Award Date

12-1-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational & Clinical Studies

First Committee Member

Joshua Baker

Second Committee Member

Cori More

Third Committee Member

Kyle Higgins

Fourth Committee Member

Richard D. Tandy

Number of Pages

154

Abstract

Self-determination is the freedom to make choices that impact an individual’s life. Many people would agree that self-determination leads to an enhanced quality of life, and choice making is considered a central element in self-determination. Most learn choice making through a gradual release of responsibility by caregivers throughout their childhood and adolescence. Many times, this is not the case for students with autism. Completed research examining choice making and people with autism has shown promising results; however, one of the primary traits of autism, the need for structured routines, often does not lend itself to evaluating choice making. Activity schedules are one way to incorporate choice making into an already structured routine, providing a schedule for daily events or specific routines. Choice making is embedded in activity schedules when people are allowed to choose the sequence of events within the schedule. Past research has suggested activity schedules to be an effective way to teach task completion to people across disability areas. The purpose of this study was to replicate and extend a previously completed study by Duttlinger, Ayres, Bevill-Davis, and Douglas (2013), which evaluated the effects of activity schedules on task completion by middle school students with intellectual disabilities, in two ways. First, this study evaluated the use of activity schedules with four middle school students with autism; second, it evaluated the effects of choice making on the number of tasks completed in sequence. Ten skills all participants could complete independently were identified by the participating teacher and researcher using the participant’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals as a guide. An alternating treatments design with initial baseline and final best treatment phase was implemented, evaluating the difference in the number of tasks completed between teacher and participant selection of the order of tasks. The researcher collected data on the number of tasks completed, the number of tasks completed in sequence, the fidelity of implementation, reliability of data, and social validity. Suggestions are made for practice and research based on the limited study outcomes.

Keywords

Activity Schedules; Autism; Middle School; Tasks Compleated; Tasks Completed in Sequence; Time on Task

Disciplines

Education

Language

English


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