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Title page for ETD etd-06162010-095750

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Fisher, Marisa Helene
URN etd-06162010-095750
Title Teaching young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to respond appropriately to lures from strangers
Degree PhD
Department Special Education
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Robert M. Hodapp Committee Chair
Bruce E. Davis Committee Member
Carolyn Hughes Committee Member
Joseph H. Wehby Committee Member
Julie L. Taylor Committee Member
  • self-protection skills
  • abuse
  • vulnerability
Date of Defense 2010-06-07
Availability unrestricted
As young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are particularly vulnerable to being taken advantage of, safety training is needed to teach appropriate responding to lures from strangers. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a 2-phase training to teach 5 young adults with IDD to respond appropriately to lures from strangers. In Phase 1, behavior skills training (BST) was used to teach participants to say “no”, walk away, and tell an adult in response to a lure from a stranger. Participants rehearsed the safety responses through 5 role-plays during daily classroom sessions. Once criterion was met, Phase 2 training was conducted in situ; participants completed 5 role-plays in community settings every 1-2 days. The safety skill of walking away from the stranger was measured during baseline, generalization, and maintenance through in situ assessments. For each in situ assessment, the participant was left alone in a community setting; a confederate stranger approached the participant, presented a lure, and waited for a response. Participants were unaware they were being tested. Results indicate that prior to training, participants did not walk away from confederate strangers. Skills were quickly acquired during Phase 1 role-play, with participants meeting criterion within 3-4 sessions. In situ assessments conducted during Phase 1 and prior to the start of Phase 2 indicated that participants still did not always walk away from the confederate stranger. During Phase 2, participants again quickly met criterion and independently walked away during 80% of role-play scenarios within 3 in situ training sessions. Generalization increased throughout Phase 2. All participants learned to walk away after completing Phase 2 and skills maintained up to 3 months after training. This study extends the literature to teaching young adults with IDD to responds appropriately to lures from strangers, decreasing the risk of being taken advantage of.
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