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Institute of Education Sciences


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IES Grant

Title: Related Services Intervention for Expressive and Receptive Language Skills in Autism Spectrum Disorder and in Cognitive Impairment
Center: NCSER Year: 2008
Principal Investigator: Camarata, Steven Grantee: Vanderbilt University
Program: Professional Development for Teachers and Related Services Providers      [Program Details]
Award Period: 07/01/2008 6/30/2011 Award Amount: $908,546
Goal: Development Award Number: R324A080143
Description:

Purpose: In recent years, increasing numbers of children in preschool have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and educating these children is challenging. Similarly, children with cognitive impairments are increasingly served in inclusion environments and receive related services for language skills. Although the efficacy of expressive language intervention for these children has been examined, the efficacy of focusing on receptive language skills has not. The purpose of the proposed study, therefore, is to systematically develop an intervention intended to improve receptive and expressive language in preschool children with autism spectrum disorders and those with cognitive impairments.

Project Activities: Twenty-four children with autism spectrum disorder and twenty-four children with mild to moderate cognitive impairments will be recruited. Each participant will receive two language interventions – receptive language intervention and expressive language intervention. The two interventions will be compared using a parallel treatments design. The design includes multiple replications within participant. Each participant is given both interventions in a single session and the administration of the two interventions is counter-balanced across sessions. Data analysis will primarily involve visual inspection of the data. In addition, the Revusky Rn test for each treatment and each participant will be used to indicate statistical significance.

Products: The products of this project include a fully developed language intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders and with cognitive impairments, published reports, and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: Instruction will be provided in a one-on-one setting within an intervention room designed for preschool children in Tennessee.

Population: Participants will be 24 children with autism spectrum disorder and 24 children with mild to moderate cognitive impairments. Children will range in age from 3 to 6 years. All participants will have a need for receptive and expressive language intervention, have the ability to imitate adult's vocal behavior, and be likely to enroll in intervention for a minimum of 6 to 8 months.

Intervention: Two interventions will be compared: receptive language intervention and expressive language intervention. During the receptive language intervention, the adult will use the constant time delay procedure in a naturalistic context. For each learning trial, the adult will present an array of four objects or pictures in front of the child, secure the child's attention, and say, "Where is (name of object or picture)?". The child's response will be recorded as correct, prompted but error response, or no response. Prompted and unprompted correct responses will be reinforced, and other responses will be ignored. Each session will involve 20 trials.

During the expressive language intervention, the adult will also use the constant time delay procedure in a naturalistic context. For each learning trial, the adult will present an array of four objects or pictures in front of the child, secure the child's attention, and say, "What is this?". The child's response will be recorded as prompted correct response, prompted but error response, and no response. Prompted correct responses will be reinforced, and other responses will be ignored. Each session will involve 20 trials.

Research Design and Methods: The proposed experimental design is a parallel treatments design, which is used to compare two independent variables. In this proposal, the two independent variables of interest are receptive language intervention and expressive language intervention. The design includes multiple replications within participant. Each participant is given both interventions in a single session and the administration of the two interventions is counter-balanced across sessions.

Three experimental conditions will be used: probe conditions, receptive intervention conditions, and expressive intervention conditions. The study will start with assessment of all behaviors of all sets in a probe (baseline) and will continue until a stable data pattern is achieved. Next, the initial intervention comparison phase is applied to two behavior sets that have been matched in difficulty. Receptive language intervention will be used with one behavior set, and expressive language intervention with a second set. Each clinic session will be 20 minutes: 10 minutes devoted to the implementation of the receptive language intervention and 10 minutes devoted to the implementation of the expressive language intervention. When 100% criterion is achieved with both behavior sets, the baseline probe condition is reinstated. After the second probe condition, the intervention conditions are repeated using two different behavior sets. This design pattern is repeated across four replications.

Control Condition: The pre-intervention probe conditions serve as a control condition for each of the two independent variables. In the pre-intervention probe condition, participants receive multiple assessments but do not receive instruction.

Key Measures: Child outcomes will be measured with direct systematic observation using event recording. The observation will cover a wide range of variables that focus on all aspects of learning (i.e., acquisition, maintenance, and generalization).

Data Analytic Strategy: Data analysis will primarily involve visual inspection of the data. In addition, the Revusky Rn test for each treatment and each participant will be conducted. The combination of these analyses is used to provide more evidence that the interventions likely produced the change in a participant's performance.


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