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Elif Tekin-Iftar, Ph.D.

SMALL GROUP INSTRUCT I ON FOR STUDENTS W I TH AUT I SM: GENERAL CASE TRA I N I NG AND OBSERVAT I ONAL LEARN I NG. Elif Tekin-Iftar, Ph.D. Research Institute for the Handicapped, Anadolu University (AU) , Eskisehir, TURKEY eltekin@anadolu.edu.tr Bunyamin Birkan, Ph.D .

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Elif Tekin-Iftar, Ph.D.

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  1. SMALL GROUP INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM: GENERAL CASE TRAINING AND OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING Elif Tekin-Iftar, Ph.D. Research Institute for the Handicapped,Anadolu University (AU), Eskisehir, TURKEY eltekin@anadolu.edu.tr Bunyamin Birkan, Ph.D. Tohum Foundation, Istanbul, TURKEY bbirkan@tohumotizm.org May 25-29 2007 ABA San Diego 33rd Annual Convention

  2. RATIONALE There is not such a study investigating the combined effects of progressive time delay (PTD) with general case training (GCT) and observational learning (OL) on teaching chained skills to children with autism. The reasons for the present study can be grouped as: • There is a need to examine the effects of PTD on teaching chained behaviors. • There is a need to replicate the effects of GCT. • There is a need to investigate the possible ways of increasing instructional efficacy via OL.

  3. RESEARCH QUESTIONS Does using PTD combined with GCT and OL to teach response chains in a small group (teaching one child and having two observers) result in; • acquisition of the instructed response chains, • generalization to similar response chains, • maintenance in a one week follow up assessment, and • observational learning of the instructed chains?

  4. METHODParticipants • Three Turkish children (all boys) with autism participated in the study. • All students attended the primary school on a full time basis during the study. • They were able to perform most of the self care skills. • Their areas of weaknesses include social interaction, communication with others, and daily living skills etc.

  5. Settings and Materials • All sessions were conducted at the cafeteria of the Institute. • No one was available during the sessions. • Various kitchen utensils, food, kitchen appliances, data collection forms and handycam camera were used for recording. • Training sets and generalizaition sets were formed. • One set was used during training and the other two sets were used to test the generalization. (continued)

  6. Generic task analyses were developed for training sets and generalization sets (15 to 27 steps). • The materials were selected as follow: • An instructional universe was defined. • Among the alternatives in the instructional universe the best example (the common one) was selected. • Generic task analyses were developed for each of the target behaviors of each student. • The stimulus and response variations were determined.

  7. Experimental Design • A multiple probe design across food and drink preparation skills and replicated across students was used. • The dependent variable:Percentage of correct responses on performing the steps of the analyses. • The independent variable was PTD combined with GCT and OL. • Dependent variable reliability: 97% and 99% across experimental sessions across students. • Independent variable reliability: 98.5% accuracy with the PTD sessions and 100% accuracy across other instructional settings across students.

  8. Assessment ConditionsGCT and OL conditions • Pretest-postest design was used to test generalizaition and acquisition of the OL. • These sessions were tested individually. • After the criterion was met, posttest condition was conducted. • There was one trial in these conditions. • The OL probe sessions were conducted just like generalization probe session.

  9. Baseline/Probe and Maintenance Conditions • A trial was conducted in these sessions. • Single opportunity method was used. • Four second response interval was waited. • Maintenance probe conditions were conducted one week after the instruction. • These conditions were conducted just like full probe conditions. • Reinforcers were faded during maintenance. • FR schedule (completion of the steps of task analysis) was used in the maintenance sessions.

  10. Instructional ProceduresGroup arrangements and general procedures • Each target behavior was taught in a small group (n=3)by delivering instruction with PTD. • While working with one of the students other students were encouraged to observe the instruction. • Two training sessions with two trials were conducted in a week. • Criterion: 100% correct responding without prompt. • CR, VR3 and FR schedule was used.

  11. PTD Sessions • A PTD was used within total task format. • Verbal nad physical prompts were utilized. • 0 s delay interval was used in the initial session. • 2 s time increment was identified for delay interval. • Maximum delay interval was determined as 8 s. • Possible student responses: Two types of correct responses, and three types of incorrect responses. • Verbal reinforcement for correct responses and error correction for incorrect responses were provided.

  12. RESULTSEffectiveness Figure 1. Percentage of correct responses without prompt for food and drink preparation skills for Ogulcan during probe, time delay, and maintenance probe sessions.

  13. Figure 2. Percentage of correct responses without prompt for food and drink preparation skills for Ulas during probe, time delay, and maintenance probe sessions.

  14. Figure 3. Percentage of correct responses without prompt for food and drink preparation skills for Ali during probe, time delay, and maintenance probe sessions.

  15. Efficiency

  16. Generalization and Acquisition of OL • Altghough participants performed 0% correct responding on the generalization sets during pretest conditions, they generalized and maintained the reponse chains with 100% accruracy across generalization sets. • OL data showed that the participants gained their peers’ behaviors through observation with 100% accuracy. (continued)

  17. CONCLUSION • Data showed that all students acquired and maintained the skills through PTD combined with GCT and OL. • Students were able to acquire response chains of the student in the group through observation and generalized the acquired skills to similar response chains. • These findings are similar to those in the previous studies (e. g., Browder, Snell, & Wildonger, 1988; Frederick-Dugan et al., 1991). • The present study enhances the current literature.

  18. LIMITATIONS • The small number of studentsparticipated in the study limits the generalization of the findings. • A functional relationship regarding the generalization and OL findings could not obtained in the study. • Even though the findings were replicated across three students, the results regarding these parameters should be interpreted cautiously. • Maintenance effect of PTD could be examined only a week after training due to summer vacation. • A cost analysis regarding the obtaining foods for each student did not conducted in the study.

  19. RECOMMENDATIONS • Larger number of students from different learning and behavioral characteristics should be included. • Obtaining a functional relationship between the outcomes and OL and GCT rather than the descriptive findings can be planned. • Error analysis can be conducted when replicating the findings. • Inserting instructive feedback stimuli such as nutrition facts of food, safety food information, dietary information can be planned. • Social validation checks can be applied in the future studies. • Embedding format in natural context can be designed.

  20. REFERENCES • Alberto, P. A., & Troutman, A. C. (1995). Applied Behavior Analysis for Teachers (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Merrill. • Browder, D. M., Snell, M. E., & Wildonger, B. A. (1988). Simulation and community-based instruction of vending machines with time delay. Education and Training of the Mentally Retarded, 23, 175-185. • Browder, D., & Snell, M. E. (2000). Teaching Functional Academics. In M. E. Snell & F. Brown (Eds.), Instruction of students with severe disabilities (pp 493-542). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Merrill. • Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (1987). Applied Behavior Analysis. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Merrill. • Farmer, J. A., Gast, D. L., Wolery, M., & Winterling, V. (1991). Small group instruction for students with severe handicaps: A study of observational learning. Education and Training in Mental Retardation, 26, 190-2001. • Frederick-Dugan, A., Test, D. W., & Varn, L. (1991). Acquisition and generalization of purchasing skills using a calculator by students who are mentally retarded. Education and Training in Mental Retardation, 26, 381-387. • O’Neill, R. E., Faulkner, C., & Horner, R. H. (2000). The effects of general case training of manding repsonses on children with severe disabilities. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 12, 43-60. • Snell, M. S. (1982). Analysis of time delay procedures in teaching daily living skills to retarded adults. Analysis and Intervention in Developmental Disabilities, 2, 139-155. • Sprauge, J. R., & Horner, R. H., (1984). The effects of single instance, multiple instance, and general case training on generalized vending machine use by moderately and severely handicapped students. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 17, 173-278. • Steere, D. E., Pancsofar, E. L., Powell, T. H., & Butterworth, J. (1989). Enhancing instruction through general case programming. Teaching Exceptional Children, 21, 22-24. • Tekin-Iftar, E., Acar, G., & Kurt, O. (2003). The effects of simultaneous prompting on teaching expressive identification of objects: An instructive feedback study. International Journal of Disability, Development, and Education, 50, 149-167. • Wolery, M. Ault, M. J., & Doyle, P. M. (1992). Teaching students with moderate to severe disabilities: Use of response prompting strategies. NY: Longman Publishing Group. • Wolery, M., Bailey, D. B., & Sugai, G. M. (1988). Effective teaching: Principles and procedures of applied behavioral analysis with exceptional students. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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