Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational & Clinical Studies

First Committee Member

Josh Baker

Second Committee Member

Cori More

Third Committee Member

Joseph Morgan

Fourth Committee Member

Randall Boone

Number of Pages



Employment outcomes for individuals with intellectual disability (ID) continue to be among the lowest reported (Migliore, Butterworth, & Hart, 2009; Siperstein, Parker, & Drascher, 2013). Literacy skills are critical for obtaining employment and for supporting continued success in the workplace (Conceição, 2016), but individuals with ID typically have very low literacy levels (Katims, 2000). Limited research has been conducted on literacy skill development for young adults with ID, particularly on work-related texts such as employee handbooks. Research supports the use of shared stories on adapted age-appropriate texts for students with significant cognitive disabilities, including those with ID (Hudson & Test, 2011; Shurr & Taber-Doughty, 2012; Spooner, Kemp-Inman, Ahlgrim-Delzell, Wood, & Davis, 2015), but these studies primarily focused on elementary or middle school students. Very little research on shared stories has been conducted with older students with ID (ages 18 and up). These students may have access to functional academic instruction, such as accessing real-world texts, within high school, vocational programs, and postsecondary education programs found in colleges and universities. Participation in university-based postsecondary education programs for young adults with ID have demonstrated improved competitive employment outcomes for this population, with 82% of the students working jobs that paid at or above minimum wage (Grigal & Hart, 2013). Functional academic instruction, such as literacy skill development, within these programs has successfully included the incorporation of technology to access or supplement the intervention (Evmenova, Behrmann, Mastropieri, Baker, & Graff, 2011; McMahon, Cihak, Wright, & Bell, 2016). The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a multimedia shared story using speech-to-text technology on the text comprehension skills of college students with ID. This intervention included the use of systematic instruction to provide error correction instruction for correctly answering comprehension questions about the text of an adapted employee handbook. This study used a multiple probe across participants design to measure the effectiveness of the intervention across three sections of the employee handbook as well as demonstration of three performance tasks related to the readings. This research seeks to extend the literature by investigating the effects of this literacy treatment package on the participants’ comprehension of the text and their ability to transfer that knowledge into a practical demonstration of related work tasks. Results indicated that three of the four participants improved in their overall correct responses to the multiple-choice questions and were able to maintain their levels of response during maintenance. One participant did not have a significant change in number of correct responses. Two of the participants were able to generalize the Safety Skills performance task. One participant generalized the intercom task. Most of the steps of the handwashing task were generalized by all three participants, but they never successfully completed one of the steps in this task. The participants, program director, and potential employer all found the intervention to be effective and relevant for the participants.


employee handbook; intellectual disability; shared stories; special education; technology; transition


Education | Special Education and Teaching

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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