This study aimed to examine whether verbal responsiveness to students’ attentional focus and verbal/vocal acts in special educators varied among subgroups of preschool students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (n = 112). Participants were divided into clusters using cluster analysis based on their standardized scores from the Preschool Language Scale-4 and the Mullen Scales of Early Learning. For each student, a 15-minute video of free play in school setting was collected. Three types of responsive utterances were coded: follow-in directives for behavior, follow-in directives for language, and follow-in comments. Results showed that the clusters did not differ in the rate of overall responsive utterances. Additionally, the groups did not differ in follow-in directives for behavior after controlling for classroom types. However, compared with a cluster of students with ASD who scored within normal range on standardized cognitive and language tests, the cluster of students with more severe cognitive and language impairments received a significantly higher rate of follow-in directives for language from special educators. Moreover, student engagement was positively associated with the amount of responsive utterances from the teacher. Students with more cognitive and language impairments produced significantly fewer vocal/verbal acts, which may have resulted in receiving fewer verbal responses from their teachers.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2015. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisor: Joe Reichle. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 94 pages.
Examining Special Educators Verbal Responsiveness in Groups of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
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