TeachTown Basics Evidence of Effectiveness
Groden Center Day Program, Rhode Island
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In the spring and summer of 2013, an independent study explored the use of the TeachTown Basics curriculum at the Groden Center Day Program, a school that provides services for children and youth with severe developmental disabilities, autism and associated, severe behavioral challenges, located in Providence, Rhode Island. The participants were 31 students ages 8 to 20 years (average: 13.3 years), with a diagnosis of autism and/or pervasive developmental disorder, who were enrolled in nine self-contained classrooms. Over a six month period, students used the program an average of 3 sessions per week (range: 1 to 7 sessions) for an average of 43 minutes a week (range: 4 to 88 minutes) during leisure time. Data on general interest and satisfaction with the program were available for 25 students. Data on challenging or interfering behavior and academic progress as measured by the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills-Revised (ABLLS-R; Partington, 2006) reading and mathematics skill areas were collected on a subsample of nine students, representing 30% of the group. Of the nine selected for behavioral and academic data collection, two did not take part in the program, one had behavioral challenges during the program, and one was hospitalized resulting in a sample size of five students (average age: 12.8 years).
The majority of students reported enjoying the TeachTown: Basics program and were engaged in it or had some interest in the program (84%; see Figure 1). Out of the five students whose behavior rates were tracked during their TeachTown: Basics sessions, none exhibited behavior problems in more than 5% of the sessions (see Figure 2).
Figure 1. Student reports of interest and satisfaction with TeachTown: Basics (n=25).
Figure 2. Percentage of TeachTown: Basics sessions during which behavioral incidents were observed.
Over six months of instruction, results from the pre- and posttest ABLLS-R reading and math skill areas indicated trends of improvement in basic reading and math skills. Each of the 5 in ABLLS scores for either reading or math, or both, as demonstrated below (see Figures 3-4):
Figures 3. ABLLS reading and math outcomes using TeachTown Basics
Figures 4. ABLLS reading and math outcomes using TeachTown Basics
The authors concluded that the results of this study suggest that TeachTown: Basics provides an independent learning format that most students find interesting and enjoyable. They also concluded that TeachTown: Basics may be useful in helping to build learning skills across several learning domains for students who enjoy and are engaged in the program. Most importantly, this learning format can be effectively implemented with children and young adults with significant developmental disabilities, autism, and associated severe behavioral challenges.