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The Effects of a Behavioral Momentum Blending Intervention on the Accuracy of Textual and Spelling Responses Emitted by Preschool Students with Blending Difficulties

Cameron, Katharine Loomis

In 2 experiments, I tested the effects of a behavioral momentum blending procedure on the accuracy of component and composite textual and spelling responses emitted by 11 preschool students with disabilities, including autism and speech and language delays, using multiple probe designs across participants. The participants were between 3 and 4 years old and were selected to participate because they were receiving reading instruction, but they emitted low numbers of correct textual responses to words comprised of previously mastered phoneme-grapheme correspondences. Dependent measures in the experiment included blending responses to novel text stimuli, composite vocal blending responses in which no textual stimuli were used, and spelling responses. In addition, in Experiment 2, I tested the effects of the procedure on the reinforcing properties of textual stimuli. Prior to the intervention, the participants were taught to textually respond to a set of known, regular words comprised of up to five phonemic sounds represented by corresponding graphemes at a target rate (number per min). During the behavioral momentum blending intervention, participants responded to these words that were presented in rapid succession by the experimenter, followed by the immediate presentation of novel words. The experimenter provided a vocal model of the component phonemes which was systematically faded during each phase of the intervention. Results for Experiment 1 showed increases in textual, spelling, and vocal blending responses for five participants. In addition, results indicated that the participants textually responded to novel words and emitted more composite textual responses, or responses without emitting the component sounds prior to textually responding, when composite blending was modeled at the beginning of the probe session. In Experiment 2, I altered the intervention procedure to require composite only responding as a final step in the instructional sequence. Six new preschool students were selected to participate, and the dependent measures were the same as Experiment 1; however, I also tested for the presence of conditioned reinforcement for observing print prior to and following BMBI. Results showed significant effects for four of the participants following up to two phases of intervention but were less significant for two of the participants. Additionally, results indicated the establishment of conditioned reinforcement for observing print for the participants who textually responded at criterion level. These findings are discussed with regard to the educational significance of blending as a prerequisite for textual responding and the importance of the speaker-as-own-listener verbal repertoire in learning to read phonetically.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Behavior Analysis
Thesis Advisors
Greer, Robert D.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 14, 2018