Date of Award:

2016

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Thomas S. Higbee

Abstract

Training paraprofessionals who work with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other related developmental disabilities can be a challenge due to limited resources, time, and money. Alternative ways to train paraprofessionals on a larger scale is needed. Interactive computerized training—a self-paced program that incorporates audio narration, video models, interactive activities, and competency checks—is one potential training method. Interactive computerized training has been successful at training college students and special education teachers to implement discrete trial instruction but their effectiveness in training paraprofessionals is unknown. The purpose of this study was to extend the literature on interactive computerized trainings to evaluate its utility to teach six paraprofessionals to implement discrete trial instruction. Errorless learning procedures are recommended during discrete trial instruction to minimize student errors and promote quicker skill acquisition. A secondary purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness of the interactive computerized training to teach paraprofessionals to implement an errorless learning procedure. Following the training, all participants increased their fidelity of implementation of discrete trial instruction, at varying levels, with a student in their classroom. One participant reached the performance criterion of 90% or higher fidelity following ICT alone and two participants required performance feedback. Three participants required live coaching to increase their fidelity of DTI components to 80%. All feedback was delivered from a distance. Fidelity remained high to untrained instructional programs and at 2-week follow up. Potential limitations and future research related to training paraprofessionals are discussed.

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