Generalization of learned objectives from project data to the integrated preschool classroom
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Generalization of Learned Objectives from Project DATA to the Integrated Preschool Classroom. Shannon Crissey, M.Ed. Erin Greager, M.Ed. Lisa Pitale, M.Ed, BCBA University of Washington Haring Center Experimental Education Unit. Introduction. Who are we?

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Generalization of Learned Objectives from Project DATA to the Integrated Preschool Classroom

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Generalization of learned objectives from project data to the integrated preschool classroom

Generalization of Learned Objectives from Project DATA to the Integrated Preschool Classroom

Shannon Crissey, M.Ed.

Erin Greager, M.Ed.

Lisa Pitale, M.Ed, BCBA

University of Washington

Haring Center

Experimental Education Unit



  • Who are we?

    • Shannon Crissey, M.Ed. – EEU Preschool Teacher

    • Erin Greager, M.Ed. – EEU Project DATA teacher

    • Lisa Pitale, M.Ed., BCBA – EEU Project DATA teacher

  • Who are you?

    • What population do you work with?

    • How is inclusion addressed at your place of work?

Why are we presenting today

Why are we presenting today?

We are presenting today because of our strong belief in inclusion and inclusive practices.

Questions we strived to answer this school year as special education teachers:

- Why inclusion?

- How can we turn a lot of “talk” into some “action”?

- Does this action actually work? And if not, how can we MAKE it work?

Why inclusion

Why inclusion?

  • Arguments for inclusion:

    • Research articles:

      • Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: The Successful Inclusion of a Child with Autism. By Janet Schmidt

      • Inclusion in Play: A Case Study of a Child with Autism in an Inclusive Nursery. By Fani Theodorou and Melanie Nind

      • Inclusion Means Everyone! The Role of the Early Childhood Educator when Including Young Children with Autism in the Classroom. By Shernavaz Vakil, Evonn Welton, Barbara O’Connor and Lynn S Kline.

      • Promoting a Lifetime of Inclusion. By Adelle Rezaglia, Meagan Karvonen, Erik Drasgow and Craig C Stoxen.

      • Inclusive Programming for Students with Autism. By Belinda W. Crisman

Civil rights

Civil rights:

  • “Disability need not be an obstacle to success … It is my hope that … this century will mark a turning point for inclusion of people with disabilities in the lives of their societies.” – Professor Stephen Hawking

  • “We know that equality of individual ability has never existed and never will, but we do insist that equality of opportunity still must be sought." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • “Inclusive education means that children will be included, made to feel valued and provide others with the opportunity to appreciate those who are different from themselves.” – Jeffrey Rudski, Professor of Psychology, Muhlenberg College

So what s the challenge

So what’s the challenge?

  • Why is inclusion not happening on so many levels?

    • Staffing

    • Students’ behavior

    • General education classroom too disruptive of an environment for child to learn in

    • What are the challenges happening in your school?

So what can we do about it

So what can we do about it?

  • This is where our project comes in. We wanted to show that if students needed a self-contained environment in order to learn classroom skills they could then generalize those skills to a more natural environment.



  • The purpose of our project was to determine whether students were able to generalize mastered objectives from the Project DATA classroom to the integrated pre-school classroom - but….why?



  • Students between the ages of 3-5 who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis.

    • Students’ ability levels varied from mainly social-emotional delays to more global delays in communication, cognition, behavior, and social development.

Setting data project

Technical and Social Support for Families

Integrated Early Childhood Experience

Collaboration and Coordination

Quality of Life Influenced Curriculum

Setting: DATA Project




Extended intensive instructional time

Extended, Intensive Instructional Time

  • Instructional strategies are data-based and cross-disciplinary

  • Children’s need for support is matched to the type of instruction

  • Teaching procedures include discrete trials, naturalistic teaching techniques, response prompting strategies and visual supports

  • One-on-one and small groups

Technical and social support for families

Technical and Social Support for Families

  • Emphasis on family-child relationships

  • Home based services offered

  • Emphasis on building supportive communities for families

  • “Families own the agenda”

Quality of life curriculum in the following areas

“Quality of Life” Curriculum in the following areas:

  • Attending

  • Imitation

  • Communication

  • Play

  • Social interaction

  • Matching

  • Adaptive skills

  • Focus on environment, child interest and motivation, and functional skills.

  • Focus on children’s ability to access typical environments.

  • Collaboration and coordination across services

    Collaboration and CoordinationAcross Services

    • Increase consistency across environments

    • Appropriate expectations across environments

    • Increase opportunities to practice skills

    • Share information about motivation and progress

    • Regular meetings among teachers

    • Meetings, visits, and email with other related services

    Project data schedule

    Project DATA Schedule

    Setting integrated preschool

    Setting – Integrated Preschool

    • Integrated Preschool Classroom

      • 8 children diagnosed with a disability

      • 8 children who are typically developing

      • Typically a 1:3 teacher/student ratio

      • General education curriculum modified to meet the needs of diverse learners through adaptations, accommodations, embedded learning, and the use of peer models, along with other strategies.

    Setting preschool schedule

    Setting – Preschool Schedule

    Procedure initial steps

    Procedure – Initial Steps

    • Objective initially taught in Project DATA classroom

      • 1:2 teacher/student ratio

      • Principles of applied behavior analysis

      • Limited distractions

      • Discrete trials or embedded learning with peer

    Procedure criterion

    Procedure - Criterion

    • Objective closed: 80% proficiency across 2 consecutive days

    • Communication between Project DATA staff and integrated preschool team to discuss what each objective looked like and how it was to be tested within the integrated preschool setting.

    Procedure tested in preschool classroom

    Procedure – Tested in preschool classroom

    • Delivered in the context of the preschool classroom within naturally occurring activities.

    • Testing was delivered by the researcher who lowered her body to the child’s level, gained eye contact, lessened distracters as much as possible, and delivered a clear, concise probe.

    Data collection

    Data Collection

    • Criteria for chosen objectives

      • Discreteness

      • Extent to which they were natural preschool behaviors

        • (ie: object imitation, following directions, etc.)

    Data collection1

    Data Collection

    • Objectives were tested for generalization during specified “generalization check” weeks after the objective closed in Project DATA.

    • Data were collected using whatever data collection system was already established within the preschool classroom (clipboards, index cards attached to ring on teacher’s waist, etc).

    • + for independently demonstrating behavior

    • - for no response or incorrect response

    • Each testing probe given five times; child scored either 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, or 100% per objective

    General timeline of project

    General timeline of project

    • September: met with all preschool and Project DATA teachers to explain the project and determine who the “classroom facilitators” would be.

      • Facilitators were classroom assistants who were in charge of administering generalization trials within their classrooms and collecting data on each child’s response.

    Timeline con t

    Timeline (con’t)

    • October: First generalization check took place. Project DATA teachers recorded mastered objectives in classroom binders. Facilitators transferred objectives on to classroom data sheets and tested for generalization that week.

    • December: Second generalization check took place

    Timeline con t1

    Timeline (con’t)

    • January: Researchers met with facilitators to discuss project thus far and correct any changes necessary.

    • February: Third generalization check took place

    Timeline con t2

    Timeline (con’t)

    • Early March: Researchers met to discuss aspects of project that were successful vs. not successful and what possible reasons might be.

      • Solutions discussed and changes made accordingly

    • Late March: Fourth generalization check took place.

    Here s what it looked like

    Here’s what it looked like!

    • Video of objective being taught in Project DATA classroom

    • Video of objective being tested in preschool classroom



    • What are elements that seem feasible in your classroom/center?

    • Are there any elements that would not work? Why? How could you problem solve this?

    Now for the fun part

    Now for the fun part…



    Results high functioning

    Results – High Functioning

    Results low functioning

    Results – Low Functioning

    Results discussion

    Results Discussion

    • Data interpretation

      • Students overall generalized at an average rate of 68%

      • High-functioning students generalized at an average rate of 74%

      • Low-functioning students generalized at an average rate of 61%

    Project discussion

    Project Discussion

    • What was successful about the project?

    • Unforeseen challenges?

    Discussion con t

    Discussion (con’t)


    • External vs. natural settings should be as similar as possible (including how testing trials are delivered)

    • Some students showed lower levels of generalization

      • Children with more severe forms of ASD may not generalize as well

    Discussion con t1

    Discussion (con’t)

    • Problems: If buy-in is not there then generalization may not happen with consistency or fidelity.

      • Discussion: How to promote buy-in for generalization and inclusion?

    • How will this continue to inform our future practice?

    • How does this relate to the current state of special education? Is it feasible?

    Thank you

    Thank you!


    Please email us with any additional questions!

    Shannon Crissey – [email protected]

    Erin Greager – [email protected]

    Lisa Pitale – [email protected]

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