Pre-service teacher-implemented Social Stories™ intervention for students with autism spectrum disorders in general education settings
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Social Stories™ are one of the most commonly-used interventions for children with autism (Green et al., 2006; Hess, Morrier, Heflin, & Ivey, 2008; Stahmer, Collings, & Palinkas, 2005). While there is a rapidly-growing literature base of Social Stories research, much of the work has focused on student behavior in special education resource settings; the current study examines the use of Social Stories with students in inclusive general education settings. Six students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders participated and behaviors that occurred in the general education classroom were selected as targets. Pre-service teachers, autism resource teachers, and a paraprofessional were trained to implement the intervention. Social Stories were presented on a personal computer for 5 of 6 participants; the 6th participant’s Social Story was presented in a bound book. Participants were observed in their general education classrooms during 30 min data collection sessions. A multiple baseline across participants design was used. For 3 participants, an alternating treatments design was also used, which examined 2 viii conditions: an Immediate condition in which classroom probes were conducted immediately following Social Stories intervention sessions, and a Delay condition in which a time delay of at least 3.5 hrs was presented between intervention and observation sessions. Results of the Immediate vs. Delay conditions show no conclusive effects of one condition over the other. Overall, results indicate improvements in target behaviors for 5 of 6 participants. Peer comparison data indicate that participants who showed improvement in their behavior performed the target skills at levels comparable to classmates without disabilities. Treatment fidelity data indicate that pre-service teachers were able to accurately implement the intervention over the course of the study. Social validity questionnaires were distributed to in-service and pre-service teachers, who rated the intervention as acceptable and feasible within the classroom setting. Implications for practice and future research directions are discussed.