Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 585–593 | Cite as

The Effects of Covert Audio Coaching on Teaching Clerical Skills to Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Kyle D. BennettEmail author
  • Rangasamy Ramasamy
  • Toby Honsberger
Original Paper


Employment instruction for secondary students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has received very little attention in the professional literature. However, adults with ASD usually have difficulty maintaining employment for a variety of reasons, including problems with performing work tasks. This study used a multiple baseline design across participants to examine the effects of performance feedback on the participants’ ability to independently make photocopies. Feedback was delivered privately through a two-way radio and earbud speaker. The results support the conclusion that the intervention, covert audio coaching, was effective in increasing the participants’ accuracy in making photocopies. Specifically, participants demonstrated mastery of the skill within 4–5 sessions, and their improvements maintained for several weeks following intervention.


Autism spectrum disorder Transition and secondary special education Employment training Performance feedback Covert audio coaching 



The authors thank Danielle Doherty for assisting us with data collection throughout this project.


  1. Ayers, K., & Gast, D. L. (2010). Dependent measures and measurement procedures. In D. L. Gast (Ed.), Single subject research methodology in behavioral sciences (pp. 129–165). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Barbetta, P. M., Heward, W. L., Bradley, D. M., & Miller, A. D. (1994). Effects of immediate and delayed error correction on the acquisition and maintenance of sight words by students with developmental disabilities. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 27, 177–178. doi: 10.1901/jaba.1994.27-177.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baum, D. D., & Lane, J. R. (1976). An application of the “bug-in-the-ear” communication system for training psychometrists. Counselor Education and Supervision, 15, 309–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bennett, K. D., Brady, M. P., Scott, J., Dukes, C., & Frain, M. (2010). The effects of covert audio coaching on the job performance of supported employees. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 25(3), 173–185. doi: 10.1177/1088357610371636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bennett, K. D., & Dukes, C. (in press). Employment instruction for secondary students with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review of the literature. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities.Google Scholar
  6. Cimera, R. E., & Cowan, R. C. (2009). The costs of services and employment outcomes achieved by adults with autism in the US. Autism, 13(3), 285–302. doi: 10.1177/1362361309103791.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Person Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  8. Daniels, A. (1989). Performance management (3rd ed.). Tucker, GA: Performance Management Publications.Google Scholar
  9. Gast, D. L. (2010). General factors in measurement and evaluation. In D. L. Gast (Ed.), Single subject research methodology in behavioral sciences (pp. 91–109). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Gast, D. L., & Spriggs, A. D. (2010). Visual analysis of graphic data. In D. L. Gast (Ed.), Single subject research methodology in behavioral sciences (pp. 199–233). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Gerhardt, P. F., & Weiss, M. J. (2011). Behavior analytic interventions for adults with autism spectrum disorders. In E. A. Mayville & J. A. Mulick (Eds.), Behavioral foundations of effective autism treatment (pp. 217–232). Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY: Sloan Publishing, LLC.Google Scholar
  12. Goodman, J., Brady, M. P., Duffy, M. L., & Scott, J. (2008). The effects of “bug-in-ear” supervision on special education teachers’ delivery of learn units. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 23, 207–216. doi: 10.1177/1088357608324713.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hendricks, D. (2010). Employment and adults with autism spectrum disorders: Challenges and strategies for success. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 32, 125–134. doi: 10.3233/JVR-2010-0502.Google Scholar
  14. Hendricks, D. R., & Wehman, P. (2009). Transition from school to adulthood for youth with autism spectrum disorder: Review and recommendations. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 24(2), 77–88. doi: 10.1177/1088357608329827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Holmes, D. (2007). When the school bus stops coming: The employment dilemma for adults with autism. Autism Advocate, 1, 16–21.Google Scholar
  16. Horner, R. H., Carr, E. G., Halle, J., McGee, G., Odom, S., & Wolery, M. (2005). The use of single-subject research design to identify evidence-based practice in special education. Exceptional Children, 71(2), 165–179.Google Scholar
  17. Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, PL 108-446, 20 U.S.C. § 1400.Google Scholar
  18. Kazdin, A. E. (1982). Single-case research design: Methods for clinical and applied settings. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Korner, I. N., & Brown, W. H. (1952). The mechanical third ear. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 16(1), 81–84.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kratochwill, T. R., Hitchcock, J., Horner, R. H., Levin, J. R., Odom, S. L., Rindskopf, D. M., Shadish, W. R. (2010). What works clearinghouse. Retrieved Sep 25, 2011, from what works clearinghouse:
  21. MacDuff, G. S., Krantz, P. J., & McClannahan, L. E. (2001). Prompts and prompt-fading strategies for people with autism. In C. Maurice, G. Green, & R. M. Foxx (Eds.), Making a difference: Behavioral interventions for autism (pp. 37–50). Austin, TX: PRO-ED, Inc.Google Scholar
  22. Mechling, L. C., Gast, D. L., & Seid, N. H. (2009). Using a personal digital assistant to increase independent task completion by students with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39, 1420–1434. doi: 10.1007/s10803-009-0761-0.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Odom, S. L., Grantlinger, E., Gersten, R., Horner, R. H., Thompson, B., & Harris, K. R. (2005). Research in special education: Scientific methods and evidence-based practices. Exceptional Children, 71, 137–148.Google Scholar
  24. Parsons, M. B., Reid, D. H., Green, C. W., & Browning, L. B. (1999). Reducing individualized job coach assistance provided to persons with multiple severe disabilities in supported work. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 24, 292–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Price, A. T., Martella, R. C., Marchand-Martella, N. E., & Clenthous, C. C. (2002). A comparison of immediate feedback delivered via a FM headset versus delayed feedback on inappropriate verbalizations of a student wiht ADHD. Education and Treatment of Children, 25, 159–171.Google Scholar
  26. Rogan, P., Luecking, R., & Grossi, T. (2007). Preparing for meaningful adult lives through school and transition experiences. In P. M. Walker & P. Rogan (Eds.), Make the day matter! Promoting typical lifestyles for adults with significant disabilities (pp. 15–34). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  27. Targett, P. S., & Wehman, P. (2009). Integrated employment. In P. Wehman, M. Datlow Smith, & C. Schall (Eds.), Autism and the transition to adulthood: Success beyond the classroom (pp. 163–188). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  28. The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. (2009). Dignity through employment: 2009 Report to the President. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyle D. Bennett
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rangasamy Ramasamy
    • 2
  • Toby Honsberger
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Teaching and Learning, College of EducationFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Exceptional Student EducationFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA

Personalised recommendations