Mediating Access to Headsprout® Early Reading for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Abstract

Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) require instructional programs that simultaneously address academic content, interfering behavior, and potential gaps in prerequisite skills for a given curriculum. This study examined the impact of an intervention package consisting of contingent reinforcement and match-to-sample training on the independent progression of 3 children with ASD through Headsprout® Early Reading (HER), a behavior analytic online reading program. A multiple probe across participants design was used to examine the effects of the intervention package on participants’ correct interactions per minute and total episodes completed. Transfer of training to oral reading of companion print books was also assessed. All participants demonstrated an increase in correct interactions per minute. Two participants learned to independently complete a HER episode each day and could orally read companion print books. The results suggest individualized behavior analytic programs can support the use of HER as a computer-based reading program for some children with ASD.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the College of Education and the Institute for Research in Autism, Intellectual, and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at Michigan State University. The authors would like to thank the students and classroom personnel who participated in this research study.

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Correspondence to Joshua B. Plavnick.

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Plavnick, J.B., Thompson, J.L., Englert, C.S. et al. Mediating Access to Headsprout® Early Reading for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Behav Educ 25, 357–378 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10864-015-9244-x

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Computer-assisted instruction
  • Headsprout® Early Reading