Evaluation of a Wearable Activity Schedule for Promoting Independent Play in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Activity schedules are an antecedent intervention in which a series of visual cues, presented typically in booklets or binders, function as prompts for steps in a behavior chain (e.g., classroom routine, playing hide and seek). Although activity schedules are useful in getting individuals to manage their own behaviors, their typical presentation format can be cumbersome and stigmatizing for children placed in general education classrooms, placing additional barriers for independence and inclusion across environments for these children. Some researchers have used electronic devices such as tablets to display activity schedules, and although more socially acceptable, these are still cumbersome for young children and costly for most families. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of a practical and affordable alternative, a wearable device functioning as an activity schedule, to promote independent play in young children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and whether the usefulness of this device will transfer outside the clinic context under the supervision of a caregiver. Results indicated that all three participants had higher levels of on-schedule responding under the watch condition compared to baseline condition. Two of the participants had minor levels of disruption in responding when generalization probes were first introduced but maintained responding at high levels for the remaining of the probes.