E-coaching Preschool Teachers to Use Simultaneous Prompting to Teach Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Countries: 
Published: 
2020

Source: Teacher Education and Special Education, Volume 44 Issue 3, 1 –19

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this study was twofold:
(a) to determine whether e-coaching is effective in teaching the simultaneous prompting (SP) procedure to preschool teachers (PTs) who have students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) included in their classrooms, and
(b) to determine the effects of the SP procedure in teaching academic skills to preschool students with ASD in general education (GE) classrooms.
Maintenance and generalization of the acquired skills in teachers and students also were examined.
Moreover, opinions of PTs regarding the social validity of e-coaching and the SP procedure were investigated in the study.

Method

Participants
Four PTs and four students with ASD from a local public preschool in Central Turkey participated in this study.
Researchers, school principals, and potential PTs suggested by the principals and working with students with special needs had a meeting to share the research plan to identify the volunteer teachers.

Research staff - The first researcher, a doctoral student in special education (SE), conducted all sessions, collected and analyzed data, and provided ecoaching to the PTs.
The second researcher, the doctoral student’s advisor, had a PhD in SE, held the rank of full professor at a local university in Central Turkey, and had more than 25 years of experience as a researcher.
Another doctoral student in SE collected the reliability data.

Settings and Materials

Settings for teachers - All experimental sessions took place in classrooms in one-on-one instructional arrangements.
Both probe and training sessions took place two or three times a week depending on classroom routines.

Materials for teachers - During baseline and generalization sessions, the PTs used various materials (i.e., picture book of fruits and plastic fruits to teach names of fruits; play dough, watercolors, coloring books, and finger paints to teach colors; masks and cards to teach facial expressions; and colorful cubes and a chalkboard with chalk) to teach adverbs of places such as in, on, and under.
They also used tablet computers, tripods, and data collection forms to record data from their sessions and uploaded them onto a website to self-monitor their teaching and obtain feedback through ecoaching.
A camera, a tripod, and data collection forms were used to record all sessions.

Experimental Design
A multiple baseline design across the teacher– student dyads documented the effectiveness of the web-based PD with ecoaching to train the PTs to implement the SP procedure in teaching discrete skills to students with ASD, as well as the effects of the SP procedure on student outcomes.
When the dependent variable increased only after the independent variable was implemented in a time-lagged manner, experimental control was established (Tekin-Iftar et al., 2017).

Dependent and Independent Variables
There were two dependent variables in the study: (a) the ability of the PTs to use the SP procedure accurately to teach discrete skills to their students with ASD, and (b) student acquisition of the discrete target behaviors (i.e., naming occupations for Deniz and pointing to the occupation card for Ali, Gizem, and Can) from their preschool education curriculum (PEC). The researchers modified the task analysis developed by Tekin-Iftar et al. (2017) to record the PTs’ instructional behaviors during sessions.

Results and discussion
Ecoaching was effective in preparing PTs to use the SP procedure accurately, and the students acquired targeted discrete skills from their curriculum.
Also, both the PTs and the students maintained their acquired skills over time.
Furthermore, almost 6 months later, the first researcher visited the school again to determine whether teachers maintained the steps of the SP procedure. Ms. Ezgi, Ms. Duygu, and Mr. Mete performed the SP procedure 100% correctly.
Moreover, the teachers also generalized the use of the SP procedure in teaching new and different discrete skills to their students, and the students generalized the acquired discrete skills across new materials.
Last but not least, the social validity findings of the study were encouraging because the PTs found ecoaching helpful and effective, planned to use the SP procedure in the future with their students, and explained that they would attend online PD training to learn new strategies during their career.
The findings of this study showed that exposure to the SP procedure during ecoaching was effective during acquisition and maintenance of the steps of the SP procedure, generalization of the acquired steps, and that SP was effective in teaching discrete skills to students with ASD.
These findings provide the groundwork for preparing PTs who currently serve students with ASD to use other EBPs as well as the SP procedure.
These findings encourage the authors in providing web-based PD, including ecoaching to PTs on an ongoing basis as this would be a valuable and efficient option for supporting teachers in providing quality teaching in inclusive classrooms because the teachers were able to use the SP procedure with a high degree of accuracy in their classrooms after having online training at their own pace.
These findings are particularly valuable for countries and geographic regions where there is a shortage of SE teachers, where the areas are large, and where the financial resources are limited.
Countries and regions with these kinds of shortages and limitations should develop well-designed web-based PD opportunities on an ongoing basis to support teachers as well as students with ASD and other disabilities.
These findings also were validated in the social validity component of the study as all the PTs found the PD process to be informative, useful, and user-friendly, and shared their intent to participate in similar web-based PD opportunities in the future to learn new strategies and to use the SP procedure with their students in the future.
The SP procedure delivered by PTs was effective in teaching discrete skills to preschool students with ASD.
The students not only acquired their target skills but also maintained them over time and generalized them across materials.
These results are consistent with previous studies (e.g., Tekin-Iftar et al., 2017; Tekin-Iftar & Olcay-Gul, 2016); therefore, it could be that this study adds to the current literature in terms of the effects of the SP procedure on acquisition, maintenance, and generalization.
The findings of this study also show that as soon as the teachers started to deliver instruction with the SP procedure, there were immediate improvements in the target behaviors in two students (i.e., Can and Deniz) and moderate improvement in two students (i.e., Ali and Gizem).
Finally, they learned their target skills with 100% accuracy.
These findings are encouraging and confirm the importance of PD in schools in providing instruction on the SP procedure.

References
Tekin-Iftar, E., Collins, B. C., Spooner, F., & OlcayGul, S. (2017). Coaching teachers to use a simultaneous prompting procedure to teach core content to students with autism. Teacher Education and Special Education, 40(3), 225– 245.
Tekin-Iftar, E., & Olcay-Gul, S. (2016). Increasing instructional efficiency when using simultaneous prompting procedure in teaching academic skills to students with autism spectrum disorders. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 9(2), 451–472. https://www.iejee.com/index.php/IEJEE/article/view/169 

Updated: Feb. 27, 2022
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