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03/01/2007

Comparison of Syntax Training for Students with Developmental Disabilities Utilizing Clinician-Directed Versus Self-Determined Session Paradigms


By: Jane O'Regan Kleinert, Lori Gonzalez, John W. Schuster, and Ruth Huebner

Abstract: The ability to make choices, plan, and self-evaluate are among the primary skills included in the development of self-determination. This study was designed to determine if a teaching paradigm, which incorporates key elements of self-determination, is as effective and more efficient in teaching syntax than a traditional, clinician-directed teaching paradigm for students with developmental disabilities. Two methods of syntax instruction were compared for four students with Down syndrome between the ages of 7 and 13 years using an Adapted Alternating Treatment (AAT) single subject design. Results of the study indicated that both the traditional clinician-directed approach (CD) and the self-determined approach (SD) were effective in teaching syntax targets, with all four students achieving criterion at an unexpectedly rapid rate and maintaining skills regardless of the teaching condition. The CD condition was slightly more efficient than the SD condition in achieving criterion for three of the four students in the study. Further investigation is needed, but a case might be made that including elements of self-determination in syntax training could justify the slight loss of efficiency, and does so without disrupting teaching effectiveness.
 
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