Effect of video modeling and primary reinforcers on the push-up performance of elementary aged male students with autism spectrum disorders
The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has been on the rise since the early 1990's (Centers for Disease Control, 2012). As a result, more children than ever are being diagnosed with ASD. However, since 2002, there has been a more significant increase which has almost doubled. Currently 1 in 88 children (11.3 per 1,000) in the United States has been identified as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder which is a 23% increase since the last report was released from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2009. With the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders increasing, it has become necessary for those teaching students with ASD to use and implement evidence-based practices (EBP) in all areas. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effect of two evidence-based practices, specifically video modeling and reinforcement, on the push-up performance of elementary aged males with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Participants were 5 elementary aged males with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and a speech impairment but no secondary intellectual disability. Participants were asked to perform push-ups, based on FITNESSGRAM criteria, in their home environment under three different treatment conditions. The treatment conditions included video modeling, primary reinforcers, and no video modeling or primary reinforcers (control). In addition, this investigation included a generalization phase in which one push-up session was conducted 3 days after the last treatment session. A randomized alternating-treatment design was used in this investigation (Richards, Taylor, & Ramasamy, 2013) and from the data collected, repeated measurements of the dependent variable (i.e., number of push-ups performed) were analyzed. The data from this study were analyzed through visual inspection of graphic data. Additionally, a Friedman's analysis of variance by ranks was used to determine if there was a statistically significant difference in push-up performance among the three treatments. Based on visual inspection of the data, 2 out of 5 participants performed their best push-ups under both Treatment 1 (video modeling) and Treatment 2 (primary reinforcer) and 3 out of 5 participants performed their best push-ups under Treatment 1 (video modeling). Based on statistical treatment of the data, differences between Treatment 1 (video modeling) and Treatment 2 (primary reinforcer) on push-up performance was not statistically significant; however, both Treatment 1 (video modeling) and Treatment 2 (primary reinforcer) were statistically significant when compared to Treatment 3 (control).