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The Effect Of Conversational Skills And Self-Monitoring Training On The Acquisition, Generalization And Maintenance Of Conversational Behaviors Of Elementary Students With Learning-Disabilities

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


This study was designed to investigate the effectiveness of a conversational skills training package (i.e., instruction, modeling, behavior rehearsal and feedback) with elementary students with learning disabilities. Self-monitoring techniques were incorporated into the training program in an attempt to actively program for generalization and maintenance. It was hypothesized that training in self-monitoring techniques would enhance the transfer of the behaviors to the natural environment and increase their durability. Question-asking, information-adding, and use of minimal encouragers were chosen as the conversational skills to be trained as they had been shown to be important for performing successfully within a conversation. A multiple baseline research design was used. The sample consisted of eight elementary school students who had been nominated by their special education teachers and principal as having conversational skill problems. The students were between the ages of ten and twelve years, certified as learning disabled, and mainstreamed for part of their day. The study resulted in a significant increase in the use of the three targeted behaviors in the training setting. The behaviors did not generalize to the regular classrooms, which had been designated as the setting in which to monitor transfer to the natural environment, to the degree hypothesized. In order to find out if this lack of transfer was due to conditions within the classroom, an assessment was taken in another setting. In this one-time, natural environment assessment the three conversational behaviors were used at rates within the normative range or above by all the students. Follow-up assessment in the training setting demonstrated that the effects of the program were durable up to eight weeks.



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