Research Review: Development And Intervention Of Children With Autism

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The purpose of this research article was to determine if children with autism would be able to tie their own shoes using video prompt-models and backward chaining. They hypothesized this form of teaching would be adequate for the targeted behavior and, after the children reached mastery they would be able to retain the acquired behavior. This study had three children who had been diagnosed with mild-to-moderate autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There were two males and one female, who were all 5-years-old.

The experimental sessions occurred in empty rooms in a developmental center that worked with children with ASD. They conducted the study by showing a series of recorded, first-person point-of-view, videos, that provided models as part of the backward chaining procedure. During prescreening, the children were shown a series of various simple motor actions with a toy and were asked to repeat the actions. Then they were rated on how well they imitated and were given verbal praise. These tests were conducted to see if the children had prerequisites imitation skills. Then they were shown videos of a shoe on a table, the same shoe the participates used, facing away. Each video was made into two parts; a 5-second cartoon to help get the attention of the participants, and then the videos presented the steps of how to tie a shoe using backward chaining, broken into 6 steps. Following the video, the child was given the same shoe and was asked to complete the steps to tie the shoe, given only 5 seconds for each step. Once the child completed or attempted to tie the shoe they were allowed 30 seconds to play with a toy and were given verbal praise. Even if the children just attempted to try to tie the shoe within the first 5 seconds, they received credit for that step.

None of the children completed the final step during baseline. During times when they were not able to complete a step, they would show the video again and if they are still unable to complete the step the researchers would show the video a third time and assist the child in that step. They started with step six and worked their way to step one. The shoe would be presented each time with all the steps done up until the step the children were trying to master. One week after the research was completed they were asked to come back. The children were given an untied shoe and asked to tie it in under three minutes. They received three trials with a minute break in-between to play with a preferred toy.

The result of this research stated one of the children, they call Carl, was unable to do a step, so he just put his hand in the shoe. He struggled with using the right loop to weave the overhand knot. Another child, the call Leilise, required 102 trials to achieve mastery of the chain and needed five trials to tie her own shoe. The last child, they called Artico, took 91 trials to tie the shoe and 12 to tie his own shoe. Though, the research shows that backward chaining and video prompting effective, proving their hypothesizes correct.

Some limitations that were presented within this research were some verbal and physical assistance was required at times. Along with, allowing the children to have two trials to attempt to complete the step they were struggling with before a researcher stepped in on the third trial may have extended instructional sessions. They believe their decision to start with tying the shoe on the table before tying the shoe on their own foot was a limitation.

My own limitation I found is the number of participants involved. To have a more accurate test result more participants should be used. In conclusion, it did take some time to master shoe tying from videos and backward chaining, but in the end, they were able to master the skill. Tying shoes ties into occupational therapy because it is a fine motor skill which also includes being able to have bilateral coordination, hand and finger manipulation, and dexterity.

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