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Educating Children with Autism
at the time of each appointment are also viewed as a source of data that is used to monitor child progress.
The Denver Model uses an instrument called the Early Intervention Profile and Preschool Profile (Schafer and Moersch, 1981), which is completed by teachers. More objective measures of child progress were also obtained from systematic scoring of videotaped vignettes of a child in play interactions with teachers and parents (Rogers et al., 1986). The Play Observation Schedule was used to rate the developmental level of a child’s play.
The traditional behavioral programs (Children’s Unit, Douglass, Young Autism Project) tend to rely on trial-by-trial teacher-collected data, which is graphed daily and reviewed weekly or quarterly. Behavior analyses are conducted to provide information regarding the frequency, intensity, and duration of each target behavior, and more detailed functional analyses may be accomplished to determine the controlling antecedent or consequent events. The Children’s Unit has one of the most elaborate data collection systems, in which a rotating videotaping schedule is scored for multiple behaviors and subsequently analyzed in a computerized database for the rate and pattern of specific behaviors (Romanczyk et al., 2000). A similar system is in place in the Walden programs, with the major exception being a relatively stronger emphasis on tracking ongoing language and social behavior in free-play activities, in contrast to tracking specific problem behaviors or skills during direct instruction (McGee et al., 1997).
For programs in which children are learning in the course of naturally occurring early childhood activities, it is difficult to obtain trial-by-trial data. The solution selected by most of these programs has been to obtain videotaped samples and score them according to operational definitions of various behaviors of relevance to the instructional curriculum. For example, the LEAP program obtains 20-minute videotaped probes of parent-child interactions, and tapes are scored and reduced in terms of the percentage of intervals the child is engaged in appropriate behavior. In addition, the LEAP program developed a detailed system for analyzing various components of peer interactions (Kohler et al., 1996).
The emphasis of the Pivotal Response Model on communication is reflected in the collection of unstructured videotaped language samples (Koegel et al., 1999a), which are analyzed according to Brown’s pragmatics criteria (Miller, 1981). Videotapes of parent-child interactions are also obtained under standardized probe conditions and scored for levels of child initiations. In addition, community functioning data is collected by this and other models, including information from report cards and school files regarding school placement, academic achievement, social circles, living situation, and extracurricular activities.
The Individualized Support Program obtains systematic videotaped