Adaptive behavior skills and Instructional Strategies
The literature is awash with evidence-based instructional practices for inculcating functional skills such as adaptive behavior skills for students with disabilities. According to Singer, Agran, and Spooner (2017), evidence-based practice steps described in academic literature make it possible to find and study appropriate intervention strategies where much attention is paid to the ways of interacting with students with such disorders because they have positive results for the development of the cognitive and behavioral skills of people with intellectual disabilities.
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Computer-based interventions have proven successful in teaching adaptive behavior skills to students with intellectual disabilities. Numerous procedures have also been used to teach adaptive behavior skills which include: task analysis, video modeling, positive reinforcement, verbal, gestural, physical prompting, error-correcting, picture prompting, in vivo instruction, and applied behavior analysis. Although many procedures exist for addressing adaptive skills, it is suggested that Computer-based intervention and Video-based intervention are used with fidelity to identify what works.
Is utilized widely for interaction with those students who have intellectual disabilities. In Computer-based intervention, the computer delivers instruction by illustrating stimulatory inputs for audible and visual comprehension for the specific skillset; thus, it allows the subject to learn effectively. The learner uses the program through external hardware devices, such as scanners, switches, keyboards, touch screens, or trackballs.
This interaction with the learner is viewed by some as one way of providing more sophisticated instructional components such as designed stimulatory hierarchies, corrective reviews, and unique motivating possibilities (Mechling, 2005).
According to Rivera, Jabeen, and Mason (2016), computer-based interventions concurrently permit for explicit instruction, although they sometimes include supplementary information embedded within their multimedia feature, thereby allowing students with intellectual disabilities to learn incidental information. The authors further point out that through computer-based interventions, information can be placed purposefully within an instructional trial sequence as a way of giving learners with disabilities the chance to acquire extra skills.
The significance of acquiring adaptive behavior skills to facilitate independent living is recognized in special education, so Computer-based intervention has shown to be an effective tool for teaching students with intellectual disability various adaptive behavior skills that are encountered in everyday life. Ramdoss et al. (2012) reviewed the literature aimed at advancing and improving adaptation skills (e.g., food preparation, shopping, and public transit navigation) in people with intellectual disabilities.
The given review formulates intervention results and explains software properties and system requirements of every Computer-based intervention. Moreover, it claims that the promotion of daily living skills in the intellectually disabled can be achieved with intervention in a highly promising approach. The strategy used in that investigation is similar to that used by Ayres and Cihak (2010) who conducted a literature review of studies focusing on teaching three intellectually disabled students at middle-school-age the process of using a microwave, making a sandwich, and setting the table with a software package of computer-based intervention.
They found that instruction and prompting received by computer-based interventions have been effective. Finally, the main focus of the literature review conducted by Hansen and Morgan (2008) was teaching the intellectually disabled students to properly make purchases in local community grocery stores with the assistance from the dollar plus a strategy of buying. Their critical findings were that purchasing skills can be taught with success with computer-based intervention by applying various low- and high- technology modalities of instructions.
On the other hand, a study by Mechling (2005) demonstrated that it is possible to manipulate computer-aided instruction to provide instruction in non-targeted and targeted vocabulary to students with intellectual disabilities. However, Rivera, Jabeen, and Mason (2016) caution that these findings should be treated with caution because the effects of observational learning using computer-based interventions are yet to be sufficiently documented in the literature.
Computer-based interventions are essentially observational learning, and traditionally, such forms of learning have been seen to occur within small groups (Ramdoss et al., 2012). Presently, there is a dearth of information appraising the use of computer-based interventions in teaching explicit skills and providing incidental information to children with intellectual disabilities.
This form of interaction with students with intellectual disabilities involves using special visual learning tools. There are two forms of video-based instruction: video modeling and video prompting (Gardner & Wolf, 2015). Video modeling is a method of teaching that requests students to imitate the depicted target skill after it was demonstrated in a short video. Participants are asked to mimic the given video at different time passages ranging from an hour later (i.e., delayed video modeling) to the right after the video finishes (i.e., simultaneous video modeling).
During the video prompting process, students watch a video illustrating a chain of stages. Researchers request the students to reproduce the actions presented in the video between every step, and the feedback is provided if necessary. Cost efficiency, instruction repetitions, immediate feedback are the key benefits of video inducing and modeling (Kellems and Edwards, 2016).
This type of visual teaching is an effective and convenient practice of interacting with students with certain intellectual disabilities. According to Park, Bouck, and Duenas (2018), by reducing educational tasks, video modeling decreases the need for the teacher or practitioner to interact with the student. Therefore, it can be used by teachers in a variety of settings, and on learners with different levels of disability.
Moreover, another benefit of using video modeling as an instructional strategy is that it can be used repetitively to reinforce the skill being taught and provide continuity, in addition to being used in many settings, such as the home or in the classroom (Wynkoop, Robertson, & Schwartz, 2018). Repetitive watching also contributes to the effective learning of targeted skills or behavior, and it is easy to provide feedback on learning.
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Evidence in the literature suggests that video modeling is an effective and useful approach for supporting students with intellectual disabilities to learn a variety of adaptive behavior skills. For example, Bidwell and Rehfeldt (2004) applied video modeling on three adult women suffering serious mental retardation with a great deal of success to teach them social skills of making and serving coffee and sitting with a peer.
In the given study, video modeling resulted in acquiring and maintaining a new set of skills the following month by using multiple baselines among the design of participants. This methodological research approach is similar to the principle promoted by Avcioglu (2013) to teach intellectually disabled learners the correct way of greeting other people during the meetings. The research found out that students with intellectual disabilities greatly benefited from video modeling use, which assisted them in acquiring and preserving the skill of greeting others with different people in various situations.
This type of social and educational interaction with those patients who have intellectual disabilities is suitable for both adults and children. According to Banda, Dogoe, and Matuszny (2011), the use of prompts is an important tool in teaching those with intellectual disabilities because, when incorporated into instruction, prompts increase the likelihood that the learner will respond correctly.
Because prompting facilitates the acquisition of new skills, in addition to reducing the occurrence of errors and ensuring the appropriate response, it is not difficult to notice how it helps students with intellectual disabilities to perform skills and behaviors that they previously had no mastery. Besides, gradual and step-by-step information delivery is a major advantage and benefit of video prompting, because it allows students with intellectual disability to fully concentrate on every stage of an activity rather than focusing on the whole task at once (Kellems and Edwards, 2016).
This instructional approach has been addressed in several literature reviews focused on strategies to promote adaptive behavior skills for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Cannella-Malone, Wheaton, Wu, Tullis & Park, (2012) conducted a literature review of studies focusing on three students with an intellectual disability ranging from moderate to severe, who were able to acquire a set of everyday living with video prompting instruction video prompting and found that instruction and prompting received by video prompting has been effective.
The strategy used in that investigation is similar to that used by Sigafoos et al. (2005) to teach three adults with intellectual disabilities how to make popcorn by using a microwave oven. Following the intervention, two of the three participants were able to use a microwave to make popcorn without the video prompt and maintained the skill for at least 10 weeks.
Adaptive behavior skills and Inclusion
The research that has been conducted on the attitudes of special education teachers towards adaptive behavior skills is somewhat narrow and inadequate. This notwithstanding, there has been a focus on the perception of teachers towards the inclusion of learners with intellectual disabilities within the general educational environment. The concept of inclusion and its implementation in the education setting over the last few decades have changed classrooms and how teachers perceive teaching in general and students with disabilities in particular (Schwartz, 2005).
Al-Mousa (2010) agreed that mainstreaming students with intellectual disabilities and their active inclusion in the educational environment provides a variety of positive outcomes. According to the studies analyzed by Al-Mousa (2010), the presence of students with disabilities in regular schools improves their “independent living skills, linguistic growth, physical development, self-orientation, vocational activity, and social responsibility” (p. 21). Mainstreaming positively influences the educational process for students with intellectual disabilities and imposes no limitations or discomfort for normal students, thus proving the necessity of such interventions.
According to Siperstein, Parker, Norins, and Widman (2007), the attitude and knowledge of teachers continue to change as laws are introduced that require teachers to include learners with disabilities in the conventional classroom. MacFarlane and Woolfson (2013) sampled twelve schools on this particular topic and discussed trends that included the positive attitude of educators towards learners with intellectual disabilities, as well as the likelihood of teachers wanting to mainstream such students and include them in classroom activities. The outcome of the study suggests that students with intellectual disabilities benefited tremendously from improved attitudes of teachers and the general acceptance by their fellow students when inclusion practices were regularly sustained.
The principle of inclusion is broadly and positively accepted among teachers; however, the practical implementation has always been seen as challenging and problematic for educators who frequently evoke negative attitudes (MacFarlane and Woolfson, 2013).
Therefore, explicit and implicit attitudes among teachers need to be fully comprehended, because it is highly important to enhance and improve teaching methodologies provided for young students with special educational needs. Moreover, the study was conducted by Bornholt, Lennon, & Levins, (2005), where they examined how teachers’ attitudes affect children with special needs. The research involved teachers ranging from pre-service teachers to teachers with experience undergoing in-service training courses. The study findings showed that only explicit attitudes correlated with behavioral intentions, whereas implicit ones did not.
Besides, intentions for negative actions were highly associated with feelings of anxiety and guilt. There was a significant degree of similarity between teaching and personal experiences in profiles of attitudes. Nevertheless, children with lower adaptive behavior skills showed lower positive attitude levels, whereas children with less cognitive skills expressed increased positive attitudes.
The frequent and consistent reports on teachers show that they find children with special educational needs and intellectual disabilities problematic to include, thus resulting in negative teaching attitudes. It occurs due to the children’s learning being compromised by long-term and complex challenges in managing and controlling their skills of independence, so they will often require adaptive behavior skills support or training to include them within the traditional education setting.
A study conducted by Sigstad (2017) found that special needs students either should self-prompt or be assisted by an adult to make certain that they have access to the grade-level curriculum or general curriculum, aside from meeting their personal needs. In the absence of self-prompting or one-on-one support, students with intellectual disabilities would feel unwelcome in the classroom.
The mainstreaming or inclusion of learners with special needs constitutes an important goal for most parents and educators in special education. Additionally, the study found that teacher attitudes about students with disabilities have influenced how teachers in special education classrooms learn about adaptive skills and other functional skills that are necessary for student growth (Sigstad, H., 2017).
The idea that the inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities promotes positive attitudes continues to be a widely debated topic because Inclusion or mainstreaming is among the ways that students with intellectual disabilities learn academic accomplishment and adaptive behavior effectively. Dessemontet, Bless, and Morin (2012) conducted a study, where they compared 34 intellectually disabled children of an experimental group studying in supported general education classrooms with 34 children of a control group in special schools. Adaptive behavior and academic achievement of accomplishment progression were compared during two years at school.
The study’s critical finding showed that children with learning and intellectual disabilities substantially improved and enhanced their mathematics skills, literacy skills and they displayed better adaptive behavior at home and school throughout the following two years.