Comparison of the effects of three approaches on the frequency of stimulus activations, via a single switch by students with profound intellectual disabilities

The effects of three classes of reinforcing stimuli were compared across three students with profound intellectual disabilities. A multielement design with no baseline and final “best treatments” phase was used to measure the frequency of single-switch activations by each student across treatments. The three interventions were Treatment A, adapted toys and devices; Treatment B, cause-and-effect commercial software; and Treatment C, instructor-created video programs. Stimulus activations using a single switch were consistently greater when using individualized computer-based video programs. Implications for identifying stimuli for students who may not respond to traditional methods for teaching means–end contingencies (cause and effect) are discussed.

Mechling L. C.
The Journal of Special Education, 40(2), 94-102.
Related Research
Grade Level: 
birth to preschool
early elementary
intermediate elementary
middle school
IDEA Disability Category: 
intellectual disability
traumatic brain injury
Instructional Support: 
alternate access devices and systems
opportunities to learn concepts
practice and reinforcement activities