When conducting this study, the main question the author was getting at was to see how effective a Direct Instruction (DI) language program was in regard to the oral language skills of elementary children with ASD of identifying the materials that objects were made from.
This current study referenced a previous study by Waldron-Soler where they used a group of 16 preschool children, 4 of which had developmental delays and compared them to a control group of 20 preschoolers, 4 of which also had developmental delays.
This study showed that DI was a promising practice, especially for the students who do not easily learn language skills, such as students with ASD.
In the current study there were three participants: Kyle (age 10), Aidan (age 10), and Nico (age 11). All three of the boys were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and made some errors on the placement test that had qualified them to participate in this study. The authors of this paper were the ones who conducted the study.
For each boy there was baseline data that was collected until each of the boys had shown a consistent level of performance. The instructions for the baseline exam started with the three materials shown in the teacher presentation book in the first materials lesson. After the baseline phase the researchers implemented instructional procedures and behaviors that were found in the teachers guide. The procedures included following the script for the strand with some modifications; using something to signal the students responses; using correction procedures for non-responses or incorrect responses; requiring simultaneous student responses; and modeling correct responses and then asking the students to respond all together and then again individually. One of the modifications was made because the boys required more solid representations than the ones provided in the presentation book. The other modification that was made was the repetition of each lesson until each of the boys had shown that they have mastered each of the specified materials on the probes. Once the boys had mastered those materials, the instructions moved to the next lesson. The instruction during this study
continued at each criterion until each of the boys had mastered each material before adding new instructions.E.As for results, each of the boys responded very quickly to treatment in a visual upward trend as well as they each quickly met criteria in each phase and had high PNDs. PNDs are calculated by dividing the number of intervention data points that surpasses the highest baseline data points by the total number of intervention phases data point and then multiplied by 100. The first boy, Kyle, his baseline performance was a 1.75. Across all of the phases, Kyles data were increasing through variables, especially during the first two phases. The PND calculated for Kyle was a score of 92% which suggests a highly effective treatment. As for Aidan, during his baseline, his performance was 0 correct responses which shows that his data trend was low and stable. Through the phases of his performance, Aidans data was increasing and generally stable. The PND that was calculated for Aidan was 95% which suggests a highly effective intervention. With Nico, his average performance for the baseline phase was also 0 correct responses and was low and stable, just like Aidan. Through all of the phases of Nicos data collection, his trends were all increasing and stable. Nicos PND that was calculated, resulted in a score of 90%. That score suggests that the treatment was effective to highly effective.
All and all the instructional procedures had to be modified based on each of the boys individual needs. The PND score for each of the boys were at least 90% which shows that DI was a highly effective intervention. This study also showed a functional relationship between identifying materials and DI through replication of skill increasing over at least three criterion changes for the three boys. A suggestion was that future studies with DI should use actual classroom teachers as instructors instead of the authors of the study.