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Institute of Education Sciences


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IES Grant

Title: iSKILLS : The Audio/Video Guidance Repository for Life Skills
Center: NCSER Year: 2010
Principal Investigator: Ayres, Kevin Grantee: University of Georgia
Program: Transition Outcomes for Secondary Students with Disabilities      [Program Details]
Award Period: 08/01/2010 – 07/31/2013 Award Amount: $1,195,856
Goal: Development Award Number: R324A100094
Description:

Purpose: Students with intellectual disabilities and/or autism often have difficulty acquiring and maintaining the life skills necessary for successful post-school transitions. These students face many challenges that inhibit their ability to actively participate as adults in their communities. Students with severe disabilities may benefit from systematic instruction on functional, social, daily living, leisure, community, and vocational skills necessary for improved post-school outcomes. Currently, there is a lack of research-based interventions designed to provide such systematic instruction to help students prepare for life after school.

The purpose of this project is to develop iSkills, a video repository of life skills tutorials for students with intellectual disabilities and autism. Designed to be delivered via handheld electronic devices, iSkills is intended to assist with direct instruction and self-instruction across several domains including independent living, employment, leisure, community involvement, and community navigation.

Project Activities: The team will develop an initial set of life skill videos for use in the iSkills tutorials. The videos will be reviewed by the technical advisory board, tested for usability on iPhones, and then used in direct instruction conditions to teach students the target life skills. Revisions to videos will occur based on initial evaluations. The researchers will conduct single-subject experimental research to assess the promise of the tutorials for teaching students with intellectual disabilities or autism under self-instruction conditions. Finally, the researchers will develop and test the web-based podcasting system that will allow efficient downloading of the iSkills videos to portable devices.

Products: Products include a fully developed iSkills intervention program with pilot study evidence on the promise of the intervention for improving student outcomes, a delivery system for video modeling, tutorials for educators, presentations, and published reports.

Setting: The research will take place in urban and rural middle and high schools in Georgia and Tennessee.

Population: The participants include secondary students with severe intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders, their parents, and their teachers.

Intervention: The iSkills program is a video repository of life skills lessons designed to be delivered to individuals via handheld electronic devices. The iSkills program will include the following components: (1) a searchable database of video formatted for computer access as well as iPod; (2) protocols for using the videos in direct instruction; (3) protocols for using videos for self-instruction; (4) protocols and videos for teaching others how to use iSkills as a self-instructional tool; and (5) a podcast feed through iTunes.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will use a series of single subject experiments to evaluate how iSkills influences learning and skill development. The team will use an adapted alternating treatments design that includes multiple probes across behaviors replicated across participants to evaluate a functional relationship between instruction and the target outcome variable. A series of time-lagged introductions of new tutorials will occur until students master all target skills. Video-tutorials will be revised based on single subject data on skill attainment as well as researcher observations.

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: Student outcome measures include performance on the life skill being taught by a given tutorial (e.g., washing clothes, buying a bus ticket). The performance will be determined as a percentage of steps correct. The measure of social validity of the program is the Intervention Rating Profile-15.

Data Analytic Strategy: To analyze the single subject experiment data, researchers will use percent non-overlapping data and improvement rate differences to determine the promise of the intervention for improving student outcomes on the target skills. Researchers will also conduct visual analysis of single-subject data to determine if a functional relationship exists by examining the level, trend, variability, and immediacy of effect from one condition to the next.

Publications from this project:

Bereznak, S., Ayres, K. M., Mechling, L. C., & Alexander, J. L., (2012). Video self-prompting and mobile technology to increase daily living and vocational independence for students with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 24, 269–285.

Mechling, L. C., & Ayres, K.M. (2012). A comparative study: Completion of fine motor office related tasks by high school students with autism using video models on large and small screen sizes. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 2364–2373. doi: 10.1007/s10803-012-1484-1

Mechling, L.C., Ayres, K. M., Purrazzella, K., & Purrazzella, K. (in press). Continuous video modeling to prompt completion of multi-component tasks by adults with moderate intellectual disabilities. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities.

Mechling, L.C., Ayres, K. M., Purrazzella, K., & Purrazzella, K. (2012) Evaluation of the performance of fine and gross motor skills within multi-step tasks by adults with moderate intellectual disabilities when using video models. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 24, 469–486.

Mechling, L. C., & Collins, T. S. (2012).

Mechling, L. C., & Collins, T. S. (2012). Comparison of the effects of video models with and without verbal cuing on task completion by young adults with moderate intellectual disabilities. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 47 (2), 223–235.

Walser, K., Ayres, K. M., & Foote, E. (2012). Effects of a video model to teach students with moderate intellectual disabilities to use key features of an iPhone. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 2012, 47 (3), 319–331.

Ayres, K. M. (2012). Reconciling ecological educational planning with access to the common core: Putting the cart before the horse. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 37, 153–156.

Smith, M., Ayres, K. M., Mechling, L. C., & Smith (2013). A comparison of the effects of video modeling with narration vs. video modeling on the functional acquisition of life skills by students with autism spectrum disorder. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 14, 165–179.

Alexander, J. A., Ayres, K.M., Smith, K.A., Bereznak, S., & Mataras, G. (in press). Using video modeling to teach generalized matching on a sorting mail task for adolescents with autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Mechling, L. C., Ayres, K. M., Bryant, K. J., & Foster, A. L. (in press). Continuous video modeling to assist with completion of multi-step home living tasks by young adults with moderate intellectual disability. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities.

Mechling, L. C., Ayres, K. M., Foster, A. L. & Bryant, K. J., (in press). Comparing the effectiveness of commercially-available and custom made videos for teaching cooking skills to high school age students with autism spectrum disorders. Remedial and Special Education.

Mechling, L. C., Foster, A.M., & Ayres, K.M. (in press) Navigation between menu screens and multiple touch points on a touch screen tablet to access and complete multi-step tasks using video prompting. Inclusion.

Mechling, L. C., Foster, A. L., Bryant, K. J., & Ayres, K. M., (in press). Evaluation of the ability of students with autism spectrum disorder and moderate intellectual disability to generalize performance across materials when using video technology. Focus on Autism and other Developmental Disabilities.


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