Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Buchoz, J. L., Brady, M. P., Duffy, M. L., Scott, J. & Kontosh, L. G. (2008). Using literacy-based behavioral interventions and social stories to improve work behavior in employees with developmental disabilities.. Education and Training in Developmental Disabiliites, 43 (4),
Title:  Using literacy-based behavioral interventions and social stories to improve work behavior in employees with developmental disabilities.
Authors:  Buchoz, J. L., Brady, M. P., Duffy, M. L., Scott, J. & Kontosh, L. G.
Year:  2008
Journal/Publication:  Education and Training in Developmental Disabiliites
Publisher:  Division on Developmental Disabilities
Full text:  https://www.jstor.org/stable/23879678?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents    |   PDF   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No

Structured abstract:

Background:  Research examining the effects of Literacy-Based Behavioral interventions and social stories to improve the work behavior of employees with developmental disabilities.
Purpose:  This study employed two experiements to examine the effects of Literacy Based Behavioral interventions and social stories on the work behavior of employees with developmental disabilities. The first was a multiple baseline measure across subjects to examine the intervention and the second employed a multiple baseline across time periods with an embedded ABAB design to assess withe independence and punctuality would improve.
Setting:  The experiments were conducted in a sheltered workshop setting; participants' employment in this setting consisted of mass mailings or product assembly. Subjects worked in the same large workroom with different work supervisors at each table. Intervention took place in a separate area located 200-300 feet from the work area.
Study sample:  Experiment 1 sample was two women with a diagnosis of developmental intellectual disability, ages 48 and 26 respectively with work experience at the site of 18 years and 2 years respectively. Experiment 2 sample was one 57 year old man with Down syndrome with 4 years experience at the work cite.
Intervention:  Experiment 1: social stories written following an assessment of the participants' level of listening comprehension, and including photographs depicting subjects and their coworkers engage in work behaviors and supervisors showing approval. Social stories were created in book format with one or more photographs on each page. Intervention was delivered in the reading of a personalized social story for each participant. Observations were made 10 and 11 weeks after social story removal for subject 1; and 6, 9, 10 and 11 weeks after removal for subject two. The third subject's social story was a variance with third-person directive sentences, more sentences and less pictures per page. The third subject also received delivery of the Literacy Based Behavioral Intervention with intervention withdrawal and reintroduction.
Control or comparison condition:  Baseline data was collected on all three subjects. Baseline data was collected during daily break routines with typical levels of prompting from supervisors and co-workers with no intervention in place.
Data collection and analysis:  A partial interval recording system was used to collect data on peer interactions, work engagement and making a request. A 15 minute observation session was established.Multiple baseline was measured across subjects to examine the effects of the intervention on their requests for materials and supplies on the job and any resulting improvements in their work engagement. The second experiment employed a multiple baseline across time periods with an embedded ABAB design to assess the interventions effectiveness. In experiment two, two data systems were employed: The frequency of prompts given to the subject were recorded with a digital watch while two observers sat/stood several feet away from the subject to collect data.
Findings:  Results showed that individuals with developmental disabilities made substantial improvements in their work behavior as a result of the Literacy-Based Behavioral Intervention and similar improvements were shown in coworkers as well. Experiment one showed that interactions with coworkers (an interference in their work) reduced while work engagement increased. In experiment two results showed that an LBBI, structured to accommodate an employee's significant cognitive and language impairments can be useful for reducing prompt dependence and increasing a timely return to work.
Conclusions:  The results of this study are encouraging to the use of Literacy based behavioral outcomes including social stories to improve the behavior of adult employees with developmental disabilities. The results further show that adult coworkers with developmental disabilities, not engaged in the intervention but in close proximity to it, also experience positive effects of the intervention. LBBIs are an important contribution to instructional employment strategies for adult employees with developmental disabilities and further empirically based evidence will be useful to this end.

Disabilities served:  Developmental disabilities
Populations served:  Sub-minimum wage employees
Interventions:  Other
Outcomes:  Other