Key characteristics of an early literacy intervention for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Key characteristics of an early literacy intervention for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities

First Author: Carlin Conner -- SMU
Additional authors/chairs: 
Kristi Baker
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to describe key characteristics of an early literacy intervention for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The intervention included lessons aligned with early readers and was studied through single-case design with 18 students with intellectual and developmental disabilities ranging in age from 6 to 13, as well as descriptive evidence.

Method: The intervention was designed through an iterative development process through which the research team collaborated with practitioners who implemented various iterations of the program with their students across one or two academic years. The goal was to enable teachers to: (a) provide instruction that is consistent with principles of effective instruction and theoretical models of skilled readers and how reading develops, and (b) adapt that instruction to better address the specific needs of students with IDD.

Results: Instructional sessions include brief warm-up skills practice, book reading/discussion, and learning games. The intervention features (a) an efficient scope and sequence that targets high impact skills, supporting explicit instruction, cumulative review and practice, and transfer of skills across instructional strands; (b) detailed lessons to teach students the skills needed to read specific books (i.e. transfer skills from one context to another) and (c) effective instructional techniques (e.g., corrective feedback and scaffolding; errorless learning).

Conclusions: Evidence from single-case design studies supports the effectiveness of the intervention in developing word recognition. Descriptive academic data and anecdotal evidence support the transfer of skills and development of oral language and comprehension.