Date Presented 03/31/2022

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of Communication with Companions, a video modeling program that was designed to prepare high school special education students for the social demands in the transition to adulthood. A pretest-posttest survey design was used with educators and students. The results indicated that the students and educators who participated demonstrated an increase in self-confidence regarding verbal and technological communication skills.

Primary Author and Speaker: Kalifornia Bolter

Additional Authors and Speakers: Natalie Carden, Graycen Russell, Hope Wages, Tina A. Mankey

Occupational therapy can play an important role in the transition to adulthood (Majeski, et. al, 2018). An important skill to help facilitate successful transitions into the community is social awareness. One way to address social awareness and interaction is video modeling which has been found to be an effective intervention strategy for addressing social-communication skills for children and adolescents. To address the social challenges that arise in transitioning out of high school for students involved with special education in one state, the researchers developed the Communication with Companions video modeling program. Communication with Companions is intended to be used as a group intervention strategy that aims at teaching social skills to students with an occupational therapy perspective.

PURPOSE: This study evaluated the efficacy of Communication with Companions, an occupation-based video-modeling transition program focused on the utilization of appropriate social skills with students with disabilities in a group setting who are of transition age in the school environment.

DESIGN: This study used a quantitative survey design with pre- and post-tests with the educators and students. This design was selected as the most appropriate for the study due to cost, availability and ease of completion, and time involved for the participants.

METHOD: Communication with Companions contains two modules (verbal and technological) and was implemented over a five week period. Five high school self-contained special education classrooms with 39 students in the state participated in the study as a part of their typical classroom activities. The surveys used a Likert scale for answering, ranging from not confident (1) to very confident (5). In addition, an associated emoji scale was provided on the student surveys to visually aid in the selection of the rating that best describes the individual’s feelings about the question. Pretests were taken followed by the use of the video modeling and practice sessions for both modules. The post tests were taken the completion of the respective module.

RESULTS: A dependent t-test for the pre- and post tests of the students on both modules were not significant. However according to descriptive statistics, the students’ confidence levels increased slightly in their verbal and technological communication skills after participating in program. Student participants also experienced an increase in their self-confidence regarding their verbal and technological communication skills and remarks from the educators indicated that it was an effective way to teach social transitions and was a positive addition to their classroom curriculum. The educators’ surveys were analyzed using descriptive statistics due to the number of subjects. The educators’ confidence levels increased in each student’s ability to apply verbal and technological communication techniques taught in the program.

CONCLUSION: The students who were involved with this study were better equipped and demonstrated more understanding of the social opportunities available to them. The findings of this study indicate that the use of video modeling to facilitate social interactions can be an effective intervention strategy for transition aged students. Occupational therapists working in the school setting can play an important role in building social skills that would facilitate a more successful transition to the community.


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