Support Professionals and Students in the
Field of Developmental Disabilities

Journal on Developmental Disabilities

The Journal on Developmental Disabilities is a peer-reviewed journal with a growing regional and international readership.

Volume 18 Number 3 – General Issue


Building Capacity: Autism Ontario's Realize Community Potential Program
Kristen H. McFee, Jessica H. Schroeder, James M. Bebko, Marilyn Thompson, Margaret Spoelstra, Layne Verbeek, Karen Manuel, and Shona Casola

The Realize Community Potential (RCP) Program was developed to directly support parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through: greater access to information, direct contact between parents and Autism Ontario chapters, improved access to experts in local communities, and increased community-based learning opportunities for children with ASD. Several tools were developed to track chapter activities and to evaluate the capacity of the program to meet stated objectives. There was a substantial increase in the number of chapter events offered since the inception of the RCP program. Event topics of most interest to families included: behaviour, followed by social skills development, and communication. The average number of calls to RCP chapters per month has greatly increased since the program started. The majority of families contacted the chapter via email, reflecting a change in the dynamics of how families are communicating with professionals. The most common reasons for contacting chapters were: knowledge of Autism Ontario activities and resources, school-related issues, and community services. This research is important in identifying the effective components of the RCP program to guide future program development and allocation of funding resources.

Use of Mobile Technologies by Young Adults Living with an Intellectual Disability: A Collaborative Action Research Study
Ann-Louise Davidson

This article discusses the application of collaborative action research to the use of iPods by a small group of adults with an intellectual disability (ID) who were receiving services from a governmental program. The research was aimed at developing abilities to become autonomous using videos with mobile computing devices. We produced instructional videos, which we uploaded onto iPods. The iPods were lent to the young adults with ID for a period of ten weeks, to try to develop abilities needed for autonomous living such as cooking, using a stove, using a washing machine and keeping oneself safe. In this paper, we present the results of focus groups conducted at the end of the collaborative action research during which participants voiced their opinion about the project and revealed their true interests with regards to mobile technologies. Furthermore, this article offers reflections about the action research project and identifies directions for further research.

Evaluation of a Self-Instructional Package for Teaching Tutors to Conduct Discrete-Trials Teaching with Children with Autism
Jade Wightman, Ashley Boris, Kendra Thomson, Garry L. Martin, Daniela Fazzio, and C.T. Yu

We used a modified multiple-baseline design across pairs of newly hired tutors to examine the effectiveness of a self-instruction package for teaching them to conduct discrete-trials teaching (DTT) to a confederate role-playing a child with autism. During Baseline, DTT skills were assessed while participants taught three tasks to the confederate. They then completed a training package that included a self-instructional manual, video demonstrations, and self-practice. During Post-training, participants were assessed while they taught the same three tasks to the confederate. Participants required an average of 3 hours and 56 minutes to master the manual, and DTT accuracy increased from 46.2% to 85.5%. One participant took part in a generalization phase with a child with autism, and her DTT accuracy averaged 80.1%. The results suggest that the self-instructional package is an effective tool for teaching newly hired tutors to conduct DTT with a confederate role-playing a child with autism

Effects of Discrimination Abilities on Functional Analysis Outcomes
Ashley Greenwald, Holly Seniuk, and W. Larry Williams

This study evaluated the extent to which conditional discrimination abilities affected a participant's differential responding during a multi-element analogue functional analysis (FA). The Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA) was conducted with each participant prior to the FA to determine his or her discrimination ability. A brief FA was conducted with eight participants and responses were recorded during conditions with and without the inclusion of programmed discriminative stimuli (SDs). Results indicated that all participants able to make a conditional discrimination, as assessed by the ABLA, demonstrated differential responding during the FA whereas two of the four participants unable to make conditional discriminations showed differential responding. Results also indicated that the inclusion of programmed SDs facilitated discrimination for the majority of the participants who were able to make a conditional discrimination and did not affect the responding of the participants who could not make the conditional discrimination. It was concluded that individuals who were unable to make conditional discriminations are less likely to show differentiated results in a functional analysis and the inclusion of programmed SDs may not aid in discrimination between conditions for these individuals.


Brief Reports

Parents' Perception of Progress Versus Children's Actual Progress in Intensive Behavioural Intervention
Ksusha Blacklock, Odette Weiss, Adrienne Perry, and Nancy Freeman

Parents perceptions of their child's progress in Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) are important because they may affect parental involvement and selection of intervention. A previous study by our team found that the vast majority of parents have a positive perception of progress in IBI and that parents are seeing changes across a range of domains. The current study explored parents perceptions about their child's progress in IBI and compared these perceptions to the child's actual progress on standardized measures. The participants included 27 children enrolled in the Toronto Partnership for Autism Services (TPAS) IBI program. We found that most parents had positive feelings about their child's progress in IBI. However, these perceptions were not significantly related to children's actual progress.

Reliability of the York Measure of Quality of IBI
Shauna Whiteford, Ksusha Blacklock, and Adrienne Perry

The York Measure of Quality of Intensive Behavioural Intervention (YMQI) is an observational measure designed to assess the quality of Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) provided to children with autism, based on videos of 1-to-1 teaching sessions. This study examined various measures of reliability of the YMQI, including scale reliability and inter-observer agreement, as well as the potential of observer drift over time. Inter-observer agreement was very high, and reliability was consistent over time. Internal consistency was moderately good, while specific item-total correlations were variable.

Planning Practices in Ontario's Developmental Services Agencies
Lynn Martin, Melody Ashworth, and Helene Ouellette-Kuntz

Planning that is based on what is important to the individual has become common practice across service sectors, though much variability exists in how that planning is done. This study aimed to better understand planning practices in Ontario's developmental services agencies. An online survey of 156 agencies conducted during the autumn of 2011 revealed that a variety of planning-related tools are used, including some developed by the agencies. Further, most agencies tended to use a blended approach, in that they used several tools or aspects of several tools when planning for a single individual. The findings suggest that in Ontario, planning approaches are often individualized and developed or adapted by the agencies.