Training teachers to promote pretend play in children with disabilities
Barton, Erin Elizabeth
The effects of training teachers to implement an intervention designed to promote pretense behaviors in children with disabilities were examined using a multiple probe design. Teachers were trained to use a system of least prompts procedure, contingent imitation and praise to promote pretense behaviors through the use of a written manual, video, role-playing, and performance feedback. With instruction, children with disabilities increased their use of pretense behaviors, increased the diversity of their pretend play, and increased their use of vocalizations related to their pretend play. Three of the four participants showed changes across three toy sets; and one showed them across two toy sets before being withdrawn from school. Two of the four participants increased pretense behaviors immediately with no modifications in the prompt levels (i.e., presentation of all toys, model prompt, and hand over hand controlling prompt). With one participant an additional level (i.e., choice of two toys) was included to the system of least prompts procedure. With the other participant two additional levels (i.e., a visual prompts and presentation of one toy) and an edible reinforcement were included in the system of least prompts procedure. Pretense behaviors maintained for all four participants during probe conditions without prompts after instructional conditions. Generalization measures included daily generalization probes with a non-teacher adult and the same toy sets, and, for three of the four children, post-test probes with a non-teacher adult and different toy sets. All four children had increases in the pretense behaviors in the daily generalization probes with a non-teacher adult and the same toy sets. Two of the three children had increases in post-test probes with a non-teacher adult and different toy sets. Pre and post-test measures were assessed with three of the four children using the Structured Play Assessment (e.g., Ungerer & Sigman, 1981). All three of the children had increases in pretense behaviors in the post-test.