Abstract Studies on improving problem behavior rates of

Abstract            The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effects ofSocial Studies on improving problem behavior rates of two young childrenwithout disabilities in the general education classroom using a multiplebaseline across participate design.  Theresults of this paper will indicate that Social Stories were effective indecreasing problem behaviors for both of the participants.

Keywords:Challenging Behaviors; Social StoriesIntroduction            The concept of social stories wasintroduced by Gray and Garand (1993) to decrease problem behaviors in childrenwith autism.  Social Stories areindividualized short stories that can be used to help individuals to interpretand understand challenging or confusing social situations, to help understandthat other people have perspectives that may differ from their own, and toaddress problem behaviors (Gray, 1997).  Theyare written for an individual to provide a script for that individual to besuccessful in a specific situation or setting.

 Social stories are an individualized short story written to describe asituation, specific activity, and the behavior expectations associated withthat activity (Gray & Garand, 1993). Social stories are used to enhance an individual’s understanding ofsocial situations and teach expected behaviors in a given setting.  In essence, Social Stories become a “how to”story for initiating, responding to, and maintaining appropriatebehaviors.  Social stories serve avariety of purposes, and they have shown to help children in the generaleducation classroom with problem behaviors.            Social stories have used as asuccessful intervention for a variety of challenging behaviors, but much of theresearch has been specific to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  This research includes behaviors such asscreaming, crying, and hitting which have all been targeted with some success(Adams, Gouvousis, VanLue, and Waldron, 2004).

 Agosta, Graetz, Mastropieri, and Scruggs (2004) reported thatparticipants in their study demonstrated a decrease in challenging behaviorssuch as loud screaming, humming, yelling, and other distracting verbalbehaviors during class activities through the use of social stories. Adams,Gouvousis, VanLue, and Waldron (2004) found that social story was an effectiveintervention on decreasing the challenging aggressive behaviors in a reversalcase study design.  Topils and Hadwin (2006) assessed the effective use ofsocial stories with children who do not have autism spectrum disorder, but whodemonstrate challenging behavior within the school setting.  The study found that social stories were aneffective intervention for three out of the five students.

   These three students demonstratedperspective – taking difficulties relative to their age.  This difficulty is referred to as “theory ofmind”.  Theory of mind is an individual’sability to understand another person’s knowledge, beliefs, emotions, andintentions and using that understanding to navigate social situations.             Other research has demonstrated muchless success in the use of social stories, Watts (2008) used social stories asan intervention to decrease challenging behaviors of six participants diagnosedwith autism spectrum disorder.  In thiscase, the results reported that the social study story only worked for one ofthe six participants.

It was also reported that there was no significantdecrease in the amount or duration of the challenging behaviors as a result ofthe social study intervention for the remaining participants.  Graetz (2003) reported similar results in hisresearch in that the social story intervention was successful in decreaseschallenging behaviors in some participants, but did not demonstrate any affecton the challenging behaviors other participants.  The review of literature on the use of socialstories has some limitations.  Some ofthe research has used social stories in addition to other intervention strategies.

  These intervention strategies were usuallyverbal and physical prompts (Swaggart, et al, 1995; Scattone, Wilczynski,Edwards, and Rabian, 2002).Method            Two five-year-old boys will participate in thisstudy.  The boys attend kindergarten at apublic elementary school with 576 students. There are thirteen kindergarten classes with an average of 24 studentsper classroom.  Both students are in thesame kindergarten classroom. To ensure confidentiality for both boys, theparticipants names and any other identifiable information will be changed forthis study.  They will have thefictitious names, “Brian and Alex”. The boys demonstrate significantly moreaggressive behaviors than their same aged peers within the classroom and allschool settings.

  Aggressive behaviors willbe defined as hitting, pushing, pulling at other’s clothes, body, and hair, kicking,throwing objects, and spitting. Both boys test average to high averageacademically.  They are both withinnormal limits on their hearing and vision screenings completed in November2017. ProcedureTraining            The boys’ teacher (Chelsey Hawkinsis the teacher of both boys) and three additional general educationparaprofessionals will be trained on the appropriate use of socialstories.

  The paraprofessionals are onduty when both boys are at lunch and during lunch recess, and one of theparaprofessionals is in the general education kindergarten classroom. These arepotentially difficult settings and times for both boys. Both the teacher andparaprofessional will review the training materials developed by Gary(2000).  The teacher will be familiarizedwith social story examples and the purpose of the social stories.  She will have a specific guide to follow on theimplementation procedures outlined in this study.

  Preference AssessmentsA Multi-stimuluswithout replacement preference assessment will be used to determine preferreditems.  Chazin and Ledford, 2016 suggestthat the teacher follow the following procedure in implementing amulti-stimulus without replacement preference assessment. An array of itemswill be placed in front of each boy. The teacher will allow him to select oneitem from the array.  The item will beremoved from the array once it is selected. It is considered a trial each timethe array is presented to the boy.

The trials are repeated until there are noitems left in the array (Chazin and Ledford, 2016).  The items that each boy selects first duringhis trials will be considered his most preferred item of the array.  Any items that each boy refuses to choosewill be considered his least preferred items. The teacher will rotate the items after each trial.

  In addition, the teacher will use a variety of preferences. In addition, theteacher will also provide each boy a variety of both preferred andnon-preferred items to confirm that each boy is making choices based on his ownpreference (Chazin and Ledford, 2016). Table 1 will provide the exact directions for this procedure. Before beginning, you should collect the following materials: Data collection sheet An array of 5-7 bite-sized edible items or 5-7 toys Sit across from the child at a table or on the floor. Place all items in a straight line within the child’s reach, in order by assigned letter. If the child is unable to wait until your task direction to make a selection, block view of the items with a large book or clipboard.

Lift the book or clipboard (if you are blocking the child’s view), and give the task direction, “Pick one” or “Which one do you want?” If the child reaches for more than one item, block access to both items, and repeat the task direction, “Pick one” or “Pick one for now. We’ll pick another one next.” Allow the child to consume the edible item or play with the toy. Block access to the remaining stimuli during this interim. While the child is consuming the edible or playing with the toy, move the leftmost item over to the rightmost position.

This will allow you to detect if the child is only choosing from one side. If you are using toys, remove the chosen toy after 15-30 s and put it out of sight. If you are using edibles, wait until the child has finished the edible, and don’t replace it in the array. Thus, for every trial, you will have one less item available than in the previous trial. Repeat steps 4-7 until there are no items left in the array, or until the child refuses to make any further selections.

Chazin and Ledford, 2016                                 Table 1Functional Assessments            Teacher will make direct observationsof the boys targeted behavior to develop and support her hypothesis on thefunction of the behavior. The observational data on the boys’ targetedbehaviors will be collected using an Antecedent – Behavior – Consequence chartto record descriptive information about the boys’ behavior in the generaleducation classroom, at recess, when transitioning between environments, andduring their lunch.  The data will likelyshow that the boys’ aggressive behavior is being maintained by attention frompeers.  For both boys’, the data willalso show that the boys’ targeted behavior is most likely to occur innon-structured settings with peers throughout the school.             The brief Functional analysis (Pane,Sidener, and Nigudkar, 2015) including attention, access to a tangible, anddemand conditions will be conducted in a fixed – order sequence (Hammond,Iwata, Rooker, Fritz, and Bloom, 2013).  Eachcondition will be 8 minutes with 1 minute between each session.

During theaccess to the tangible condition, the boys will have unlimited access to theirpreferred item no attention or demand will be made of either boy during thistime.  The preferred item will bedetermined using a multiple – stimulus without replacement preferenceassessment.              During the attention condition, theboys will be given the verbal statement “I have papers to correct.

  You can play with these items.”  The boys’ will be given access to preferreditems, but not the most preferred item used in the tangible condition.  If the targeted behavior occurs during thistime, the teacher will turn towards the boy and provide him with verbalattention for 10 seconds. During the control condition, the teacher willprovide the boys’ access to another highly preferred item (second choice inMSWO).

  The teacher will provide everattention every 20 seconds as long as the target behavior does not occur for 5seconds.                  A brief functional assessment willbe performed with both boys.  It willinclude Design            This study will use an ABC and multiple – baselineacross participants design.

  In thisdesign, the intervention order will be offset across the participants andtrials will be repeated for each participant during the intervention.  After the baseline phase (A), a social storyindividualized for each boy will be implemented.  The social stories will be the intervention(B).  During the C phase, the socialstory will be removed, and the intervention will be continued with a neutralbook.

  The neutral book will be an ageappropriate book of similar length and size to that of the social story.  Benish and Bramlett (2011) used a similiardesign in their study.  They suggestedthat by reversing the order of treatments, it would allow for greater controlover the extraneous factors that threatened the validity in their study.  These factors included added attention to thechild gets while reading the story, maturation, testing, and history.

  In doing this, one of the boys will havephases B and C reversed (ACB).

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