Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

Department

Special Education and Rehabilitation

First Advisor

Timothy Slocum

Abstract

Students with significant cognitive disabilities often struggle to express themselves with written language. This project examined the effects of combining simultaneous prompting and computer assisted instruction, including picture icons, to teach students with significant cognitive disabilities to create narrative stories. Participants included seven students with significant disabilities currently being taught in a self-contained special education classroom located in a public elementary school. Participants had educational classifications of autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, or multiple disabilities. A multiple probe across behaviors design was used and instructors measured the number of sentences written by participants in each computer session. Sentences were defined as a group of words that contain at least a subject and a verb and were linked in a logical way. First, a simultaneous prompting intervention was used to teach participants to copy simple three-sentence stories using the PixwriterTM assisted writing program on a preferred topic. When the participants could do this, they were given a two-sentence story to copy and then asked to generate a final sentence that would be cohesive with the story. This process was to be repeated across three preferred topics. Participants in this study had varying results with this intervention. Six of the participants with significant cognitive skills got to practice their own narrative story writing skills. Only one participant completed the full intervention. One participant did not get past copying the prepared stories. All of the participants enjoyed listening to the computer as it read the stories that they copied or helped to create.

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