InSpEd Research Summaries

InSpEd is committed to promoting evidence-based practice in the delivery of special education services to children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties.

Is Prompting an Effective Instructional Strategy for Individuals with Disabilities?

What is the intervention?

Prompting has long been used as an error reducing, systematic instructional procedure for individuals with various disabilities (Wolery et al., 1992). Prompting is used to instruct the learner in how to perform a skill or behaviour correctly before prompts are faded to increase independent performance of that skill or behaviour (Spooner et al., 2011). Prompting can be divided into categories, stimulus prompting and response prompting (Collins, 2007). Stimulus prompts are prompts that are made available before instruction begins in order to increase the learner’s chances of performing the correct response (Collins, 2007). For example, text is accompanied by a visual image to prompt the correct word recognition response. Alternatively, response prompting is used in combination with systematic instructional procures and embedded within instructional trials to elicit correct learning responses (Collins, 2007).

Conversation Skills of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

What are conversation skills?

Conversations are essentially social interactions where ideas are shared between two or more people. They appear effortless, are generally spontaneous and unplanned (Pridham, 2013) but are governed by unwritten rules that are largely undefined and often only recognised when the exchange is inappropriate (Twachtman-Cullen & Twachtman-Bassett, 2014). In conversations, the most important language domain is pragmatics, or how language is used in social contexts (Landa, 2000). An exhaustive list of the individual skills needed for a fluent conversation does not currently exist as the purpose of a conversation determines the skills needed. The ability to initiate an exchange, introduce, maintain and develop a topic, repair conversational breakdown, take turns and interrupt are all skills a fluent conversation partner should be able to demonstrate seamlessly.

How Effective are Animal-assisted Therapies/Activities for Children with Disabilities?

Animal-assisted interventions/activities for children with disabilities

The involvement of animals in interventions and activities for children with disabilities has become increasingly popular over the last 20 years. Although there is still some confusion around terminology, a distinction can be drawn between animal-assisted therapies and animal assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapies are delivered by a professional such as a therapist or an educator and there are set goals and a structured intervention. Animal-assisted activities are activities where the animal is part of an informal activity that may have benefits but there are no specific goals (Davis et al., 2015). Some authors also include a specific category of animal-assisted education where the aim is to improve educational outcomes (Dimolareva & Dunn, 2020). There are also assistance dogs that may be used to ensure safety or comfort (Berry et al. 2013). Animals involved in therapies and activities include mostly horses or dogs, but some studies have used guinea pigs, rabbits, llama, donkeys and dolphins (Davis et al., 2015; Maber-Aleksandrowicz et al., 2016).

Video Modelling

What is video modelling?

Video-based modelling, more commonly known as video modelling, is an evidence-based prompting strategy that is commonly used to teach various new skills to students with disability (Wright et al., 2020). Video modelling involves the delivery of scripted scenarios by models who demonstrate a desired behaviour or skill that is video recorded(Seok et al., 2018).Through watching these video recordings, rehearsing the behaviours or skills portrayed, and then performing them, students can quickly acquire appropriate behaviour through observational learning (Bandura, 2001).

Are Cognitive-Behavioural Approaches (CBA) Effective for Students with ASD?

What is the intervention?

Cognitive-behavioural approaches (CBA) are intervention approaches based on the integration of traditional behaviourism and cognitive psychology. They are intended to facilitate changes in behaviours or emotions through changes in cognition. CBA interventions are used for a range of purposes, such as addressing social cognition; coping with difficult social circumstances; enhancing understanding; regulating emotion; or developing self- management. CBA interventions are usually composed of multiple components and include both training to directly address cognitive deficits or distortion and strategies to address skill and behaviour deficits, whereas an intervention adapting a traditional behavioural approach generally targets and addresses one specific behaviour or skill. This is the major difference between traditional behavioural approaches and CBA (Dobson & Dozois, 2010).

Is Narrative Intervention Effective For School Aged Children With Language Disorder?

What are Narratives?

Narratives are accounts of past, future or imagined events (Segal & Pesco, 2015). They are a major milestone in language development as they represent a transition from contextualized language based in the “here and now” to decontextualised language based in the “there and then” (Peterson, Jesso, & McCabe, 1999). Narratives take a variety of forms. Personal narratives describe events that have been personally experienced (Preece, 1987); narrative retells are retellings of existing narratives to illustrate understanding (Kalmbach, 1986) or to share the narrative with others; original narratives are unique texts based in reality or fantasy.

Are tablets, such as IPADS, Effective in Teaching Students with ASD?

What is the intervention?

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) appear to be motivated by the use of devices with screens such as iPads and these are now common in homes and schools. The effectiveness of tablets as devices for augmentative and alternative communication is well established (Wong et al., 2015) and will not be considered in this research summary.

Intervention Effect for Sensory Integration

What is the intervention?

Sensory integration therapy was proposed by Jean Ayres in the 1970s. She suggested difficulties with adaptive behaviour, language, academic skills, reading and motor coordination could be addressed by remediating presumed sensory processing disorders. She posited that difficulties in neural functioning, specifically sensory processing and integration, underlie problems with behaviour and learning.

Reading Instruction and Intellectual Disability

Why is reading important for individuals with intellectual disability?

Around 1-2% of individuals entering school have an intellectual disability (ID), varying in both degree and cause, that provides significant challenges to their learning. About 85% of this cohort is classified as having a mild ID. The achievement most central to their overall educational progress is that of being able to read with fluency and comprehension. As for most students, reading eventually offers a means of acquiring vocabulary and world knowledge independent of instruction. It is an especially valuable skill to master for students with ID as their language skills usually develop more slowly than do those of their non- disabled peers, and they enter school with several disadvantages.

Intervention Effects for Gluten- Free and Casein-Free Diets in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

What is the intervention?

The gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet, which is popular among a number of diets that have been adopted for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), involves the elimination of food containing gluten and casein with the view to mitigating autism symptoms. It is considered to be an alternative treatment and is based on the assumption that children with ASD have difficulty in breaking down the proteins found in foods containing wheat, barley and rye (gluten) and in milk and dairy products (casein) and that they have difficulty, also, with the absorption of the peptides related to these foods (Hyman, et al., 2016; Marı-Bauset et al., 2016).