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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Decade: 2010-2019
 Degree Discipline: Special Education
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Alternative Certification: A Comparison of Factors Affecting the Motivations of General and Special Educators
This study was developed to examine the motivations of individuals who chose alternative routes to teacher certification and what they believe were the strengths and weaknesses of their alternative certification preparation (ACP). Data accrued from this study were based on a 55-item online survey and participant information from an online focus group. The study compared the differences between general and special educators in regards to the motivating factors affecting the decision to become a teacher, remain a teacher, and in choosing a non-university-based ACP, as well as the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the ACP. The results from the survey suggest there are differences in the motivating factors affecting general and special educator's decision to become a teacher and to remain a teacher. Additional survey results suggest there are no differences in the reason these two groups chose a non-university-based ACP. The results of the survey and the online focus group were comparable for these two groups. The remainder of this dissertation includes a review of literature related to teacher shortages and teacher preparation including alternative certification. Additionally, information on the results and analysis of the study are discussed, as well as recommendations for future research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30467/
Comparing the Effects of Home Versus Clinic-Based Parent Training for Children with Autism
Research with parents on managing child problem behavior typically measures either child or parent behavior. This study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of training parents to implement a function-based behavior intervention plan (BIP) in a non-trained natural environment utilizing a Multiple Probe Design across Participants. Participants included four parent-child dyads. Measurement variables included parents' use of effective and ineffective strategies and child problem behavior. Intervention involved training parents to understand and implement the BIP using effective strategies, modeling the effective procedures, and providing feedback following parent implementation of procedures. Results showed that the intervention was very effective in promoting skill generalization of parents and decreasing child problem behavior. The findings have implications for research and clinical practice. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28408/
Educators' Perceptions of the Importance of Selected Competencies for Teachers of Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders and their Perceptions of Personal Proficiency
This study investigated educators' perceptions of the importance of competencies for teachers of students with emotional and behavioral disorders and their own proficiency in the competencies. Participants included educators who had completed university-based coursework on emotional and behavioral disorders. Competencies from the Qualification and Preparation of Teachers of Exceptional Children study were correlated with CEC's content standards and knowledge skill sets for special education teachers of individuals with emotional and behavioral disorders. Participants ranked 88 competencies on importance and proficiency. Results revealed that educators' proficiency in competencies, their years of experience, and level of education contribute a significant percentage of variance in their ratings of the importance of competencies. Implications for further research are provided. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33210/
The Effect of Naturalistic Behavior Strategies on the Quality of Social Interactions for Children with Autism
Autism is primarily a social disorder and deficits in social?orienting may be responsible for the failure of children with autism to initiate critical social behaviors. The purpose of this research was to improve the quality of social interactions of children with autism by implementing naturalistic behavior strategies intervention utilizing a multiple baseline design across four participants. Naturalistic behavior strategies comprised a comprehensive package of integrated components including: (a) intervention in the child’s natural environment; (b) child-initiated play activities ; (c) prompts to emit language; (d) shaping for all vocal approximations and (e) delivery of natural reinforcement with embedded social interactions to maintain learned behavior. In addition to intervention, generalization of child behaviors was assessed across untrained parents and/or caregivers in the same environment. Results indicated the effectiveness of naturalistic teaching strategies package in increasing (a) the frequency of vocal mands for all children, (b) the number of times that children initiated social engagement during manding, and (c) intervals of nonverbal dyadic orienting. These skills generalized across two untrained caregivers in the same clinical setting without any training from the interventionist. Two parents required training during the generalization phase in order for their child’s behaviors to maintain at levels demonstrated during the intervention phase. Implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149644/
Effects of a Prototypical Training Program on the Implementation of Systematic Observational Data Collection on Iep Objectives for the Core Deficits of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Legal mandates and best practice recommendations for the education of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) emphasize the importance of systematic, ongoing observational data collection in order to monitor progress and demonstrate accountability. The absence of such documentation in decision-making on instructional objectives indicates a weakness in bridging the research-to-practice gap in special education. Utilizing a multiple baseline design across participants, the current study evaluated the effects of a prototypical teacher training program (i.e., workshop, checklist, in-classroom training with feedback, and maintenance with a thinned schedule of feedback) on the frequency of data collection on core deficits of ASD and the use of data-based decision-making. Results indicate increases in daily mean frequency of data collection following intervention. Maintenance and generalization indicates variable responding across participants. Effect size (Cohen's d) indicates a large, clinically significant effect of the training program. Results are discussed in relation to training models, maintenance, and future research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271829/
Effects of the Why Try Social Skills Program on Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders at an Alternative Campus
Approximately 20% of students with emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD) are sent to an alternative campus for their lack of social competence. Social skills training (SST) is an evidence-based intervention to help increase social competence for students with E/BD, but there is limited research that addresses SST for students with E/BD at alternative campuses. A mixed-methods design was utilized to examine SST at an alternative campus for students with E/BD. Pre-intervention data were collected for students' attendance, grades, office disciplinary referrals, and behavioral rating scales, after which, the Why Try SST program was implemented. Following the intervention, the same type of data were collected. Nonparametric statistics guided the quantitative analysis, because of the small population being studied. Differences from pre- to post-intervention were examined. Triangulation methods drove the qualitative data collection and analysis through observations, student interviews, and teacher interviews. Students exhibited significant differences from pre- to post-intervention in the number of office disciplinary referrals and several areas on the behavioral rating scales. Important insight into motivation and perceptions was gained through the observations and interviews. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33212/
The Extent of Autism Knowledge of Novice Alternatively Certified Special Education Teachers in Texas
An increase in the prevalence rate of autism is not necessarily matched by a concurrent increase in the rate of highly qualified special education teachers. The low ratio of highly qualified teachers to the number of students with autism has resulted in chronic teacher shortages in this area. Alternative certification is used as a mechanism to alleviate the demand for highly qualified teachers in special education. However, alternative certification routes have often left novice teachers underprepared for teaching students with autism, more specifically in the implementation of evidence-based practices necessary for instructional effectiveness. The purposes of the study were: a) to assess the knowledge of novice alternatively certified (AC) teachers in the area of autism education; and b) to determine the extent to which age, credit hours of instruction, formal hours of instruction, amount of professional development, and number of students with autism predict the variance in knowledge scores. Participants included all novice (i.e., first-and second-year) alternatively certified special education teachers in the state of Texas. Data were collected through an electronic survey instrument disseminated state-wide to approximately 33 individuals. Multiple regression was conducted in order to determine the strongest predictors of autism knowledge scores. In addition, a multi-way ANOVA was performed to identify differences between groups. The largest predictor of knowledge of autism was hours engaged in self-directed learning. Overall, AC programs in Texas need to provide basic and core content in the area of autism to increase the knowledge of novice teachers. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc407790/
Knowledge and Confidence of Speech-Language Pathologists Regarding Autism
The increased prevalence rate of autism has immense implications for speech language pathologists (SLPs) who are directly involved in the education and service delivery for students with autism. However, few studies have documented the effectiveness of the knowledge and confidence of SLPs regarding autism. The purpose of this study was to measure the knowledge and confidence of SLPs regarding autism and the extent to which their educational and professional training prepared them to work effectively with this population. An online survey was administered to and returned by 336 SLPs nation-wide. Two multiple linear regressions were conducted to determine the variables that explained overall knowledge and confidence. The number of students with autism on one's caseload explained most of the variance. Independent sample t-test results depicted knowledge and confidence scores of SLPs who were behaviorally trained versus those who were not behaviorally trained. SLPs who were behaviorally trained had higher mean scores on measures of knowledge and confidence when compared to those without formal behavioral training. Finally, a bivariate correlation was conducted to explore the relationship between knowledge and confidence of SLPs, however, results were not statistically significant. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33197/
Knowledge and Training in Autism Spectrum Disorders Among Special Education Administrators.
A significant rise in the number of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) served in today's schools requires special education administrators to possess knowledge in this area. The purpose of this study was to determine the general knowledge of special education administrators concerning ASD and knowledge of educational programming, to explore their educational training and professional development experiences in ASD, to identify the training needs of special education administrators in ASD, and to determine if knowledge, training and experience in ASD predict litigation. Using survey methods, data were collected from a sample of 106 special education administrators in Texas. Data revealed special education administrators were most knowledgeable of general characteristics, common myths, and instructional strategies, and less knowledgeable of eligibility criteria. Knowledge regarding educational programming for learners with ASD produced mixed results. Logistic regression analysis revealed general autism knowledge, knowledge of educational programming, training, and experience in ASD were not factors predicting litigation. Although results indicated none of the factors explored in this study were predictors of litigation, areas of need regarding professional development were identified. Implications for future research are also discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33169/
Personnel Preparation in Special Education: An Exploration of Autism Spectrum Disorders Programmatic Changes in Institutions of Higher Education Teacher Training Programs
Programmatic change related to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) training in special education teacher education programs across the U.S. and institutional variables that influenced change were examined. Variables included institutions’ current coverage of autism content in coursework and institution enrollment. One faculty member from each identified institution was invited to participate in the study. Data were collected from 136 special education faculty using an exploratory survey instrument, the National Survey on ASD Preparation in Undergraduate Special Education Teacher Training Programs (NSAP). This study was designed around themes which emerged from empirical and pragmatic research findings conceptualizing prevalent issues in personnel preparation for ASD including critical knowledge and skills needed by teachers to effectively serve students with ASD. Results indicated a significant number of programmatic changes (66%) remain to be implemented in undergraduate special education programs at institutions participating in the study. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84239/
Preschool Teachers' Self-reported Levels of Preparation for Classroom Behavior Management
Research indicates that serious behavior problems begin during the early childhood years. The study examined the perceived preparedness of teachers related to behavior management as well as preschool teachers' usage of evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies. The data indicates that preschool teachers feel prepared for managing aggression in their classrooms and report utilizing evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies regularly. Additionally, the data shows a weak relationship between teacher variables and the likelihood of feeling prepared for managing aggression or utilizing evidence-based strategies. The results can be used to gain a better understanding of special education preschool teachers' training needs in regard to behavior management and managing behavior problems in the preschool classroom. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283797/
Programming for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders: The Importance, Usage and Preparedness for Implementation of Evidence-Based Interventions Based on Practitioner Perceptions
Implementation of evidence-based practices in Texas schools was examined through a survey disseminated through 495 special education directors in 20 state educational service centers. The district-level directors were asked to forward the survey to all personnel providing direct or indirect services to students with EBD. Survey participants were asked to rate 27 evidence-based interventions for students with EBD in three categories on a 5-point Likert scale: (a) importance of the intervention; (b) frequency of use of the intervention; and (c) preparedness to implement the intervention. With a response rate of 32% and representation from all 20 educational service center areas, data were analyzed through simple frequency statistics to determine that most respondents were public school special educators who had been in their current position for 5 years or less. They identified a climate that supports successful teaching and learning and clear rules/expectations as very important. They reported using procedures for the use of physical restraint most frequently, and being most well-prepared to implement clear rules/expectations. A canonical correlation analysis revealed an inverse relationship between importance ratings of tertiary level interventions and frequency of use and preparedness to implement primary level interventions which implies that while practitioners rate tertiary level interventions as important, they are more likely to be well-prepared to implement primary level interventions and to do so with more frequency. Additionally, a review of literature is provided and results and analysis of the survey are discussed as well as recommendations for the future. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30462/
The Roles Elementary School Counselors Perform in the Education of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
This nation-wide study investigated elementary school counselors (ESC) self-reported: (a) professional background and training; (b) general knowledge of autism spectrum disorders (ASD); (c) attitudes towards ASD; and (d) roles performed with students identified with ASD. Also investigated was the predictive relationships between professional background, training, knowledge, and attitudes on roles (counseling, consultation, curriculum, and coordination) performed with students identified with ASD. Descriptive statistics were utilized to address professional background, training, knowledge, attitude and characteristics of ESC participants. These variables were also examined in relationship to the four role types. Multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA) and Pearson’s correlation coefficients were used to test for significant relationships. A series of four multiple regression analyses predicting each of the total roles scores for counseling, consultation, curriculum, and coordination were also conducted. Results of the study suggest (a) ESC have limited training experiences of ASD, leading to self-education about this population of students, (b) ESC possess general knowledge about ASD, (c) overall, ESC have positive attitudes towards ASD, and (d) ESC perform all conceptualized roles in the education of students with ASD. Regression models revealed eight predictors found to influence roles: total knowledge, attitudes, geographic setting, U.S. region, years practiced, conference training, self-education, and ASD caseload. Significantly associated with performing roles across all four domains was the number of students with ASD on ESC caseload. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84253/
Service Provisions for Youth with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Youth with emotional or behavioral disorders (EBD) have poorer outcomes compared to their peers with and without disabilities. As a result, the federal government has mandated transition services to improve supports and ultimately student outcomes. Using data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS-2), this secondary analysis looked at services provided to youth with EBD (n = 410). The purpose of the study was to show a relationship between utilization of multiple services and the attainment of paid employment, and/or attending post-secondary education. Results indicate relationships between receiving financial services, tutoring and educational services and vocational services with attending a post-secondary institution. Logistic regression indicated a relationship between time, age and amount or services with paid employment. These results indicate the need for continuous, systematic and linked services for youth with EBD well into their twenties. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149580/
Teacher Educators: What Motivates Them to Choose Academe?
Currently, there is a shortage of professors preparing personnel to teach in high need areas (e.g., special education, English language learners) at institutions of higher education (IHE). The purpose of the present study was to examine the motivations or influencers that impelled individuals to pursue careers in IHEs as professors in personnel preparation. Data were collected using Motivations for Choosing Academia as a Profession (MCAP) and a 10-item Big Five Inventory (BFI-10). Two hundred eighty-nine professors of education representing the four U.S. census regions participated in the present study. The MCAP is a 25-item instrument designed to measure retrospective motivation of faculty decisions to enter the professoriate. The development of the MCAP is described and an exploratory factor analysis was employed to examine the psychometric validity of the instrument. Three factors emerged and implications are discussed. Data were analyzed using logistic regression with the dichotomous outcome variable being the area of education in which the professor works (i.e., general or special education). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149568/
Teacher Perceptions of Inclusionary Practices for Students with Emotional/behavioral Disorders
The present study examined variables affecting teachers’ perceptions of inclusionary practices for students with emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD) in three areas: inclusion of students with E/BD, behaviors of students with E/BD, and teacher efficacy. Teachers listed in the database of one Education Service Center located in north central Texas which represented 66 school districts, completed the online Survey on Teacher Perceptions of Inclusionary Practices for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders. Findings of the study showed that (a) teaching experience was a significant predictor of teacher’s perceptions regarding the inclusion of students with E/BD, (b) student age was a significant predictor of teachers’ perceptions regarding behaviors of students with E/BD, (c) special education teachers are more likely to have a higher degree of perceptions on the subscale that measures their efficacy than general education teachers, and (d) the number of special education courses taken by general education teachers did not have a significant effect on teachers’ perceptions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149629/
Teachers of Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders’ Perceptions of Professional Standards of Practice
In recent decades, there has been renewed interest in examining the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs. Unfortunately, researchers have found that there is limited empirical research on the effectiveness of quality special education teacher preparation programs, specifically those programs specializing in the education of students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the largest special education organization, conducts research on the standards needed by teachers who serve children and youth with exceptionalities. These CEC standards are recommended to serve as a guide for teacher preparation programs in special education. Utilizing the CEC standards delineated for preparation programs in EBD, the present study sought to determine how graduates of one program perceived the importance of the standards and their perceived proficiency in using the standards in their work with students with EBD. Results indicated that graduates viewed the standards as Important to their work with students with EBD. Further, they viewed their proficiency in using the standards to be above average. In addition, the present study examined the relationship between graduates perceived importance and perceived proficiency in using the CEC standards. Results indicated that graduates who had higher score ratings on their perceived importance of the standards tended to have higher ratings on their perceived proficiency scores. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149634/
Teachers' Perspectives on Student Problematic Behavior and Social Skills
The research investigation reported herein examined program outcomes of student problem behavior and social skills, based on teachers' perspectives, before and after early behavioral intervention services. The study targets students in kindergarten through grade five who are identified by the school system for being at-risk for being labeled with emotional and behavioral disorders. Students identified received early intervention services based on individualized positive behavioral supports (i.e., social skills training, functional behavioral assessment, and team collaboration). Teachers completed a teacher form of the Social Skills Rating System before and after the student received program services to determine differences in social skills and problematic behavior pre- and post- program early intervention services. An analysis was also made of the differences among gender, ethnicity, and grade according to the teachers' perspectives. Data indicated statistically significant results in the area of social skills and problem behavior. The results indicate early intervention services that teach social skills and use functional behavioral assessments to deal with problem behavior are beneficial to children displaying behavior challenges. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68039/
The Use of a Stimulus Control Transfer Procedure to Teach Spontaneous Manding to Children with Autism
Current research indicates that the inability to spontaneously communicate needs or wants may result in the acquisition of unconventional forms of requesting such as aggression and tantrums. This in turn limits the amount of access that students with autism have to neurotypical peers and social environments. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of using a stimulus control transfer procedure on the acquisition of spontaneous mands. Four school-aged children with autism, two boys and two girls, participated in the study. A multiple baseline design across participants was utilized to demonstrate a functional relation between the stimulus control transfer procedures and the rate of spontaneous mands. Measurement variables included the frequency of spontaneous versus multiply-controlled mands during discrete trial training on a variety of verbal operants. Effectiveness of the intervention was analyzed through visual analysis and the magnitude of effect was assessed through effect size. Visual analysis indicated that three of the four participants learned to spontaneously mand for items out of view and demonstrated generalization across targets, staff and environments. The effect size for three participants were large (d = 1.94; d = 2.2; and d = 1.4), whereas the outcome of intervention for one participant (d = 0.98) indicated moderate effect. The overall (d = 1.15) outcome demonstrated a large effect of the intervention on the rate of mands. Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that early and intensive behavior intervention programs for children with autism incorporate this type of procedure for socially significant outcomes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc407751/
The Use of Evidence-based Practices in the Provision of Social Skills Training for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: a National Survey of School Psychologists' Training, Attitudes, and Practices
The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine school psychologists' use of evidence- based practices (EBP), in general, and more specifically in the area of social skills training (SST) for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Study participants, consisting of 498 school psychologists from across the nation, participated in an online survey that gathered information about their training, attitudes, and practices. The frequency with which specific EBP practices for social skills training for students with ASD was examined, as was prediction of use of these practices. Multiple-regression analyses revealed multiple independent variables that were predictors for overall use of EBP. Results indicated that over half of the participants provide SST for students with ASD. Although the majority of participants indicated that their graduate program included at least one course with information about ASD and EBP practices, in general, nearly half indicated that their coursework did not include any courses that directly addressed social skills training for students with ASD. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to determine the extent to which the data fit the factor model. Participants' perception of the importance placed on EBP by their school district, scores on the openness subscale of the Evidence Based Practices Assessment Scale, perception of how well their graduate program prepared them in the EBP process, perception of whether they were adequately trained in the area of SST for students with ASD, and having a caseload evenly divided among settings were significant predictors of overall use of EBP. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177174/