The Effectiveness of the Instructional Programs Based on Self-Management Strategies in Acquisition of Social Skills by the Children with Intellectual Disabilities

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of self-management skills training program, based on self-control strategies, on students with intellectual disabilities. A multiple-probe design across subjects single-subject research methodology was used in this study. Nine students with intellectual disabilities, whose ages are between 10-12, participated in this study. The research findings presented that the self-management skills training program was effective on presenting anger without harming others, solving dissimilarities by talking and solving conflicts without fighting on students with intellectual disabilities and they continued using these skills after the program ended.

Key Words

Intellectual Disabilities, Social Skills, Self-Control Skills, Self-Management Strategies.

Social skills are essential components of initiating and maintaining positive interactions with others. Social skills, defined as acting appropriately regarding the social environment, have a very important role on establishing interpersonal relationships and achieving social goals. Social skills simplify person's expressing their positive and negative emotions in an appropriate way, defending their personal rights, asking for help when needed and rejecting the requests that are not suitable for them (Akçamete & Avcioglu, 2005; Bluestein, 2001; Carroll, 2002; Coleman, 1992; Gresham & MacMillan, 1997; Gresham & Reschly, 1988; Merrell & Gimpell, 1997; Sucuoglu & Çifci, 2001; Vural, 2006; Watkins, 1995).

Many social skills are acquired unconsciously and in a nonsystematic way in peer groups and family environment (Avcioglu, 2005). Children acquire social skills by modeling and observing their families, siblings, peers and other adults. This technique is called as unconscious and nonsystematic way of learning. However, this nonsystematic way of learning does not apply for children with intellectual disabilities. Children with intellectual disabilities cannot acquire social skills by observing their peers without special needs. They are needed to be taught social skills in a systematic way and to be supported on these social skills. Therefore, early intervention of social skills intervention is essential. In the absence of early intervention, they will fall behind their peers on social and academic performances. This shows us the necessity of the social skills programs to provide peer interaction and social integrations for children with intellectual disabilities (Erwin, 2000; Huang & Cuvo, 1997).

Social skills are generally acquired by observing other individuals, modeling and imitating the observed behaviors and making these acquired skills permanent by providing feedbacks. Nowadays, in many developed countries, the importance of social skills is recognized and social skill training is included in educational programs. It is necessary to include the developmental features of students and their performances in social skills training programs. The first step of teaching social skills is to determine where to start the program based on the individual performances and priorities of students. Suitable education programs should be developed after determining priorities for students (Westwood, 1993).

Many correction methods and educational programs based on these methods are used to increase students' social interaction with other students and their peer groups (Elksnin & Elksnin, 1998; Rustin ve Kuhr, 1989). One of the techniques which is used is self-management strategies for that matter. Selfmanagement strategies are alternative strategies to improve academic performance, reduce inappropriate behaviors at school, increase appropriate behaviors and provide generalization of these learned behaviors of students (Boyle & Hughes, 1994; Brigham, 1978; Browder & Shapiro, 1985; Colvin & Sugai, 1988; Heward, 1987; Todd, Horner, & Sugai, 1999). It is a necessity to learn self-management strategies since students' being conscious of their educational process and controlling their learning will improve the generalization of their behaviors (Agran et. …