Training tutors and parents to implement discrete-trials teaching with children diagnosed with autism
Fazzio, Daniela F.
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Discrete-trials teaching (DTT) is one of the principal techniques used in Applied Behaviour Analysis programs for children with autism. Although the demand for training individuals to implement DTT is high, published studies on strategies to do so are few. I conducted two experiments to investigate a training package for teaching individuals to implement DTT. In Experiment 1, I used a modified multiple-baseline design to evaluate the training package for teaching five university students to implement DTT to teach three tasks to a confederate role-playing a child with autism. Also, in an AB within-subject design with each participant, I compared two components of the training package, a Self-Instructional Manual and Feedback plus Demonstration. Experiment 2 was a systematic replication of Experiment 1, with 2 teaching assistants, a resource teacher, and 3 parents of children with autism as participants. In both experiments I assessed the generalization (G1) of participants’ ability to implement DTT (while teaching the confederate) to teach tasks not targeted for Feedback plus Demonstration, as well as generalization (G2) of DTT while teaching a child with autism. After an average of approximately 3 hours to master the self-instructional manual, participants’ DTT accuracy in both experiments improved from an average of 34% in Baseline to an average of 61% following the Self-Instructional Manual. Results appeared to be due to the Self-Instructional Manual phase for 9 of the 11 participants. Following an average of 35 minutes of Feedback plus Demonstration of DTT of one task, participants’ DTT accuracy improved to an average of 91% while teaching a confederate. The improvement appeared to be due to the intervention with 10 of the 11 participants. The participants’ DTT accuracy averaged 90% during G1 and 86% during G2. These results demonstrate that this training package has considerable potential for teaching DTT to tutors, educational assistants, and parents of children with autism.