Remote Professional Development of Teachers to Implement Power Cards to Teach Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Olçay S., Saral D.



Impairments in social skills are one of the core characteristics of individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Impairments in social skills in this group of individuals may not naturally decrease or disappear over time. Rather, they become more pronounced unless appropriate interventions to promote social competence are delivered to these individuals. In this study, researchers examined the effects of remote professional development training through behavioral skills training and coaching on teachers’ (psychologists') use of Power Card method using a one-group pre- and post-test design. Moreover, the effects of Power Card method on teaching social skills – saying “Thank you.” (e.g., thanking upon accessing the requested item) – to their students with autism spectrum disorder were investigated using a multiple probe design across participants. Three psychologists working as a special education teacher and their students with autism spectrum disorder from a special education school participated in the study. The researchers evaluated teachers’ performance on script and Power Card development and implementation using checklists (e.g., Steps for Developing Scripts and Power Cards). They performed visual analysis to evaluate students’ performance. Remote behavioral skills training and coaching were effective in the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of teachers’ use of Power Card procedure, and the Power Card procedure was effective in teaching social skills to students with autism spectrum disorder. Furthermore, the students maintained the target skills 2 and 4 weeks after the intervention and generalized them across different conditions. Teachers had positive opinions regarding (a) feasibility of the Power Cards, (b) acceptability of remote behavioral skills training and coaching, and (c) social significance of the target skills for the students. Limitations (e.g., narrow focus on social skills and collection of social validity data through participant judgement) and implications for future research are discussed.