Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #280
Activity as an Antecedent Intervention to Enhance Academic Performance
Monday, May 29, 2006
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: David L. Lee (Pennsylvania State University)
Discussant: Janice A. Grskovic (Indiana University Northwest)
Abstract: According to the optimal stimulation theory, individuals engage in instrumental behavior to help regulate levels of stimulation (Leuba, 1955). More recently researchers have applied this biobehavioral theory in an effort to explain the behavior of students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. In a series of studies over the past 25 years Zentall and colleagues found that children with ADHD require higher levels of stimulation and habituate to that stimulation more quickly than typical peers. One way to help children with ADHD remain on-task is to create tasks that contain high levels of stimulation and novelty. The purpose of this symposium is to present three studies that investigated the effects of fine and gross motor activity, as well as auditory stimulation on academic performance. Results will be discussed in terms of stimulation acting as a possible motivating operation for students with ADHD.
The Effects of Activity on the Math Performance of Students with ADHD.
KATIE E. HILDEBRAND (Pennsylvania State University), David L. Lee (Pennsylvania State University), Youjia Hua (Pennsylvania State University), Mandy J. Kubo (Pennsylvania State University)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of embedding physical activity into academic assignments on behavior and academic responding during a math task. Several middle school students with ADHD were asked to complete math problem cards in two conditions. In the traditional condition students were given a large stack of cards and asked to work continuously for 15 minutes. In the activity condition students were asked to complete a similar set of cards. However, the students had to walk approximately 1 m - 3 m to obtain new problem cards. Results suggest that adding activity can reduce off-task behaviors (i.e., visually off-task, movement, talking, etc.) and help students maintain their rate of completion. The distance required to retrieve problem cards may also have affected student behavior. Results are discussed in terms of activity serving as a motivating operation that may affect reinforcers typically found in academic settings (e.g., problem completion).
The Effects of Auditory vs. Fine Motor Tactile Stimulation on the Problem Solving of Students with ADHD.
STACEY I. EMMERT (WCISSC/Buttler University), Suneeta Kercood (Butler University), Janice A. Grskovic (Indiana University Northwest)
Abstract: Students with ADHD exhibit increased verbalizations, motor activity, and lower levels of sustained attention during routine repetitive tasks (Zentall & Zentall, 1983). Use of large muscle activity, such as running (Bass, 1983), and fine motor activity (Grskovic et al., 2004) results in increased sustained attention and reduction of excessive motor and problem behavior for students with ADHD. A modified alternating treatments design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of auditory and fine motor physical activity during a math problem-solving task. Four students with ADHD were asked to solve math story problems presented on worksheets during two conditions for 20-minute sessions. In Condition 1, students were presented with a tactile stimulation object (squoosh ball). In Condition 2, students were asked to wear headphones with soft music playing while solving math problems. Motor behavior and the number of correctly completed word problems were measured. Results suggest that both the fine motor manipulation and auditory stimulation reduced excessive motor movement and increased task completion of students with ADHD relative to their performance in a low stimulation condition.
Distractibility in the Classroom: Effects of Fine Motor Activity on Mathematics Performance.
SUNEETA KERCOOD (Butler University), Janice A. Grskovic (Indiana University Northwest)
Abstract: Students with ADHD often have difficulty with sustained attention. They are easily distracted and respond impulsively. Research based on the optimal stimulation theory has demonstrated the effects of activity on reducing excessive verbal and motor behavior. Prior research that utilized fine motor activity showed gains in problem solving accuracy and lower levels of off-task behavior during math problem solving. However, in that study, performances were measured in a non-applied setting (not the classroom) and the writing requirements of the task may have competed with the fine motor manipulation of the simulation activity. This study evaluated the effects of the same fine motor activity (i.e., squoosh ball) on sustained attention, behavior, and performance of students with ADHD during a verbal math problem-solving task.



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