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Title: Improving paragraph writing of children with development disabilities
Other Titles: Improving paragraph writing
Authors: Zachakou, Zoe
Keywords: Paragraph
Token economy
Writing skills
Written expression
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: Students with developmental disabilities (DDs) and especially with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Specific Learning Disorder (SLD) and Learning Disabilities (LDs) often experience academic deficits that are substantially and quantifiably below those expected for the individual's chronological age. One area that is the most problematic is written expression. Students are tested on this skill in various ways daily at school. Writing a paragraph is a prerequisite for their future essay or long stories writing. Thus developing methods to successfully teach this skill to students with DDs is of great significance. The current study focused on what children with DDs should be taught in order to be able to develop a topic in a short paragraph of 10-15 lines or 100-150 words independently. Four students, aged 11 -15 years old participated in this study. Three of them were diagnosed with developmental disabilities; one was diagnosed with ADHD, the other one with dyslexia and the third one with borderline intellectual ability and LDs. Of course, all of them presented symptoms from the other two diagnoses as well. The fourth student was a typically developing child, who was not diagnosed with any disability. Two lists were developed to serve as cues teaching writing skills. Additionally, a token economy was used to reinforce the students' effort. The effectiveness of the lists and the token economy in teaching writing skills was assessed via a changing criterion experimental design. The results of this study showed that within the 30 sessions that took place with each participant, all the participants managed to include in their writings most of the items identified on the lists, which resulted in the development of an age appropriate written paragraph that was well-structured and organized and with more appropriate vocabulary. Directions for future research and implications for practice are also discussed at the end.
Appears in Collections:Program in Applied Educational Psychology

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