An evaluation of a multicomponent early literacy program for students With severe developmental disabilities
ABSTRACT This study evaluated the effectiveness of a multicomponent early literacy curriculum that included phonics and phonemic awareness in comparison to a sight word approach. A total of 93 students with severe developmental disabilities who were enrolled in Grades K through 4 were randomly assigned to either a multicomponent early literacy curriculum or a sight word comparison curriculum. The instructional interventions were implemented over an academic school year. Results indicated that students in the multicomponent early literacy curriculum had significantly higher mean literacy scores than the students in the sight word condition, with small to moderate effect sizes (.30–.49). Further analysis indicated that phonics skills appeared to contribute most to the differences between the two curriculum approaches. Implications for teaching decoding skills, one of the components needed for students to become fully literate, are discussed.
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ABSTRACT: The development of effective treatments for use by non-specialists is listed among the top research priorities for improving the lives of people with mental illness worldwide. The purpose of this review is to appraise which interventions for children with intellectual disabilities or lower-functioning autism spectrum disorders delivered by non-specialist care providers in community settings produce benefits when compared to either a no-treatment control group or treatment-as-usual comparator. We systematically searched electronic databases through 24 June 2013 to locate prospective controlled studies of psychosocial interventions delivered by non-specialist providers to children with intellectual disabilities or lower-functioning autism spectrum disorders. We screened 234 full papers, of which 34 articles describing 29 studies involving 1,305 participants were included. A majority of the studies included children exclusively with a diagnosis of lower-functioning autism spectrum disorders (15 of 29, 52%). Fifteen of twenty-nine studies (52%) were randomized controlled trials and just under half of all effect sizes (29 of 59, 49%) were greater than 0.50, of which 18 (62%) were statistically significant. For behavior analytic interventions, the best outcomes were shown for development and daily skills; cognitive rehabilitation, training, and support interventions were found to be most effective for improving developmental outcomes, and parent training interventions to be most effective for improving developmental, behavioral, and family outcomes. We also conducted additional subgroup analyses using harvest plots. Limitations include the studies' potential for performance bias and that few were conducted in lower- and middle-income countries. The findings of this review support the delivery of psychosocial interventions by non-specialist providers to children who have intellectual disabilities or lower-functioning autism spectrum disorders. Given the scarcity of specialists in many low-resource settings, including many lower- and middle-income countries, these findings may provide guidance for scale-up efforts for improving outcomes for children with developmental disorders or lower-functioning autism spectrum disorders. PROSPERO CRD42012002641 Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.PLoS Medicine 12/2013; 10(12):e1001572. · 15.25 Impact Factor