• A Qualitative Study: Perspectives from students with autism on classroom environmental adaptations for the enhancement of attention and engagement during learning tasks

      Kinnealey, Moya; Pfeiffer, Beth (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)
      This qualitative study explores the effects of environmental adaptations of a classroom on the attention of students with autism. The purpose of the study was to explore the effects of the changes as perceived by the four participants. The study is part of a larger study exploring the effects of environmental adaptation of a classroom on the attention/engagement of students with autism. The specific adaptations are the installment of sound absorbing walls and the installation of halogen lighting in a classroom with the Owens Corning Basement Finishing System™. The participants were four boys with a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) who were between the ages of twelve and twenty-one years of age and had attended the school for more than one year. The study is a multiple single subject A-B- +(B+C) design. The study took place over a six week period with 3 phases of two weeks each. Phase (A) was baseline assessment of students in their assigned classroom, phase B followed the installation of sound absorbing walls using the Owens Corning Basement Finishing System™ and phase three was following the installation of halogen lighting. Journaling was the qualitative, phenomenological method used in which all participants, in their own `voice' could provide feedback on the baseline phase (pre-modifications) post- wall phase and post- lighting phase. The results of the journaling provided insight into individual student and cross-student themes, chief among them: post-modifications 3 of 4 participants provided comments on improved ability to perform on learning tasks, the same 3 participants provided positive emotional responses following modifications. One clinical implication is the importance of obtaining a first-person perspective from ASD students for both researches as well as in the classroom.