Antecedent Interventions: Investigating Social Stories and Visual Supports Interventions for Children At-risk for Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Zimmerman, Kathleen Nicole
Children at-risk for emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) are likely to display problem behavior at higher frequencies than other children. Although early intervention may improve long term outcomes, children at-risk for EBD are less likely to access preventative services than children with identified developmental or physical disabilities. Preventative interventions to address problem behavior and classroom engagement for at-risk children are more likely to be implemented by general education staff who report an inability to identify appropriate interventions that are feasible in non-specialized settings. Antecedent interventions are often used as preventative interventions to address problem behavior and engagement, but few studies have evaluated their effectiveness with children at-risk for disability. The following study evaluated the effectiveness of two commonly recommended antecedent interventions that have limited empirical support for use with children at-risk for disability: social stories and visual supports. Two comparisons were conducted in the context of sequential alternating treatments designs: social stories comparison and visual supports comparison. Social stories were ineffective in improving children’s levels of engagement during targeted activities; visual supports resulted in increases in children’s engagement relative to baseline conditions. Future use of visual supports for children at-risk for EBD should include evaluations of the feasibility of implementation by teaching staff.