ASSESSING THE RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY OF

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ASSESSING THE RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY OF SAA RED, AN INTERPERSONAL INTERACTION MODEL DESIGNED TO ASSIST THOSE WITH ASPERGER’S SYNDROME by RACHELE JAYNE JONES, B.A., M.A. A DISSERTATION IN SPECIAL EDUCATION Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Texas Tech University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR OF EDUCATION Approved Carol Layton Chairperson of the Committee

Robin Lock Nora Griffin Shirley David Roach

Accepted John Borrelli Dean of the Graduate School

May, 2006

 2006 Ráchele Jayne Jones, M.A.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Years of work on SAA RED have produced within me a great appreciation for many individuals. As Robert F. Kennedy once stated, “Some men see things as they are and ask, Why? I dream things that never were and ask, Why not?” I am very grateful to Dr. Carol Layton, Dr. Nora Griffin-Shirley, and Dr. David Roach for enduring my many questions. With their superior guidance, I was able to look in the best places for the answers for SAA RED. Dr. Robin Lock and Dr. Carol Layton offered a great amount of grammatical assistance for the writing of this text, without them, I would still be attempting to perfect the contents. I wish to thank Dr. Don Williams from Lubbock Christian University for believing in me long before I ever believed in myself. He was willing to see beyond my peculiarities to my potential, thank you. I also wish to thank my children and my husband for supporting me through the years of education and the piles of homework. They also inspired me to reach farther and attempt more so that I could make a difference in the lives of others. Due to their love and confidence, the long hours sifting through journals and theories was productive. Finally, I wish to thank anyone reading this text. It is for you that this labor of love was created so that you too can make a difference in the life of another.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

ii

ABSTRACT

vii

LIST OF TABLES

viii

LIST OF FIGURES

ix

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTION

1

Asperger’s Syndrome

2

Communication Difficulties

4

Context Surrounding Asperger’s Syndrome The Epidemic

7 7

Autistic Culture Autistic Benefits Autistic Leadership Changing Names Seeking a Cure Murder of Autistics Humanizing Autism Autism Seeks a Voice

9 11 12 13 14 17 21 21

Rational

24

The Problem

26

Purpose of the Study

26

Research Questions

27

Theoretical Framework

27

Assumptions

28

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II.

Definitions of Terms

28

Limitations

31

Significance of the Study

31

Organization of the Study

31

Summary

32

LITERATURE REVIEW

33

Asperger’s Syndrome Diagnostic Criteria Causes of Asperger’s Area of Interest

33 33 35 36

Difficulties Aggression Aggression at Falmouth Sensory Issues Communicative Expectations Social Isolation

38 39 40 41 42 43

Interventions

45

SAA RED Dramatism Interaction Adaptation Theory Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory SAA RED Pilot Study Participants Methodology for Pilot Results from Pilot

51 51 53 54 57 58 58 63

Reliability & Validity

70

Research Questions

72

Summary

72

v

III.

IV.

V.

METHODOLOGY

74

Participants Gender of Neuro-Typicals Disability Issues Marital Status Educational Demographics

74 75 75 79 80

Participants for Reliability and Internal Validity Diagnosis Demographics

81 81 82

External Validity Participants Demographics

82 83

Instruments

83

NT Baseline Procedures

85

Reliability and Internal Validity Procedures

86

External Validity Procedures

90

Summary

91

ANALYSIS AND RESULTS

92

Reliability Effect Size for SAA RED Groups Effect Size for Neuro-typical Baseline Confidence Intervals

93 93 101 102

Internal Validity

104

External Validity Workshop Results

108 108

Summary

110

DISCUSSION

112

Reliability Variances Between Youth & Adult Further Comparing Youth & Adult

vi

113 114 117

Internal Validity

121

External Validity

126

Limitations

127

Future Research

128

Summary

129

REFERENCES

131

APPENDIX A. FIND THE COMMUNICATION DETAILS

138

B. SELF-PERCEIVED COMMUNICATION COMPETENCE SCALE

141

C. SAA RED WORKBOOK

143

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ABSTRACT SAA RED, an interpersonal interaction model primarily based on communication theories, was created to assist individuals on the autism spectrum to build and maintain relationships. The purpose of study was to investigate the internal and external validity of SAA RED in order to better assess SAA RED’s worth. IDEA 2004 states that teacher preparation should include “the use of scientifically based instructional practices, to the maximum extent possible;” (IDEA 2004, §682(c)(5)(E)). The concept of scientifically based implies that these practices have been shown to have strong reliability and validity. Reliability refers to the confidence one can have that the instrument will have the same results with little variation over time demonstrated with stability of results (Frey, Botan, Kreps, 2000; Overton, 2003). Validity seeks to discover how well the assessment measures what it is supposed to measure. Within validity scores one can test for internal and external validity. Internal validity discovers whether the model was “designed and conducted such that it leads to accurate findings about the phenomena being investigated for the particular group of people” (Frey, et al., 2000, p. 109). While external validity answers the question “how generalizable are the results?” (Frey, et al., 2000). In order for a program to be generalizable, the program must be replicable.

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LIST OF TABLES

2.1

WISC-IV Technical Report

35

3.1

Neuro-typical Participants

76

3.2

SPCC Descriptive Statistics

84

3.3

High and Low Means

85

4.1

Youth SPCC Descriptive Statistics

94

4.2

Adult SPCC Descriptive Statistics

95

4.3

SAA RED Comparative Means

100

4.4

Test of Homogeneity of Variances

102

4.5

Confidence Intervals for NT Baseline

103

4.6

Comparative Mean Baselines

104

5.1

Comparing Group Differences

115

5.2

Comparing Differences

117

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LIST OF FIGURES

1.1

Fighting Autism

16

1.2

Autism Liberation Front buttons

22

4.1

Youth & Adult Total SPCC

96

4.2

Youth & Adult Stranger SPCC

97

4.3

Youth & Adult Acquaintance SPCC

98

4.4

Youth & Adult Friends SPCC

99

4.5

Workshop Results

109

5.1

Speaking with Strangers

118

5.2

Speaking with Acquaintances

119

5.3

Speaking with Friends

120

5.4

Total SPCC

121

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CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION

SAA RED, a communication theory based interaction model, originally was created with an emphasis on assisting those with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). The primary reason for this emphasis was that the individual writing this text has two sons and a husband with AS and has Asperger’s Syndrome herself. However, it was not until one beautiful Saturday morning in April 2002, when one of the sons stated that he wished he were dead because he was so alone that the need for such an interaction model became real for this researcher. When it had become apparent that there were no quick fixes for this dire situation, this researcher asked her son if he would give her a year to find a way to assist him interacting with others. He replied, “You have 364 days, 23 hours, and 55 seconds” as a means of agreeing to give his mother the year requested. The creation process of SAA RED took approximately one year of in-depth research into various theories available for this researcher to discover Burke’s Dramatistic Theory and Burgoon’s Interaction Adaptation Theory. Although the mixing of rhetorical theory and social theory was not common, these particular theories appeared to be a good blend. In an effort to assess the viability of SAA RED, Texas Tech University granted permission from the Office of Research Services to test the effectiveness of SAA RED on four volunteer participants between the ages of 12 to 17 in the Fall of 2003. Over the eight weeks that SAA RED was taught, great changes occurred within the participants (Jones, 2004).

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Through using SAA RED, the participants, all individuals diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, learned to decipher which details within the interaction were most important to focus on and to experience successful interaction. One of the exciting side notes concerning SAA RED was that those learning SAA RED were encouraged to use the model as a tool. No pressure was exerted on the participants to use SAA RED all the time. The opportunity allowed participants to use SAA RED when they wanted to interact, to use their own cognitive abilities and choices, which effectively empowered the participants. Asperger’s Syndrome Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), a neurobiological difficulty is placed on the autism spectrum, and consists of a combination of genetic, neurological, and communication aspects that directly affect daily living. According to Miles, Takahashi, Bagby, Sahota, Vaslow, Wang, Hillman, and Farmer (2005) Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism need to be grouped together and referred to as essential autism. Moderate and Severe Autism should be combined to compose what they referred to as complex autism (Miles, et al., 2005). In addition to the altered categorizations of autism, molecular geneticists have indicated a possible genetic connection of autism spectrum disorders (VeenstraVanderWeele & Cook, 2004). However, due to the “pattern of sharply increasing risk for first-degree relatives and monozygotic twins relative to the population, prevalence does not fit a simple dominant or recessive model, but indicates the involvement of multiple genes interacting with one another” (Veenstra-VanderWeele et al., 2004, p. 819). The

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chromosomes of interest included: 7q21-22, 7q32-36, and “15q11-13 as the most frequent chromosomal anomaly in ASD” (Veenstra-VanderWeele et al., 2004, p. 821). The latest findings indicated mutations in the NLGN4 protein that “appeared on chromosome Xp22.33, in an X-specific region near the junction of the pseudoautosomal region” (Veenstra-VanderWeele et al., 2004, p. 822). Additional information indicated that due in part to these genetic differences, neurological differences existed within AS. One neurological difference noted was the possibility of seizures within the AS population. According to Kagan-Kushnir, Roberts, and Snead (2005) seizures were found to be common in people on the autism spectrum, occurring with a frequency of 20 to 30%. Kagan-Kushnir, et al., (2005) also stated that electroencephalogram (EEG) abnormalities occurred in 10.3% to 72.4% of individuals on the autism spectrum. According to Reinhold, Molloy, and Manning-Courtney (2005) 27% of children on the autism spectrum had an abnormal EEG. Finally Miles, et al., (2005) found a 30% rate of individuals with essential autism having an abnormal EEG. Through brain-mapping Klin, Volkmar, and Sparrow (2000) discovered that the frontal lobe of the brain, where executive functioning and nonverbal cue decoding occurred in people with AS, did not form in the same manner as the average brain. The average brain decoded nonverbal cues in 1/20th of a second in the frontal lobe (Burgoon, Stern, & Dillman, 1995). The person with AS processes nonverbal cues in the temporal lobe of the brain where most of the logical processing occurred in the brain. Klin, et al., (2000) found that the temporal lobe of the AS brain contained more neuronal pathways than the average brain so it took longer for messages to make it through the temporal lobe

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(Klin, Volkmar, & Sparrow, 2000; Tanguay, 2002). In correlation with Klin’s and others’ discoveries about the AS temporal lobe, the Weschsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fourth Edition (WISC-IV) intelligence test’s Technical Report #3 showed the average Processing Speed Index for those with AS was 86.5 (p86 85 90 93 79 92 99 87

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