Using self-directed video prompting to teach vocational skills to transition age students with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disabilities



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Employment is an influential factor in the quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (Lewis, 2011), but securing and maintaining gainful employment is difficult. According to the U. S. Department of Labor (2013), the rate of employment for individuals with a disability was 30% while the rate of employment for those without a disability was 76%. According to the American Community Survey (2011), the percentage of working-age people with an intellectual disability working full-time/full year was only 11% (Erickson, Lee, & von Schrader, 2012). Kaye and colleagues (2011) found that employers are reluctant to hire and retain workers with disabilities due in part to the cost of accommodations, need for supervision, the lack of skills, and the ability to perform a quality job. The importance of improving the vocational skills of students with disabilities has been highlighted in the provision of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which stipulates the use of scientifically-based practices to address skill deficits during transition planning. A step toward achieving these transition goals has come from the use of visually-based technology. Existing research suggests individuals with disabilities can benefit from vocational training delivered via affordable assistive technology (Furrnis et al., 2001). Commercially available handheld touch screen technology has the potential to reduce employers’ cost of providing accommodations by equipping workers with tools designed to teach them vocational skills, thereby enabling them to produce and maintain high quality performance with minimal need for direct supervision. This research examined the use of self-directed video prompting (SDVP) strategies to increase the acquisition of vocational skills for transition-age individuals with autism and mild intellectual disabilities through the use of a multiple probe across tasks design replicated across four participants. The results indicate all four participants acquired and maintained novel vocational skills, independently operated a handheld device from beginning-to-end, and transferred prompt dependence from the trainer to a handheld device. Results further showed that all participants assessed 10-weeks after the cessation of the intervention phase successfully generalize newly acquired skills to untrained settings and materials at 100% accuracy.