Improving Compliance in Primary School Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Tsuyoshi Imasaka
  • Pei Ling Lee
  • Angelika AndersonEmail author
  • Chernyse W. R. Wong
  • Dennis W. Moore
  • Brett Furlonger
  • Margherita Bussaca
Original Paper


Complying with common instructions is considered an important skill, critical to school success; however, students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often exhibit low levels of compliance creating barriers to their inclusion in regular general education school settings. While self-management interventions have the potential to address compliance issues, there has been little research investigating their effectiveness in regular education school settings that include young children with ASD. Accordingly, the present study examined the effects of a self-management intervention for two 8-year-old boys with ASD and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. A multiple-baseline across settings design was used. Results indicated that the intervention was associated with increased rates of compliance and concomitant increases in on-task behavior for both participants within their respective classroom. Effects were maintained at follow-up, and social validity ratings suggested that the intervention was highly acceptable for both the students and their teachers. This study contributes to the knowledge base on effective and feasible interventions to support the inclusion of children with ASD in general education settings.


Compliance Self-management Autism Multiple-baseline experimental design On-task behavior 



  1. Aljadeff-Abergel, E., Schenk, Y., Walmsley, C., Peterson, S., Frieder, J., & Acker, N. (2015). The effectiveness of self-management interventions for children with autism—A literature review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 18, 34–50. Scholar
  2. Aloe, A. M., Shisler, S. M., Norris, B. D., Nickerson, A. B., & Rinker, T. W. (2014). A multivariate meta-analysis of student misbehavior and teacher burnout. Educational Research Review, 12, 30–44. Scholar
  3. Austin, J. L., & Agar, G. (2005). Helping young children follow their teachers’ directions: The utility of high probability command sequences in pre-k and kindergarten classrooms. Education and Treatment of Children, 28(3), 222–236.Google Scholar
  4. Banda, D. R., Neisworth, J. T., & Lee, D. L. (2003). High-probability request sequences and young children: Enhancing compliance. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 25(2), 17–29. Scholar
  5. Briesch, A. M., Daniels, B., & Beneville, M. (2019). Unpacking the term “self-management”: Understanding intervention applications within the school-based literature. Journal of Behavioral Education, 28(1), 54–77. Scholar
  6. Busacca, M., Anderson, A., & Moore, D. W. (2015). Self-management for primary school students demonstrating problem behavior in regular classrooms: Evidence review of single-case design research. Journal of Behavioral Education, 24(4), 373–401. Scholar
  7. Busacca, M. L., Anderson, A., & Moore, D. W. (September, 2016). Implementation of technology-based self-management to improve on-task behaviour in primary school students: Self Management Assistive technology (SMAT). In A pilot study presented at the 8th conference of the European Association for Behaviour Analysis, Enna, Italy.Google Scholar
  8. Busk, P. L., & Marascuilo, L. A. (2015). Statistical analysis in single-case research: Issues, procedures, and recommendations, with applications to multiple behaviors. In T. R. Kratochwill & J. R. Levin (Eds.), Single-case research design and analysis: New directions for psychology and education (pp. 159–186). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Carr, M. E., Anderson, A., Moore, D. W., & Evans, W. H. (2015). How should we determine treatment effectiveness with single-case design research for participants with autism spectrum disorder? Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2(1), 8–18. Scholar
  10. Carr, M., Moore, D. W., & Anderson, A. (2014). Self-management interventions on students with autism: A meta-analysis of single-subject research. Exceptional Children, 81(1), 28–44. Scholar
  11. Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  12. De Boer, A., Pijl, S. J., & Minnaert, A. (2011). Regular primary schoolteachers’ attitudes towards inclusive education: A review of the literature. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 15(3), 331–353. Scholar
  13. de Martini-Scully, D. D., Bray, M. A., & Kehle, T. J. (2000). A packaged intervention to reduce disruptive behaviors in general education students. Psychology in the Schools, 37(2), 149–156. Scholar
  14. Ducharme, J. M. (1996). Errorless compliance training: Optimizing clinical efficacy. Behavior Modification, 20(3), 259–280. Scholar
  15. Ducharme, J. M., & Shecter, C. (2011). Bridging the gap between clinical and classroom intervention: Keystone approaches for students with challenging behavior. School Psychology Review, 40(2), 257–274.Google Scholar
  16. Elliott, S. N., & Treuting, M. V. B. (1991). The behavior intervention rating scale: Development and validation of a pretreatment acceptability and effectiveness measure. Journal of School Psychology, 29(1), 43–51. Scholar
  17. Ford, A., Olmi, D., Edwards, R., & Tingstrom, D. (2001). The sequential introduction of compliance training components with elementary-aged children in general education classroom settings. School Psychology Quarterly, 16(2), 142–157. Scholar
  18. Hartmann, D. P., Barrios, B. A., & Wood, D. D. (2004). Principles of behavioral observations. In M. Hersen (Ed.), Comprehensive handbook of psychological assessment, behavioral assessment. New Jersey, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. Kochanska, G., & Aksan, N. (1995). Mother-child mutually positive affect, the quality of child compliance to requests and prohibitions, and maternal control as correlates of early internalization. Child Development, 66(1), 236–254. Scholar
  20. Koegel, R. L., Koegel, L. K., & Carter, C. M. (1999). Pivotal teaching interactions for children with autism. School Psychology Review, 28(4), 576–594.Google Scholar
  21. Kratochwill, T. R., Hitchcock, J., Horner, R. H., Levin, J. R., Odom, S. L., Rindskopf, D. M., et al. (2010). Single-case designs technical documentation. Retrieved August 30, 2019, from
  22. Lee, S., Simpson, R. L., & Shogren, K. A. (2007). Effects and implications of self-management for students with autism: A meta-analysis. Focus on Autism & Other Developmental Disabilities, 22(1), 2–13. Scholar
  23. Lui, C., Moore, D., & Anderson, A. (2014). Using a self-management intervention to increase compliance in children with ASD. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 36(4), 259–279. Scholar
  24. McMahon, R. R., & Forehand, R. L. (2003). Helping the noncompliant child. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  25. Moore, D. W., Anderson, A., Glassenbury, M., Lang, R., & Didden, R. (2013). Increasing on-task behavior in students in a regular classroom: Effectiveness of a self-management procedure using a tactile prompt. Journal of Behavioral Education, 22(4), 302–311. Scholar
  26. National Autism Center. (2009). National standards project: Addressing the need for evidence-based practice guidelines for autism spectrum disorders. Randolph, MA: National Autism Centre.Google Scholar
  27. Nevin, J. A. (1996). The momentum of compliance. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 29(4), 535–547. Scholar
  28. Owen, D. J., Slep, A. M., & Heyman, R. E. (2012). The effect of praise, positive nonverbal response, reprimand, and negative nonverbal response on child compliance: A systematic review. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 15(4), 364–385. Scholar
  29. Parker, R., Hagan-Burke, S., & Vannest, K. (2007). Percentage of all non-overlapping data (PAND). The Journal of Special Education, 40(4), 194–204. Scholar
  30. Roberts, G. J., Mize, M., Reutebuch, C. K., Falcomata, T., Capin, P., & Steelman, B. L. (2019). Effects of a self-management with peer training intervention on academic engagement for high school students with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Behavioral Education. Scholar
  31. Scruggs, T. E., & Mastropieri, M. A. (1998). Summarizing single-subject research: Issues and applications. Behavior Modification, 22(3), 22l–242. Scholar
  32. Scruggs, T. E., Mastropieri, M. A., & Casto, G. (1987). The quantitative synthesis of single-subject research: Methodology and validation. Remedial and Special Education, 8(2), 24–33. Scholar
  33. Slattery, L., Crosland, K., & Iovannone, R. (2016). An evaluation of a self-management intervention to increase on-task behavior with individuals diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 18(3), 168–179. Scholar
  34. Soto-Chodiman, R., Pooley, J. A., Cohen, L., & Taylor, M. F. (2012). Students with ASD in mainstream primary education settings: Teachers’ experiences in Western Australian classrooms. Australasian Journal of Special Education, 36(1), 97–111. Scholar
  35. Turco, T., & Elliott, S. (1986). Assessment of students’ acceptability ratings of teacher-initiated interventions for classroom misbehavior. Journal of School Psychology, 24(3), 277–283. Scholar
  36. Van Bourgondien, M. E. (1993). Behavior management in the preschool years. In E. Schopler, M. E. Van Bourgondien, & M. M. Bristol (Eds.), Preschool issues in autism (pp. 129–145). New York, NY: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wilkinson, L. A. (2008). Self-management for children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders. Intervention in School and Clinic, 43(3), 150–157. Scholar
  38. Wolf, M. M. (1978). Social validity: The case for subjective measurement or how applied behavior analysis is finding its heart. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 11(2), 203–214. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Krongold Center, Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesThe University of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations