruction in the classroom; (2)Identify strengths and limitations of technology-aided reading interventions for students with autism; (3)Determine areas of need in a teacher preparation program to train pre-service teachers to provide communication instruction
ParaImpact: Practice-Based Coaching to Improve Fidelity of a Special Educator's Implementation of Systematic Instruction
Rose A. Mason (Purdue University), Catharine Lory (Purdue University), Jenna Marie Matijevic (Purdue University), Mandy J. Rispoli (Purdue University), Jennifer Smith (Purdue University), Alana Schnitz (Juniper Gardens Children's Project, University of Kansas), Howard P. Wills (Juniper Gardens Children's Project), AMANDA M AUSTIN (Purdue University)
Abstract: Practitioners’ implementation of evidence-based practices such as Systematic Instruction (SI) for students with moderate-to-severe disabilities depends on high implementation fidelity to improve progress and outcomes for students. Novice practitioners may benefit from coaching to improve implementation fidelity and increase student achievement. We conducted a single-case study with multiple-baseline across skills design to investigate the effect of Practice-Based coaching (PBC) on a special education teacher’s implementation fidelity of SI consisting of four components: environmental arrangement, prompting, error correction, and reinforcement. PBC is a non-hierarchical coaching model that prioritizes the coachee’s choice in target skills, emphasizes a cyclical process of developing shared goals and action plans, conducting focused observations, and engaging in reflection and feedback on the target skills. Results indicate that despite lack of prior training in SI or experience with coaching, the teacher participant demonstrated immediate increases in implementation fidelity of SI procedures in small group instruction across all four components when receiving PBC, and maintained a stable level of fidelity after PBC was terminated for each skill. Recommendations for extending research in coaching special education teachers and practical implications will be discussed.

A Meta-Analysis of Single-Case Research on Technology-Aided Reading Interventions for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder

SO YEON KIM (Purdue University), Rose A. Mason (Purdue University), Mandy J. Rispoli (Purdue University), Catharine Lory (Purdue University), Emily Gregori (University of Illinois at Chicago), John Davis (University of Utah), Danni Wang (Purdue University)

Despite the wide usage of technology in educational settings, the overall evidence base of technology-aided reading interventions for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has not been fully investigated. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to quantify the magnitude of effects of technology-aided reading interventions for students with ASD and determine if participant and intervention characteristics moderate intervention effects. Reviewed articles were systematically identified and evaluated for methodological rigor according design standards suggested by What Works Clearinghouse. Research studies that met the design standards were analyzed for effects using Tau-U. Results of this study found a moderate overall effect of .89 (95% CI [.83, .96]) for technology-aided reading interventions and variables associated with the use of time delay moderated reading outcomes.  


Teacher Preparation in Communication Instruction for Students With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Robert Pennington (University of North Carolina-Charlotte), Virginia Lee Walker (University of North Carolina at Charlotte), MELISSA TAPP (University of North Carolina- Charlotte)

One of the most essential functions of schooling is to prepare students to communicate effectively across a diverse and expansive range of opportunities. Unfortunately, many students with disabilities, especially those with intellectual and developmental disabilities often face difficulties acquiring communication repertoires sufficient for gaining maximum benefit from their school experience and ultimately, achieving high quality of life outcomes (Carter et al., 2012). This problem reflects a confluence of barriers, including access to effective intervention practices. In this investigation, we surveyed 51 faculty who were involved in teacher preparation programs in the area of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) across a range of institutions of higher education. We asked participants to respond to questions related to the type, quality, and quantity of program content focused on communication instruction and supports for students with IDD. Overall, findings indicated that many programs included behavioral procedures within their curriculum but presented variability in the quality and quantity of teacher preparation in their application to communication instruction. Additionally, participants described barriers related to teacher preparation in this area. These findings will be discussed in relation to understanding teachers’ current repertoires and supporting their implementation of behavioral intervention strategies for improving student’s communication outcomes.




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