Difficulty with independent functioning impacts overall outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities. The National Research Council identified the development of independent skills for students with disabilities as one of the six recommended areas for intervention and instruction (Hume & Reynolds, 2010). Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and other developmental disabilities often rely on the presence of an adult to remain engaged or to complete activities, (Stamer and Schreibman, 1992). Hume, Loftin and Lantz, (2009), indicated that adults with ASD, despite IQ scores above 50, rely heavily on others for support in employment, daily living, and relationships. Promoting independent engagement and performance of classroom activities and decreasing dependence on adults is an important objective when teaching students with disabilities (Hall, McClannahan, & Krantz, 1995). Some of the most successful interventions targeting increased independent skills in students with developmental disabilities emphasize a shift in stimulus control from continuous adult management during instruction to an alternative stimulus. Stimulus control refers to a verbal, physical or gestural prompt from another individual. This shift in stimulus control is vital in increasing student independence across settings (Hume, Loftin, Lantz, 2009). This shift increases their independence by transferring reliance on an individual to an alternative stimulus such as a visual support. This alternative support can then transition across environments and grows with the student as they progress through their education. One method of shifting this stimulus is structured teaching. The Treatment and Education of Autistic and r...
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...ce educators could use to create effective programming for students identified with developmental disabilities. With the evidence supporting the use of structured teaching strategies, specifically the work system, for students with ASD, it would be constructive to generalize this intervention to students with other developmental disabilities.
This study seeks to extend the findings of earlier research supporting the use of structured work systems with individuals with ASD to individuals with developmental disabilities. Specifically, the proposed study will evaluate the following questions:
1. Will the implementation of structured work systems decrease prompt dependency in students with developmental disabilities,
2. Will the structured work system increase time on task,
3. Will work completion increase as a result of implementation of a work system?
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