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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Positive behavior support for deaf children with developmental disabilities and severe problem behavior Fossett, Brenda


A significant percentage of deaf children are diagnosed with additional disabilities, with estimates of educationally significant co-morbidities as high as 51% (Gallaudet Research Institute, 2006). Deaf children with additional disabilities are at increased risk for developing significant problem behavior, due to the severity of communication and other developmental challenges. The need for research regarding strategies to address problem behaviors in this unique group has been identified in the fields of education of the deaf and hard of hearing and applied behavior analysis (Carr, 2006; Luckner & Carter, 2001; Luckner, Muir, Howell, Sebald, & Young, 2005). Two studies were conducted to answer questions related to staff training and behavior intervention for deaf children with additional disabilities. The first study utilized a one group pretest-posttest design to investigate the association between a train-the-trainer program and improvements in staff knowledge and skill regarding functional assessment and positive behavior support. The second study utilized a single-subject multiple baseline across settings design to investigate the effectiveness of a positive behavior support (PBS) approach to problem behavior with a deaf child diagnosed with cerebral palsy and autism. Results for the first study showed that the training program produced a statistically significant difference between pre- and post-test scores, suggesting that the training program was associated with improved knowledge regarding behavior assessment and intervention. Results for the second study demonstrated a functional relation between a family centered PBS process and improvements in child behavior and participation in three valued routines in the home. Social validity evaluations, completed by participating staff and parents, demonstrated that the goals, strategies, and outcomes of the interventions were acceptable, relevant, and useful. Results also demonstrated that a Deaf interventionist could effectively provide implementation support to hearing parents, under the supervision of an expert in PBS. Results are discussed in terms of findings in relation to the education of the deaf and hard of hearing and PBS literatures, unique contributions to the literature, limitations, implications for researchers and practitioners in the fields of education of the deaf and hard of hearing and PBS, and directions for future research.

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