Comparing Telehealth Instructional Methods for Language Development Skills of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Courtney Jean Crawford, Fordham University


The current study compares two evidence-based instructional methods for teaching students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) the skill of tacting. Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT) is an applied behavior analysis technique utilized in various settings for teaching individuals with Autism academic, behavioral, and life skills. Direct Instruction (DI) is a scripted language curriculum that focuses on incorporating behavioral principles while teaching with short, sequenced instructions with an error correction procedure. While DTT has extensive research supporting its use for developing skills in individuals with ASD, DI incorporates similar principles in a cost-effective manner that can be implemented on a wider scale with fewer resources. The present study took place during the Covid-19 pandemic; thus, telehealth was implemented. An alternating treatment single case experimental design was utilized to determine which intervention strategy is more effective for developing language skills. Five students in an urban self-contained setting received DI and DTT interventions via Zoom. Language for Learning was utilized and participants identified nine pictures of buildings. Data was collected through direct observation of participants’ responses and inferential statistics were used to visually inspect the data. Four out of five participants demonstrated greater skill acquisition using Discrete Trial Teaching and one participant demonstrated greater skill acquisition with Direct Instruction. All participants were able to tact the buildings and developed the language skill of tacting, as well as secondary language skills. The current study also substantiates the limited evidence validating telehealth as an effective platform to deliver intervention services to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Crawford, Courtney Jean, "Comparing Telehealth Instructional Methods for Language Development Skills of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29170270.