Overcoming Barriers to Learning

Research categorised under the heading “Overcoming Barriers to Learning” focuses on strategies to support individuals with learning. For example, learners need to learn to listen, look at stimuli, match items and imitate others in order to progress through the curriculum and progress with communication skills and life skills.



The Effects of the Mirror Protocol on Generalised Motor Imitation and Early Observing Responses – Aisling Collins, Sam Parker, Jo Thorne and Emily Peak

It is important for children diagnosed with autism to imitate novel responses. This will allow them to learn without direct teaching. Children are tested to determine whether they can imitate novel responses. If not then procedures are put in place to induce this. This study focussed on the use of the Mirror Protocol to induce novel imitation responses in one child diagnosed with autism. This piece of research was presented as a poster at the 2018 CABAS conference in New Jersey.

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Generalised motor imitation (GMI) is a fundamental developmental cusp. It has a significant impact on an individual’s ability to learn without direct teaching and it develops an individual’s repertoire of habilitative responses. Studies suggest, however, that children diagnosed with autism often have difficulties acquiring GMI. This study extends previous research by investigating the effects of the Mirror Protocol (Du & Greer, 2014) on the inducement of GMI and on other early observing responses in a 14-year-old male diagnosed with autism. The participant was described as an early listener and early speaker. The research was conducted at an independent CABAS® day school for children diagnosed with autism. Results showed the successful acquisition of GMI following the Mirror Protocol, with rates of acquisition increasing as he worked through the Mirror Protocol phases. The protocol also had significant effects on the participant’s early observing responses. The necessity to adjust future curricula for this participant was discussed.

Link to poster