THE USE OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN THE TREATMENT OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER
The incidence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is increasing. Today a child with autism accounts for one in every 150 births and it is the fastest growing developmental disability based on rates 2 – 6 per 1,000 births (CDC, 2007). Numerous studies have been undertaken to describe clinical and educational interventions, including assistive technology, for children with autism spectrum disorder. However, few have studied the impact of instructional technology. The research is a multiple year exploratory single case study with embedded units of analysis. The classroom is the case and each student is an embedded subunit of the case. The design and method of the case study draws heavily from the work of Patton (1987) and Yin (1984, & 2008). The purpose of the study is to explore if newly implemented technology, interactive white boards, is having an affect on the cognitive, language and social development of students, grades 3 – 5, with autism spectrum disorder enrolled in an intermediate full time exceptional student education class in Sarasota, Florida.
Seven of eight students (one female and six male students ranging in age from 8 years 7 months to 11 years 8 months including two ELL students) diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, were observed in an intermediate full time class for students with autism spectrum disorder. Individual students and the whole class observations began January 2009 and will conclude May 2011. Data was collected using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Methods of data collection included classroom observations and video, review of student records, semi-structured interviews with the classroom teacher and speech and language pathologist, and PDD Behavior Inventory (PDDBI). Observations occurred weekly for approximately one- to two-hour durations during math, language arts, group speech/language therapy sessions and whole group classroom activities without the use of the technology. Students were video taped documenting their social and academic interactions in the classroom during whole group and small group instruction using the interactive white board technology.
During this session the presenters will share their preliminary research findings. Video will demonstrate how sound, video, web sites, text manipulatives, and other instructional resources are embedded into electronic flip charts providing students with multiple opportunities to be actively engaged and their engagement with the technology. The researchers will discuss their preliminary findings on students’ social and communicative behaviors. Specifically, the researchers observed and recorded students on task, sharing and taking turns, and increased wait time behaviors. Second, observational data revealed students’ positive interaction and communication behaviors were more prevalent while engaged in lessons using the interactive white board as compared to their behaviors while not interacting with the interactive white board.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2007. Retrieved August 31, 2008 from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism
Patton, M. (1987). Qualitative research & evaluation methods, 3rd Edition. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.
Yin, R. (1984). Case study research: Design and methods. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.
Yin, R. (2008). Case study research: Design and methods. 4th Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.