Recent Submissions

  • The individual and combined effects of creatine monohydrate and lithium chloride supplementation on brain creatine uptake in male and female rats.

    Murphy, Jensen; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    During ischemia and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), phosphocreatine (PCr) acts as a temporal energy buffer preventing rapid decreases in intracellular ATP concentrations. Though, the brain has limited stored creatine and it therefore relies heavily on exogenous substrates. Moreover, creatine monohydrate (CrM) supplementation can significantly increase brain total creatine concentration (TCr). Creatine’s ability to enter the brain is dependent on creatine transporters, and limited evidence suggests lithium (Li), through GSK3 inhibition, upregulates this transport. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to investigate the individual and combined influences of in vivo creatine monohydrate and lithium chloride on creatine concentrations in the rat brain. 64 Sprague-Dawley rats (32 males, 32 females), given ad libitum access to a pelleted 14% certified protein rodent maintenance diet, were randomized into four experimental groups: control (CON), creatine (Cr), lithium (Li), and creatine-lithium (Cr-Li). CrM at 5g/L (0.412g/kg/day) and lithium chloride (LiCl) at 0.2g/L (0.018g/kg/day) were supplemented in the reverse osmosis drinking water. Brain [TCr] was greater with LiCl (p=0.0002), irrespective of CrM, and greater with CrM (p<0.0001), irrespective of LiCl. For slc6a8 mRNA expression, there was a trend for increased expression with LiCl (p=0.12). The female Li group also had a trend greater (p=0.06) than the Cr group. Relative daily CrM consumption was higher without LiCl (p<0.0001) and higher in females (p=0.0001). Relative daily LiCl consumption was higher among females than males (p<0.0001). LiCl inhibited GSK3 activity through an increase in pGSK3a, pGSK3b, ratio of pGSK3a:GSK3a, and ratio of pGSK3b:GSK3b and there was a trend for reduced total GSK3 activity (p=0.11) with LiCl. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that CrM and LiCl supplementation alone and in combination similarly increased brain TCr, with no synergistic or additive effects when combined.
  • Integrating Behavioral Skills Training within an E-Learning Modality to Train Volunteers Working with Neurodiverse Populations

    Young, Kirsten; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    People supporting neurodiverse populations (often volunteers) must acquire adequate training on instructional strategies to ensure the safety of the people they support and those around them. While behavioral skills training (BST) is an empirically validated training framework, it has some resource constraints such as requiring an experienced trainer. Adapting a BST framework for an interactive mobile application (app) to train volunteers may increase their ability to accurately implement a set of pre-determined target behaviours with fewer resources needed. This evaluation included two studies. In Study 1 the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with volunteers with experience in an adaptive physical activity program to inform app training content. Experienced volunteers indicated three skills they wanted to receive training on to support neurodiverse people (visual schedules, modeling, and high-probability instructional sequence). In Study 2 a multiple probe design across behaviours was used to assess the efficacy of the app for teaching the three target skills to two novel volunteers. Direct observations were conducted virtually to determine the efficacy of the app for increasing volunteers’ performance accuracy on the pre-determined skills. Both participants demonstrated increased performance accuracy of each target skill following relatively brief interaction with the app. They also reported that they found the app to be acceptable and showed improvement on pre-and post- quizzes after using the app. These results suggest preliminary evidence of the efficacy and acceptability of providing training via an interactive technological platform (using BST) for volunteers working with neurodiverse populations.
  • Exploring Fan Experience with Multiple Cases of Relocation and Expansion

    Parent, Brett; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Current literature surrounding sport team relocation and expansion only examines a fan’s experience with one relocation or expansion at one point of time. With relocation and expansion being a commonality in the sports industry, there are many sports fan who have experienced multiple cases of relocations and expansion. Experiencing multiple relocations and expansions may also expose individuals to teams at varying levels of play. In Canada alone, 17 cities have hosted both a hockey team at the professional minor-league and amateur major-junior level at different points in time. To examine this phenomena, 12 individuals from Belleville, Ontario were interviewed, as Belleville has had four cases of relocation and expansion in their surrounding region in the last 40 years. These participants demonstrated four themes that suggest that experiencing multiple relocations and expansions has a lasting impact on their fan behaviour and attitudes. First, participants suggested that geography, distinctiveness, and exposure at a young age acted as a motivation to cheer for a newly established team, while existing team allegiances acted as a barrier. Second, participants discussed the unique consumption strategies they used to maintain an identity with a relocated team, such as following ex-players, recalling memories, and incorporating the relocated team into their present-day activities. Third, participants outlined the different points of attachment they developed with an amateur team versus a minor league team, as well as the points of detachment that they claimed to have with minor league hockey. Lastly, participants suggested that they have experienced six changes in perspectives towards teams, leagues, and hockey.
  • Effects of a Brief Mobile Mindfulness Application on Mindful Parenting, Noncompliance of Children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder, Perceived Parenting Stress, and Parent-Child Interactions

    Phan, Jean; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at an increased risk of stress, anxiety, depression, and caregiver burnout compared to parents of children without ASD. These risks remain stable over time due to the pervasiveness of autism and its associated behavioural challenges. Parent-focused mindfulness-based interventions have been shown to positively impact parenting behaviour, behavioural difficulties of children with ASD, parenting stress, and parent-child interactions. Research examining the impact of mobile mindfulness application interventions on parenting children with ASD is needed. In the current study, we used an AB design (pilot) followed by a nonconcurrent multiple baseline design to examine the effects of Headspace®, a mindfulness mobile application (app), on mindful parenting vocal statements, child noncompliance, parenting stress, and parent-child interactions of three parents and their children with or without ASD. Behavioural observations and self-report data were collected throughout the study. Behavioural data indicated an increase in the mean level of mindful parenting vocal statements per minute from baseline to intervention phases. Relative to baseline, parent-reported mindful parenting and positive parent-child interactions increased for two parents and parenting stress decreased for two parents. Parent-child observational data demonstrated a variable decreasing trend in child noncompliance across two participants and a decrease in parent reactivity. Overall, these findings suggest that Headspace® is a promising tool for improving mindful parenting behaviours, parent-reported parenting stress, child noncompliance, and parent-child interactions. Future studies should consider evaluating the effects of a parent-targeted virtual self-guided mindful parenting intervention and its effects on both parent and child outcomes.
  • Winemaking techniques to manage tannins of Cabernet sauvignon and Pinot noir wines made in Ontario, Canada

    Marcotte, Charlene; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Seed tannins are responsible for the bitter and astringent mouthfeel in red wines (Smith et al., 2015; Arnold et al., 1980). Skin tannins are mostly responsible for colour stability of red wines (Kennedy, 2008). Tannins are present in different amount in the grape berries, and they vary in concentration from one variety to another (Bautista-Ortin, 2005; Kennedy, 2008). This project, which is part of a bigger project called TanninAlert: Improve Ontario red wine quality and consumer acceptance through winemaking techniques by grape variety and tannin level, aims to define winemaking techniques that improve the skin tannin extraction while minimizing seed tannin extraction in order to improve the color and mouthfeel of red wine produced in Ontario. Winemaking techniques were selected based on the concentration of skin and seed tannins in the grapes at harvest. Pinot noir and Cabernet sauvignon have been the focus of this study for two vintages (2019 and 2020). The data collected through out ripening contributed to the categorization of the tannin in Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir on a scale from low to high. Specific winemaking techniques were applied to each of the varieties. For Pinot noir wines, the focus was put on the addition of skin tannins and two kinds of macerating enzymes: LAFASE He Grand Cru (Laffort, France) and ULTRASI DarkBerry (A.O. Wilson, Canada). Results showed no significant impact on total extractable tannin extraction in the wine when skin tannin were added. On the other hand, a significant increase in total extractable tannins was observed when pectolytic enzymes were added during fermentation. The addition of the DarkBerry enzyme showed the best tannin retention over time in the wines. For Cabernet Sauvignon, juice removal (Saignée 14%), pre-fermentation pressing of berries and addition of DarkBerry enzyme were studied. Results from the Saignée treatment were inconclusive; it increased the extraction in 2019, but not in 2020. The pre-fermentation pressing of the grapes showed no impact on total extractable tannins. When both treatments (Saignée + addition of DarkBerry enzyme) were applied to the wines, the total extractable tannin concentration was significantly higher than in the control wines.
  • Children with Neurodevelopmental and Behavioural Challenges: A Descriptive Case Study Examining the Integration of Dance and Behaviour Therapy Within Day Treatment

    Kalil, Dana; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Dance is a form of physical activity that may improve motor skills and coordination while simultaneously providing opportunities for social interaction and promote development of socio-emotional skills. A manualized program, Dance with a B-E-A-T! (behaviour analysis and therapy), combines recreational dance with components of behaviour analysis and therapy to help facilitate improvements in motor skills, social skills, emotional regulation, and self-coping. Building on a pilot study completed by Davis et al. (in progress), the present study evaluated a similar program incorporating behavioural components such as antecedent strategies, positive reinforcement, a token economy, relaxation strategies and positive self-talk. In collaboration with day treatment staff of a mental health centre, the dance program was integrated within children’s day treatment. The intensive dance program was offered for five consecutive days to five participants with behavioural challenges (7-9 years) from the same day treatment cohort. The aim of this project was to use a blended behaviour therapy and dance program to teach three dance combinations and examine collateral benefits. Observational probes at pre and post-test measured percent of dance skills completed correctly, and in-person semi-structured interviews with the counsellor and elementary school teacher evaluated satisfaction of the program within day treatment. Results suggested a positive impact on the physical and social skills of participants; increased physical activity and bidirectional use of socio-emotional skills.
  • Acquisition of Joint Attention Skills in Children with Cortical Visual Impairment

    Keith, Avery; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Joint attention (JA) is a skill that is essential to children’s later social and language development. Previous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of various behavioural teaching strategies in increasing children’s responses and initiations of bids for joint attention. However, research has predominantly relied on gaze alternation to evaluate the attainment of joint attention. This is problematic as gaze alternation is not the only method of demonstrating the skill; other sensory modalities can also serve the same function. Accordingly, research on the ability to engage in bids for joint attention is scarce among the child population with cortical visual impairment (CVI). Despite the scarcity, theories suggest children with visual impairment can learn joint attention skills through enriching social experiences. Furthermore, competent caregivers could facilitate these positive experiences by means of body contact, verbalizations, and activities involving singing and rhythm. In the current study, we examined the effectiveness of caregiver-implemented behavioural teaching strategies to teach children with CVI to engage in joint attention related skills. A multiple baseline design across subjects was used with three children between 3-4 years with CVI. In addition, pre to post changes in children’s engagement in joint attention were monitored. The caregiver-implemented behavioural teaching strategies were highly effective in increasing two target JA-related behaviours for one of three participants. Further, the study offers preliminary evidence that JA performance can generalize to a novel caregiver. Potential implications of the study involve allowing for children with CVI to experience more positive social experiences and improving parent-child socialization and play.
  • Understanding Belongingness in Schools for Disabled Students Who Require a High Level of Support

    Primeau, Katherine; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    The principles and practices of belonging are at the heart of inclusion (Slee, 2019, p. 917). The concept of belonging allows for a broadening of the debates around the inclusion/exclusion binary (Mee & Wright, 2009, p. 774). The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how processes of belongingness do and do not occur in schools for disabled students. A critical disability studies orientation guided the project, specifically, Meekosha and Shuttleworth’s (2017) four principles of CDS. The research questions were: (1) How do the students I work with (autistic students with IDD) develop a sense of belongingness in classrooms and school spaces? (2) What are the conditions in schools that allow belongingness to flourish? (3) What are the conditions in schools that prevent processes of belongingness from occurring? The study was influenced by Jean Clandinin and Micheal Connolly’s conceptual framework for narrative inquiry. G. Thomas Couser’s six guidelines for disability life writing and representation were used as a standard for the construction of the participant narratives. I examined the experiences of two interview participants—an autistic young adult, and a school principal with two disabled daughters. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the interviews and construct themes. Based on the themes, I composed narratives in which I quoted the participants verbatim. Each interview resulted in its own themes, along with one similarity and two differences between the interviews, in relation to the research questions. I further reflected on these findings and their implications for my teaching practice as a special education teacher. The final discussion section answers the research questions through my findings from the participants, which are contextualized in relevant literature and CDS concepts.
  • Assessing a Modified TAGteach Procedure to Increase Accurate and Fluent Performance of Gymnastics Skills in Children via Synchronous Videoconferencing

    Bajcar, Nicole; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Sports offer children and youth opportunities to experience the physiological, physical, and psychological benefits of physical activity; however, in sports like gymnastics, injuries are quite common (Caine, 2003). Therefore, it is essential for coaches to teach athletes proper technique to prevent injury. TAGteach is an intervention package that uses an audible stimulus to provide immediate feedback following the correct performance of a skill (Fogel et al., 2010). To date, no study has (a) evaluated the effectiveness of TAGteach to enhance the fluency of dynamic sports skills or (b) conducted TAGteach remotely via a synchronous videoconferencing platform. We used a concurrent multiple baseline across skills design to evaluate the effectiveness of a modified TAGteach procedure to improve the accuracy and fluent performance of three dynamic gymnastics skills through synchronous videoconferencing with four participants between the ages of 6–11 years. For all participants, the modified TAGteach intervention package increased the accurate and fluent performance of all gymnastics skills, and these gymnastics skills maintained for a minimum of 4 weeks. Results are discussed within the context of intervention implications and suggestions for future research.
  • Assessing the Utility of a Video-Based Motion Capture Alternative in the Assessment of Lumbar Spine Planar Angular Joint Kinematics

    Goncharow, Paul; Applied Health Sciences Program
    Markerless motion capture is a novel technique to measure human movement kinematics. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the markerless algorithm, DeepLabCut (DLC) against a 3D motion capture system (Vicon Motion Systems Ltd., Oxford, UK) in the analysis of planar spine and elbow flexion-extension movement. Data were acquired concurrently from DLC and Vicon for all movements. A novel DLC model was trained using data derived from a subset of participants (training group). Accuracy and precision were assessed from data derived from the training group as well as in a new set of participants (testing group). Two-way SPM ANOVAs were used to detect significant differences between the training vs. testing sets, capture methods (Vicon vs. DLC), as well as potential higher order interaction effect between these independent variables in the estimation of flexion extension angles and variability. No significant differences were observed in any planar angles, nor were any higher order interactions observed between each motion capture modality and the training vs. testing datasets. Bland Altman plots were also generated to depict the mean bias and level of agreement between DLC and Vicon for both training, and testing datasets. Supplemental analyses, suggest that these results are partially affected by the alignment of each participant’s body segments with respect to each planar reference frame. This research suggests that DLC-derived planar kinematics of both the elbow and lumbar spine are of acceptable accuracy and precision when compared to conventional laboratory gold-standards (Vicon).
  • An Exploration of Post-Secondary Students’ Use of an Online Pledge Program to Improve Wellbeing

    Robinson, Meghan; Applied Health Sciences Program
    BACKGROUND: Increasing numbers of post-secondary students report that their stress is so overwhelming it inhibits their academic achievement and impacts their health. On campus, traditional, clinical paradigms for managing mental health by treating individuals already experiencing breakdowns in their ability to cope are no longer keeping pace with need. Adding more accessible, non-clinical interventions that focus on prevention and build individual, collective, and institutional well-being have the potential to enhance students’ capacity for managing significant stressors. This study explores university students’ participation in a new online wellness intervention that uses theory-informed, evidence-based pledges to build coping, caring, and connecting practices. METHODS: Between September 2020 and June 2021, in response to promotional campaigns for the intervention, 966 unique visitors accessed the intervention (website) 2,124 times. 114 individuals completed the brief, researcher-designed online survey assessing demographic characteristics, academic standing, substance use behaviours, and which one of the nine pledges they selected; 89 met eligibility criteria of being Brock students and were included in the study. RESULTS: The final sample consisted of 86.5% female-identifying participants, with an average age of 21.5 years. 21.3% were first-year students. 48.3% reported an average grade between 65-79%; none reported an average grade less than 65%. Past-month alcohol and cannabis consumption was lower than what might be expected in typical post-secondary populations. 69.7% made a pledge that could help themselves cope with their stress (with most choosing to use positive affirmations or intentionally spend time in nature). 16.9% pledged to commit an action that showed others they cared. 13.5% made a pledge that could help make their institution a better place to be. All pledges were selected at least once. Pledge choice was not associated with demographic, academic or substance use characteristics. CONCLUSIONS: This small, preliminary study suggests this online pledge initiative should be further investigated with larger, more diverse samples as a promising avenue to build students’ capacity to cope with stress and form caring and supportive connections on campus. It offers ideas for feasible and low-cost structural changes institutions can make to support the wellbeing of all students.
  • Burnout of Direct Support Workers of Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: A Systematic Review

    Soucie-Vukmanich, Katelyn; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Several work-related, client-related, and personal stressors have shown to increase burnout levels of developmental support workers (DSWs) who support adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). These stressors have included work overload, control, client challenging behaviour, job satisfaction, and much more. However, a previous systematic review by Skirrow and Hatton (2007) reported that there remain no conclusive results about which variables trigger the development of burnout in this population and they reported that burnout levels of this population is average and comparable to other human service professions. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and the methods of Skirrow and Hatton (2007), a systematic review of the literature was completed which reports the consistencies and magnitudes of correlations and predictors of burnout in the population of DSWs supporting adults with IDDs. Classical meta-regression analyses and forest plots were also completed and analyzed to compare the difference in burnout levels in the review completed by Skirrow and Hatton (2007) compared to the sample of burnout levels in this review. The results show that there are several variables which were consistently significantly associated with burnout of this population across studies while other variables were inconsistent in their association with burnout across the studies. For burnout levels, it was found that both emotional exhaustion and personal accomplishment scores have significantly worsened since Skirrow and Hatton’s (2007) review while depersonalization scores have improved. Overall, this research shows the vast array of variables which can impact the development of burnout, where client and work-related variables appear to have a more significant impact on burnout development than personal characteristics of DSWs.
  • An Evaluation of Video Prompting Procedures to Teach First Aid Skills to Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    Sureshkumar, Brittney; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Unintentional injuries are one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). First aid training involves teaching critical first aid skills, some of which are designed to treat unintentional injuries. To date, no study has (a) evaluated the effects of video prompting procedures to teach first aid skills to children with IDD or (b) attempted to teach these skills to children using a telehealth delivery format. We used a concurrent multiple baseline across skills design to evaluate the effectiveness of video prompting procedures via telehealth to teach five children with IDD to perform first aid on themselves for insect stings, minor cuts, and minor burns under simulated conditions. For all participants, training resulted in large improvements, which maintained for a minimum of 4 weeks. Further, effects of the training generalized to novel confederates for all participants, and these effects maintained for a minimum of 4 weeks. In addition, participants and their caregivers expressed high satisfaction with the video prompting procedures and telehealth experience.
  • General Case Training via Telehealth for Parents of Young Children At-Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Shingleton-Smith, Claire; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Research indicates that young children at-risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show developmental improvements with the implementation of a parent training intervention, although evidence of parent generalization to novel skills is inconsistent. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects on generalization of a parent-mediated early intervention using general case training (GCT) combined with behaviour skills training (BST) via telehealth for young children at-risk for ASD. Six parent-child dyads participated in total. Child target skills were identified through the Parent Observation of Early Markers Scale and confirmed through direct observation. Nine exemplars from three child skill categories that target deficits representative of early signs of ASD were taught to parents using two concurrent multiple baseline across participants designs. Data were collected for the percentage of correct parent teaching skills implemented, as well as the percentage of child correct responses to the target skills. Results demonstrate an increase in parent teaching skills across all trained participants for both trained and untrained child skills. These results provide preliminary support for GCT combined with BST via telehealth as an effective early intervention model.
  • Exploring the Reliability of an Objective Severity Tool to Classify Severe Problem Behaviour

    Morgan, Marie-Chanel; Applied Health Sciences Program
    The term ‘severe’ is a common descriptor for problem behaviour in research and practice. However, it is often applied inconsistently, and at times based on ill-defined or arbitrary criteria. Existing problem behaviour measurement tools often rely solely on caregiver recall (e.g., interviewing primary caregivers). This study explores the reliability of the first iteration of a severity tool employing direct measurement strategies (e.g., response rate, injury severity as evidenced by permanent product) to classify an individual’s problem behaviour severity. Nine Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) raters were recruited, five novice raters and four expert raters. They each experienced two conditions. In the first condition, raters classified the severity of 20 case scenarios without access to the tool. In the second condition, raters classified the severity of 20 novel scenarios after completing the tool for each case. All items of the tool (n=26) had good internal consistency (∝=.831). Intraclass correlations showed a meaningful increase in reliability for both groups when they had access to the tool (novice r=0.860, expert r=0.912) compared to when they did not have access to the tool to rate case severity (novice r=0.781, expert r=0.803). Most raters either strongly agreed or agreed that the severity tool had good applicability across research and clinical settings. This suggests that inconsistencies that may exist in the classification of severe problem behaviour could be mitigated with the proposed tool.
  • The Effects of Behavioural Skills Training on a Parent-Implemented Feeding Treatment via Telehealth

    Alami, Arezu; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Extensive research has established the effectiveness of in-person behavioural skills training (BST; i.e., instruction, modeling, rehearsal, feedback) to teach individuals to perform a variety of novel skills, including how to implement behaviour analytic treatments for food selectivity. To date, no study has evaluated the effects of a telehealth BST training package to teach parents to serve as primary interventionists and implement a feeding treatment with their child at home. We used a multiple baseline across participants design to evaluate the effectiveness of a telehealth BST training package to teach parents to implement a sequential presentation and nonremoval of the spoon feeding treatment with their child in their home. We found the telehealth BST training package was an effective means of teaching parents to implement a feeding treatment and contribute to the existing literature on parent-implemented feeding treatments to increase children’s consumption of low-preferred food. Results are discussed within the context of treatment implications and suggestions for future research.
  • An Analysis of Behavioural Interventions for Transition Difficulties of Children and Youth with Developmental Disabilities

    Jichici, Brynn; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Successfully transitioning from one activity, task, or location to another is an important adaptive skill. For children and youth with developmental disabilities, these transitions can be especially problematic. The purpose of the current study was to systematically examine behavioural studies aimed at improving activity, task, and location transitions for children and youth with developmental disabilities. Four electronic databases (Education Source, Eric, PubMed, and PsycINFO) were searched resulting in 1,439 studies for initial data analyses. Of these studies, 19 met full inclusion criteria and were subjected to additional analyses. Key characteristics of the final sample were described. Existing behavioural treatments incorporated intervention strategies such as visuals, prompting using assisted technology, and video modelling across various settings. Rigour assessments of the final 19 studies resulted in a majority of “weak” quality studies (n =15). Overall, it appears that behavioural interventions may be effective in treating transition difficulties among this population; however, additional research is required.
  • Exploring Vision and Visionary Leadership in Head Coaches of Canadian University Large Team Sports

    Milligan, Matthew; Applied Health Sciences Program
    The concept of vision has been identified as a key contributor to effective leadership (cf. Donoso-Morales et al., 2017), where vision is related to both change and empowering organizational members to collaborate toward achieving goals (Sashkin, 1988). Scholars (cf. Collins & Porras, 1996) noted that regardless of the leader’s abilities and the quality of vision, the vision is meaningless unless the leader develops a ‘plan’ that includes actionable and measurable processes and an effective communication strategy. Large team sports (i.e., football, rugby) employ large roster sizes and demand from both athletes and coaches a unique and high level of specialization. As team leader, the head coach is responsible for leading all team members towards achieving a common goal. The purpose of this study was to explore if and how Canadian university large team sport head coaches conceive, develop and enact their vision to achieve their desired goals. To fulfill the study’s purpose, a pragmatic qualitative research design was used to study large team sport head coaches. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, which were thematically analyzed (Braun & Clarke, 2006) to elicit themes most useful in answering the research questions. From the analysis, the coaches’ plans to enact their vision were found to be focused on student-athletes’ holistic development. Coaches were found to use communication and role-modeling strategies to enact their respective visions for their teams. These findings suggest that large team sport head coaches have an opportunity to concurrently impact their student-athletes’ lives beyond the on-field sport experience while fielding competitive teams.
  • Examining the Strengths, Experiences, and Needs of Canadian Post-Secondary Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Study

    Young, Kaitlyn; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Post-secondary students with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) represent an underserved and underrepresented population in post-secondary environments and research. A study in the United Kingdom found that post-secondary students with ASD reported a higher frequency of thoughts about withdrawing from studies and difficulties with adjustment compared to other students. However, Canadian research exploring the experiences and needs of Autistic post-secondary students is limited. Additionally, few studies have reported the perspectives of post-secondary students on the autism spectrum directly. The purpose of this study was to develop and pilot a survey designed to examine the self-reported strengths, experiences, and needs of Canadian post-secondary students with ASD. The development of this survey was guided by steering committee members with relevant lived experiences. Pilot testing was conducted with a sample of 13 individuals who self-identified with ASD and had recently attended or were currently attending college or university in Ontario. This thesis was divided into three separate studies. Study 1 described an effective application of a participatory action research approach to develop a survey. Study 2 reported preliminary findings following pilot testing of the survey. Strengths reported by participants were mainly academic, while areas of limitation included social challenges and barriers within the post-secondary environment. Participants generally reported positive sentiments regarding services accessed. Study 3 described the process for gathering feedback for survey revision from pilot participants, which highlighted a preference for quantitative questions and provided suggestions for revision for future iterations of the survey. Recommendations for future research were discussed.
  • Evaluating the Effects of Picture Exchange Communication System® (PECS®) Mediator Training Via Telehealth Using Behavioural Skills Training and General Case Training

    Treszl, Alyssa; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    The Picture Exchange Communication System® (PECS®) is often used by children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as a means of functional communication. Although there is extensive research indicating that PECS is an evidence-based intervention for children with ASD (e.g., Wong et al., 2015), little is known about how best to train parents to support their child’s PECS use. Of those studies that do explore parent training approaches, few measure the caregiver’s fidelity implementing PECS or explore whether parents generalize or maintain skills post-training. Similarly, little is known about how to train parents to implement PECS via telehealth. The purpose of the current study was to bridge the gap between PECS and telehealth research and to explore strategies to help parents support their child’s PECS use at home. One father-mother dyad was recruited. The father was the primary training recipient (i.e., parent trainee). The mother participated in training sessions as the role play partner (i.e., surrogate parent). Researchers used behavioural skills training (BST) to teach target PECS skills and applied strategies of general case training (GCT) to actively program for generalized behaviour change. A multiple baseline design across skills was used to monitor the father’s fidelity during mediator training sessions and a multiple probe design was embedded to monitor both the father’s and mother’s fidelity in the natural environment with their child. Results demonstrated that the parent trainee acquired PECS skills within the training setting. However, parents did not reliably demonstrate all of the PECS skills in the generalization setting during follow-up.

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