Donna L., age 22, was about to buy a cola drink. She stood by the coke machine, looked through the plastic window and tapped it. Her house parent came over and pulled out a handful of change. “Here, Donna, put some money in the machine.” Donna picked out one nickel, turned again to the machine. She stared at the machine, making no move to place the coin in the coin slot. The house parent said, “Watch me.” The house parent stood in front of the coke machine and, leaning on it with his left hand, tapped the coin slot with his right hand. Donna repeated the sequence. She leaned on the machine and tapped the coin slot. Still no coke. The task was formidable. The house parent took out a coin and then another and placed them in the coin slot. Donna watched. With assistance, she inserted the final nickel. The machine clicked, but still no coke. Donna looked again through the plastic door. The house parent held Donna’s hand and placed it over one of the choice buttons and guided it as Donna pushed it. A cup dropped down the slot and coke and ice filled the cup. Donna was excited. When it was filled, Donna bent over and again looked through the plastic door at the cup of coke. She reached for the coke but was blocked by the plastic door. The plastic door had the word “lift” on it, but Donna does not read. She has no expressive speech and the problem was another in a series, each too difficult.


Mental Retardation Adaptive Behavior Mental Deficiency Retarded Child Adaptive Behavior Scale 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1981

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  • Leif G. Terdal

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