Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Bennett, Kyle D.; Ramasamy, Rangasamy; Honsberger, Toby (2013). The effects of covert audio coaching on teaching clerical skills to adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43 (3), 585-593.
Title:  The effects of covert audio coaching on teaching clerical skills to adolescents with autism spectrum disorder
Authors:  Bennett, Kyle D.; Ramasamy, Rangasamy; Honsberger, Toby
Year:  2013
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publisher:  Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Full text:    |   PDF   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No

Structured abstract:

Background:  Employment instruction for secondary students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has received very little attention in the professional literature. However, adults with ASD usually have difficulty maintaining employment for a variety of reasons, including problems with performing work tasks.
Purpose:  To examine the effects of covert audio coaching (CAC) on the employment skill development of secondary students with ASD. Two research questions were posed, including: 1. Will CAC be effective in improving the employment skills of secondary students with ASD? 2. If the CAC strategy is effective, will the results maintain once the intervention is removed?
Setting:  The study was conducted in the school’s faculty work- room. There were computers, tables, chairs, laminating equipment, faculty and staff mailboxes, and a copy machine in the workroom. This room was routinely accessible to students practicing vocational skills.
Study sample:  Three high school students with ASD. The participants attended a school exclusively designed for secondary students with ASD. Each participant was working toward a special diploma and instruction in daily living and employment skills comprised a substantial portion of their curriculum.
Intervention:  The employment skill selected for each participant was making photocopies. The dependent variable was the percentage of task steps completed correctly. A task analysis of the skill was conducted and consisted of 10 steps. This task analysis included additional steps to train the participants in a system that would allow independent completion of a copy job. The ten step task analysis repeated for each copy job that was available for that session, ranging from 3 to 6 jobs per session. The independent variable was performance feedback delivered through CAC. Performance feedback consisted of support statements, antecedent prompts, and correction statements.
Control or comparison condition:  N/A
Data collection and analysis:  Data were collected among three observers. These included (a) the first author, an assistant professor of special edu- cation; (b) the second author, a professor of special edu- cation; and (c) a graduate student in counseling with an emphasis in ABA. Practice coding on each variable was conducted prior to baseline and continued until at least 85 % agreement was obtained. For the dependent variable, an observer recorded the correct and incorrect steps of the task analysis. These data were then converted to percentage of steps correct by dividing the number correct by the number correct plus the number incorrect and then multiplying by 100. Data were also collected on the independent variable by recording each instance a coaching statement was given. A ‘‘S’’ was recorded for support statements, an ‘‘AP’’ was recorded for antecedent prompts, and a ‘‘C’’ was recorded for correction statements.
Findings:  The intervention, covert audio coaching, was effective in increasing the participants’ accuracy in making photocopies. Specifically, participants demonstrated mastery of the skill within 4–5 sessions, and their improvements maintained for several weeks following intervention.
Conclusions:  CAC was effective in increasing the participants accuracy in making photocopies. In the gure, additional studies are needed to replicate these findings with other individuals with ASD, with this particular clerical skill, and with other employment skills potentially amendable to CAC, with examining maintenance for more extensive periods. Subsequent studies might also examine the combined use of traditional, side-by-side, coaching with CAC.

Disabilities served:  Autism / ASD
Populations served:  Transition-age youth (14 - 24)
Interventions:  Assistive technology
Compensatory strategies
Vocational rehabilitation