Date of Award

1999

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Peter Cole

Abstract

Children with autism frequently display an inability to function independently. This has led researchers to develop treatments that are aimed at overcoming the dependency of these children on parents and teachers and which teach them to manage their own behaviour. A self-management treatment package consisting of videotaped self-modelling, self-monitoring, and self-reinforcement was investigated in the present study. The focus was the effect of the treatment package on the inappropriate classroom behaviours of three children with autism. The behaviours that were chosen were those that were most likely to interfere with the participants' ability to work independently in the classroom. The dependent variables were off-task behaviour, stereotypic behaviour, latency time to commence a task, inappropriate vocalizations, the accuracy of self-monitoring, and the ability to follow a four-step self-monitoring procedure without assistance from the researcher. Each of the studies in the present research project was consistent with a single-subject, withdrawal design. The first two studies followed an A-B-A design and the third study followed an A-B-A-C-A design. Follow-up data were collected in Studies I and 2. A represented the baseline conditions, B the intervention condition, and C the second intervention condition. Three male students with autism participated in the study. These children were aged between nine years and one month and eleven years and seven months. Two of the children were described as severely autistic and the third was described as moderately autistic. The children demonstrated deficits in the social, language and communication domains as well abnormalities in the range of interests and activities. The results indicated considerable decreases in each of the inappropriate target behaviours during the period of intervention. Moderate maintenance gains were in evidence for two of the children. Follow-up data revealed some regression in the target behaviours two weeks later. The accuracy of self-monitoring was very high for all of the children. The children were typically inaccurate in self-recording when inappropriate behaviour had occurred. Two of the children displayed very high levels of independence in performing the four-steps of the self-monitoring procedure. The third child demonstrated an inability to follow the procedure without assistance from the researcher. The intervention follow-up data indicated that one of the children had retained the steps of the self-monitoring procedure two weeks after the withdrawal of the intervention. Some implications for teaching and recommendations for future research are presented.

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