Improving the Paragraph Text-Writing Skills of Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: A Single-Case Design Study

Abstract

Research suggests that students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) struggle to develop writing skills. Paragraph text writing is a component of written expression and refers to the composition of connected text into multiple, related sentences of appropriate semantics, spelling, syntax, and usage (e.g., capitalization and punctuation). In the present study, we investigated the effects of a multicomponent intervention of explicit instruction and fluency practice on the paragraph text-writing skills of four secondary-aged individuals with IDD. We used a multiple-probe across participants design and measured paragraph text-writing with correct and incorrect writing sequences. Visual analysis and effect sizes revealed mixed results: Three participants showed improvement in the accuracy and/or speed of their paragraph text-writing, but one participant showed no improvement. We discuss the results of the study within the context of the writing intervention literature and instructional procedures for developing writing fluency.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. Allen, A. A., Poch, A. L., & Lembke, E. S. (2018). An exploration of alternative scoring methods using curriculum-based measurement in early writing. Learning Disability Quarterly, 41(2), 85–99. https://doi.org/10.1177/0731948717725490.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Anderson, D. M., & Keel, M. C. (2002). Using “reasoning and writing” to teach writing skills to students with learning disabilities and behavioral disorders. Journal of Direct Instruction, 2(1), 49–55.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Archer, A., & Hughes, C. (2011). Explicit instruction: Efficient and effective teaching. New York, NY: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Asaro-Saddler, K., & Saddler, B. (2010). Planning instruction and self-regulation training: Effects on writers with autism spectrum disorders. Exceptional Children, 77(1), 107–124. https://doi.org/10.1177/001440291007700105.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Berninger, V. W., Abbott, R. D., Augsburger, A., & Garcia, N. (2009). Comparison of pen and keyboard transcription modes in children with and without learning difficulties. Learning Disability Quarterly, 32(3), 123–141. https://doi.org/10.2307/27740364.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Cohen, J. (1968). Weighted kappa: Nominal scale agreement provision for scaled disagreement or partial credit. Psychological Bulletin, 70(4), 213–220. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0026256.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Datchuk, S. M. (2016). Writing simple sentences and descriptive paragraphs: Effects of an intervention on adolescents with writing difficulties. Journal of Behavioral Education, 25(2), 166–188. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10864-015-9236-x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Datchuk, S. M. (2017). A direct instruction and precision teaching intervention to improve the sentence construction of middle school students with writing difficulties. The Journal of Special Education, 51(2), 62–71. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022466916665588.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Datchuk, S., Kubina, R. M., & Mason, L. H. (2015). Teaching simple sentence construction with acquisition and frequency building to a performance criterion to students with learning disabilities. Exceptionality, 23, 34–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Datchuk, S. M., & Rodgers, D. B. (2019). Text writing within simple sentences: A writing fluency intervention for students with high-incidence disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 34(1), 23–34. https://doi.org/10.1111/ldrp.12185.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Dolch, E. W. (1936). A basic sight vocabulary. The Elementary School Journal, 36(6), 456–460.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Gargiulo, R. M., & Bouck, E. C. (2018). Special education in contemporary society: An introduction to exceptionality (6th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Graham, S. (2018). A revised writer(s)-within-community model of writing. Educational Psychology, 53(4), 258-279. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2019.1481406.

  14. Graham, S., Capizzi, A., Harris, K. R., Hebert, M., & Morphy, P. (2014). Teaching writing to middle school students: A national survey. Reading and Writing, 27, 1015–1042.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Graham, S., Collins, A. A., & Rigby-Wills, H. (2017). Writing characteristics of students with learning disabilities and typically achieving peers: A meta-analysis. Exceptional Children, 83(2), 199–218. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-013-9495-7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Graham, S., Fishman, E. J., Reid, R., & Hebert, M. (2016). Writing characteristics of students with attention deficits hyperactive disorder: A meta-analysis. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 31(2), 75–89. https://doi.org/10.1111/ldrp.12099.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Hier, B. O., Eckert, T. L., & Viney, E. A. (2018). Generalization and maintenance effects of writing fluency intervention strategies for elementary-age students: A randomized controlled trial. School Psychological Review, 48(4), 377–382. https://doi.org/10.17105/SPR-2017-0123.V48-4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Hosp, J. L., Hensley, K., Huddle, S. M., & Ford, J. W. (2014). Using curriculum-based measures with postsecondary students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 35(4), 247–257.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Hosp, M. K., Hosp, J. L., & Howell, K. W. (2016). The ABCs of CBM: A practical guide to curriculum-based measurement (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Kaufman, A. S., & Kaufman, N. L. (2004). Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (2nd ed.). Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Services.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Kazdin, A. E. (2011). Single-case research designs: Methods for clinical and applied settings (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Kiuhara, S. A., Graham, S., & Hawken, L. S. (2009). Teaching writing to high school students: A national survey. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(1), 136–160. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0013097.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Kim, Y. S. G., Gatlin, B., Al Otaiba, S., & Wanzek, J. (2018). Theorization and an empirical investigation of the component-based and developmental text writing fluency construct. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 51(4), 320–335. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022219417712016.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. Kubina, R. M., Amato, J., Schwilk, C. L., & Therrien, W. J. (2008). Comparing performance standards on the retention of words read correctly per minute. Journal of Behavioral Education, 17(4), 328–338. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10864-008-9071-4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Kubina, R. M., & Yurich, K. K. L. (2012). The precision teaching book. Lemont, PA: Greatness Achieved.

  26. Ledford, J. R., & Gast, D. L. (2014). Measuring procedural fidelity in behavioral research. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 24(3-4), 332–348. https://doi.org/10.1080/09602011.2013.861352.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Menyuk, P., & Quill, K. (1985). Semantic problems in autistic children. In E. Schopler & G. B. Mesibov (Eds.), Communication problems in autism (pp. 127–145). New York: Plenum.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Monroe, B. W., & Troia, G. A. (2006). Teaching writing strategies to middle school students with disabilities. The Journal of Educational Research, 100(1), 21–33. https://doi.org/10.32000/JOER.100.1.21-33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. National Governors Association and Council of Chief School Officers. (2010). Common Core State Standards. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org

  30. Neubert, D., & Redd, V. (2008). Transition services for students with intellectual disabilities: A case study of a public school program on a community college campus. Exceptionality, 16(4), 220–234. https://doi.org/10.1080/09362830802412265.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Parker, D. C., Dickey, B. N., Burns, M. K., & McMaster, K. L. (2012). An application of brief experimental analysis with early writing. Journal of Behavioral Education, 21, 329–349. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10864-012-9151-3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Parker, R. I., Vannest, K. J., Davis, J. L., & Sauber, S. B. (2011). Combining nonoverlap and trend analysis for single-case research: Tau-U. Behavior Therapy, 42(2), 284–299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2010.08.006.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  33. Richards, S., Brady, M., & Taylor, R. (2015). Cognitive and intellectual disabilities (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Ritchey, K. D., McMaster, K. L., Al Otaiba, S., Puranik, C. S., Kim, Y. G., Parker, D. C., & Ortiz, M. (2016). Indicators of Fluent Writing in Beginning Writers. In K. D. Cummings & Y. Petscher (Eds.), The fluency construct: Curriculum-based measurement concept and applications. New York, NY: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Swanson, E., Wanzek, J., Haring, C., Ciullo, S., & McCulley, L. (2013). Intervention fidelity in special and general education research journals. The Journal of Special Education, 47(1), 3–13. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022466911419516.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Therrien, W. J. (2004). Fluency and comprehension gains as a result of repeated reading. Remedial and Special Education, 25(4), 252–261. https://doi.org/10.1177/074193250402500040801.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Troia, G. A., Shen, M., & Brandon, D. L. (2019). Multidimensional levels of language writing measures in grades four to six. Written Communication, 36(2), 231–266. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088318819473.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Vannest, K. J., & Ninci, J. (2015). Evaluating intervention effects in single-case research designs. Journal of Counseling & Development, 93(4), 403–411. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcad.12038.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Vannest, K. J., Parker, R. I., Gonen, O., & Adiguzel, T. (2016). Single case research: Web based calculators for SCR analysis. (Version 2.0). College Station, TX: Texas A&M University. Retrieved from: http://www.singlecaseresearch.org/calculators

  40. Viel-Ruma, K., Houchins, D. E., Jolivette, K., Fredrick, L. D., & Gama, R. (2010). Direct instruction in written expression: The effects on English speakers and English language learners with disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 25(2), 97–108. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5826.2010.00307.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Walker, B., Shippen, M. E., Alberto, P., Houchins, D. E., & Cihak, D. F. (2005). Using the Expressive Writing program to improve the writing skills of high school students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 20(3), 175–183. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5826.2005.00131.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Wilson, J., Roscoe, R., & Ahmed, Y. (2017). Automated formative writing assessment using a levels of language framework. Assessing Writing, 34, 16–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asw.2017.08.002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Woods-Groves, S., Alqahtani, S. S., Balint-Langel, K., & Kern, A. (2018). Electronic essay writing with postsecondary students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 53(3), 311–324.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Derek B. Rodgers.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics Approval

This research project was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Iowa.

Consent to Participate

Informed consent was obtained from participants’ legal guardians, and assent was obtained from participants.

Consent to Publish

The authors affirm that human research participants provided informed consent for publication.

Electronic supplementary material

ESM 1

(DOCX 63 kb)

ESM 2

(PDF 50 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rodgers, D.B., Datchuk, S.M. Improving the Paragraph Text-Writing Skills of Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: A Single-Case Design Study. Educ. Treat. Child. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43494-020-00029-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Text writing
  • Writing fluency
  • Explicit instruction
  • Correct writing sequences