|Title:||Relative Effectiveness of Contrasting Approaches to Response-Contingent Learning Interventions|
|Principal Investigator:||Raab, Melinda||Awardee:||Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute|
|Program:||Early Intervention and Early Learning [Program Details]|
|Award Period:||07/01/2011–06/30/2015||Award Amount:||$1,947,772|
|Type:||Efficacy and Replication||Award Number:||R324A110183|
Purpose: Young children with profound developmental delays often do not draw associations between their actions and the resulting effects. Young children gain understanding of the relationship between their behavior and its consequences through response-contingent learning opportunities. These learning opportunities involve the use of a targeted behavior to produce interesting social or nonsocial responses. Understanding these associations is a building block for future adaptive behaviors, and it is foundational for further learning. Early intervention service providers typically use strategies that target behaviors a child needs to learn despite their current levels of functioning. The researchers in this study are testing the efficacy of an ability-based intervention. Ability-based interventions build upon behaviors that children are already capable of doing but may not use intentionally to affect consequences. The researchers are evaluating whether the ability-based approach to targeting behavior leads to greater improvement in current skills/associations when compared to a needs-based approach commonly used by service providers.
Project Activities: Researchers in this study will use a randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of the ability-based approach to response-contingent learning. Children will be randomly assigned to receive a response-contingent learning intervention using either an ability-based or a needs-based approach to identifying targeted behavior. Over an 8-month period, children and their families will be visited every other week and participate in response-contingent learning games. Child outcomes include child response-contingent learning, social-emotional behaviors during the learning games, non-targeted behaviors, and child development. Multivariate hierarchal linear modeling will be used to examine the efficacy of the ability-based approach compared to the needs-based approach.
Products: The products from this project include evidence of the efficacy of the ability-based response-continent learning intervention, published reports, and presentations.
Setting: The research will take place in the homes of children participating in early intervention programs in North Carolina and Tennessee.
Population: Approximately 120 infants and toddlers with profound developmental delays will participate in this research. The participants will be children who are functioning at less than a 5- to 6-month level and do not use behavior intentionally to produce consequences.
Intervention: In the ability-based intervention, an early interventionist and parents will select targeted behaviors based on behaviors the child already has in his or her repertoire. The selected reinforcing consequences are based on observations and interviews on what the child enjoys and what maintains the child's attention. The combination of the targeted behavior and the reinforcing consequences inform the development of the active learning games. Parents learn to implement active learning games with their child in their home. The interventionist will visit the family every other week to monitor progress and make changes to the active learning games.
Research Design and Methods: The study will use a randomized trial design to examine the relative efficacy of two contrasting approaches to response-contingent learning interventions. A total of 120 young children will be randomly assigned to an ability-based intervention or the comparison condition (needs-based intervention). Over an 8-month period, children and their families will be visited every other week and participate in response-contingent learning games. Data will be collected on the child developmental progress at baseline, 4 months, and 8 months. Parental implementation logs will be kept daily.
Control Condition: The comparison group is a business-as-usual model in which children receive the needs-based intervention. Targeted behaviors a child needs to learn will be selected based on the results of a development assessment. The selection of reinforcing consequences and the development and implementation of the active learning games will be similar to the ability-based treatment condition.
Key Measures: Data will be collected on child outcomes—child response-contingent learning, social-emotional behaviors during the learning games, non-targeted behaviors used outside the learning games, and child developmental progress—using a variety of measures (e.g., Active Learning Observation Survey, Carolina Record of Individual Behavior, Mullen Scales of Early Learning). Data will also be collected on parental responsiveness (Maternal Behavior Rating Scale) as well as child and family background characteristics, including child and parent's age, child's gender, type of disability, child developmental status, parent education, parent work status, and income level. Fidelity of implementation data will be measured through daily implementation logs.
Data Analytic Strategy: Multivariate hierarchal linear modeling analysis will be used to examine the efficacy of the ability-based approach compared to the needs-based approach for improving child outcomes. Separate multivariate hierarchal linear modeling analyses will be conducted for each child outcome.
Journal article, monograph, or newsletter
Dunst, C. J., Raab, M., and Hamby, D. W. (2017). Contrasting Approaches to the Response Contingent Learning of Young Children with Significant Delays and Their Social-Emotional Consequences. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 63. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2017.02.009 Full text
Raab, M., Dunst, C. J., and Hamby, D. W. (2017). Efficacy Trial of Contrasting Approaches to the Response-Contingent Learning of Young Children with Significant Developmental Delays and Multiple Disabilities. Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology, 7(1). doi:10.5539/jedp.v7n1p12 Full text
Raab, M., Dunst, C.J., and Hamby, D.W. (2016). Effectiveness of Contrasting Approaches to Response-Contingent Learning Among Children With Significant Developmental Delays and Disabilities. Research and Practice for Persons With Severe Disabilities, 41(1): 36–51. doi:10.1177/1540796915621189