A research study was published in 2007 that used behavior modification to teach people with autism and intellectual disabilities how to access Web sites. After training, participants (N = 3) were able to access specific Web sites independently.
Breakdown of Task
- Press the computer power button.
- Press the monitor power button.
- Place hand on the mouse.
- Move the cursor with the mouse until it points to the Internet Explorer® icon.
- Double click the Internet Explorer® icon.
- Move the cursor with the mouse to the Google® search box.
- Left click in the box.
- Type in the search topic of interest.
- Place hand back on mouse.
- Move cursor to the box labeled ‘search.’
- Single click the box.
- Move the cursor with the mouse down to the Web site of choice.
- Single click the Web site of choice.”
Note: Steps 12 & 13 should say “Web site link”.
To teach these steps, the behavior-modification techniques of backward chaining, errorless learning, and most-to-least intrusive prompting were used. After completion of each step, whether prompted or unprompted, participants received edible items as a form of immediate reinforcement. Participants were also given five minutes of their preferred Internet activity after the completion of the last step.
Subsequent to training, the three participants were able to complete all thirteen steps independently. They were also able to take the skills they had learned on the test computer, and apply them to a different computer.
I am keenly interested in teaching people with intellectual disabilities how to use the Web. They can not if they don’t know the first thing about it. This research study taught people the rudiments.
My interest in it coincides with the intended purpose of the initial tutorials to be presented on the future Clear Helper Web site: to teach people with intellectual disabilities how to use the Web, specific Web sites, and/or features of them. Because the tutorials will be entirely Web based, the level of training used in this research study will not occur. The consequential indication is that people who require such training may not be able to take advantage of the Clear Helper tutorials. It is a disappointing reality.
Jared Jerome, Eric P. Frantino, & Peter Sturmey (2007). The effects of errorless learning and backward chaining on the acquisition of internet skills in adults with developmental disabilities. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 40, 185-189. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1868816/. PDF of the article.