The Effects of Systematic Instruction in a Group Format to Teach Science to Students with Autism and Intellectual Disability

  • Anna Greene
  • Keri S. BethuneEmail author
Original Paper


Science content remains a commonly overlooked academic content area for students with severe disabilities, including ASD and ID, despite recent research. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of systematic instruction, such as prompting and fading techniques, implemented during whole-group science instruction for students with both ASD and ID. Three elementary-aged students with both ASD and ID were taught science content using systematic instruction provided during group lessons; effects were measured using a multiple baseline design across behaviors (i.e., science units) with concurrent replication across participants. Science content was taught to all three participants in group lessons using systematic instruction utilizing errorless prompting methods (i.e., constant time delay) and activities that are related to the unit content. Probes were used to determine baseline and intervention effects. The results demonstrated a functional relation for one participant with increased performing demonstrated for the remaining two participants, indicating that use of systematic instruction embedded within a group instructional format may be effective when teaching science content.


Autism Severe disabilities Intellectual disability Systematic instruction Group instruction Science Adapted curriculum General curriculum access 



This study was not funded by a grant.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Melmark New EnglandAndoverUSA
  2. 2.Melmark CarolinasCharlotteUSA

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