Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Program

Early Childhood Education

Date of Award

8-2016

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Pam Evanshen

Committee Members

John Wheeler, Amy Malkus

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the impact on engagement and challenging behaviors in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) under two treatment conditions: 1) physical modifications to the home environment, and 2) physical modifications plus visual supports in the home environment. Treatment conditions were implemented in the child's home environment with parents serving as interventionist.

A single-subject nonconcurrent baseline design was used across three male participants: ages 3 years, 2 months; 4 years, 4 months; and 4 years, 11 months. The study included four to five baseline sessions, six to nine sessions in Treatment 1, six to nine sessions in Treatment 2 and two follow-up sessions per participant.

During Treatment 1, modifications were made to each child's environment (e.g., decreasing clutter, organizing playthings, and/or establishing a defined play space). Parent awareness training regarding the change was provided, and data was collected using the Individual Child Engagement Record-Revised (Kishida, Kemp, & Carter, 2008) and the Challenging Behavior Record (researcher developed) during play and/or daily routines with the child's parent. During Treatment 2, visual supports were added to the modified environment to add structure and visual clarity (e.g., choice boards and "how to boards"). Parent awareness training regarding the change was provided, and data was collected using the Individual Child Engagement Record-Revised (Kishida et al., 2008) and the Challenging Behavior Record during play and/or daily routines with the child's parent.

Based on the findings of the study, active engagement increased and challenging behaviors decreased following modifications in the home for three young children with autism. In regards to engagement across Treatment 1 and Treatment 2, children demonstrated active engagement with a mean of 62%, 76.89%, and 74.41% from a baseline of 1.75%, 15.75%, and 14.6%, respectively. In regards to challenging behaviors, across Treatment 1 and Treatment 2, children had fewer behaviors that interfered with engagement with a mean of 13.3%, 8.15% and 13.32%, from a baseline of 75%, 27.75%, and 49.2%, respectively. The overall results indicated significant positive effects from the use of physical modifications and physical modifications plus visual support in increasing engagement and decreasing challenging behaviors.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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