The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of an online training technology on the implementation of mand training on three paraprofessionals. Mand training is an evidenced-based instructional procedure used to increase functional communication in students with disabilities.
Three female paraprofessionals ages 26, 34, and 46 all of Hawaiian background participated. Two paraprofessionals had high school degrees, one with BA in business. One girl and two boys ages 6,8,10 also participated. All paraprofessionals had no previous training in autism interventions. All three students had developmental disabilities and language delays and goals in their IEPs to increase functional communication.
Observations took place in an elementary school special education classroom in a rural area of Hawaii. Trainings took place at the school on the special education teacher’s computer. The SpEd Teacher gave the paraprofessionals time during the school day and after to complete the training.
A multiple baseline design across subjects was used. The dependent measure for the paraprofessionals was the percentage of correct implementation of mand training procedures. The dependent measure for the students was the percentage of intervals that included spontaneous and prompted mands (requests).
During baseline the experimenter observed and recorded during one-to-one instructional times. During training, the paraprofessionals were given a username and password to login to the Autism Training Solution, Relias Learning. (Reliaslearning.com). The system had them do a pretest and then took them through a series of video modules, each ending in a competency quiz. After they passed the competency quizzes, they were able to take the post-test to finish off the training.
Results and Discussion
The results for paraprofessionals and students are presented in figure 1. During baseline the three paraprofessionals showed low performance and after training all three paraprofessionals showed improvement in implementing mand training procedures. The mean scores were 15% baseline and 62% post training. The students also showed improvement in using mands to communicate. The mean scores were 22% baseline and 52% post-training.