- Systematic Instruction for Functional Skills for Students and Adults with Disabilities by K. Storey and C. Miner
The book “Systematic Instruction for Functional Skills for Students and Adults with Disabilities” by authors Dr. Keith Storey and Dr. Craig Miner is aimed to provide practitioners and front line staff with an understanding of and appreciation for an evidence based approach to treatment for individuals with disabilities across the life span.
When one opens this book they will find a unique chapter structure, which in the opinion of this reviewer makes the material easily accessible and quite approachable for the average reader. The authors open each with a series of key point questions, which the chapter will aim to answer or discuss later. Additionally, the authors provide “Window to the World Case Studies” as a means of providing common examples of issues faced by practitioners working with individuals with disabilities. While not suggested by the authors of the book, I recommended that the reader return to the case studies following reading this section in an attempt to apply some of the relevant information they have just read. Each chapter then concludes with a list of best practice recommendations, future research issues, discussion questions and community activities. The remainder of this review will serve to describe and comment on the content of each chapter and conclude with a discussion of the books applicability within the classroom or practitioner settings.
Chapter 1 Community Reference Functional Curriculum
The major purpose of this chapter is to discuss what skills should be the focus of instruction for individuals with disabilities and the factors that should be taken into consideration when selecting [End Page 172] skills for training. The authors leads you through a variety of questions that should be asked prior to implementing training for an individual. While the majority of the information and recommendations can be found in sources cited by the authors (e.g. Brown, Nietupski, & Hamre-Nietupski, 1976; Gold, 1980) Storey and Miner provide concise arguments based on the material cited and often elaborate in ways that allow the reader to understand how the information can apply to the real world. This theme occurs throughout the remainder of the book and proves to strengthen the claim of the book to be an easy to understand and practical tool for those serving individuals with disabilities.
Chapter 2 How to Assess and Analyze Skills
This chapter is dedicated to the way in which the identified behaviors are defined and recorded. While the chapter contains quite a lot of useful information it may fall short of the detail and description necessary to fully encompass the many topics outlined. For example, the authors provide a mere three pages of material on the use of task analyses and chaining procedures while other texts such as Cooper, Heron and Heward (2007), also used as a practitioner reference book, utilized over 18 pages discussing the same material. Unlike other chapters, the authors seem to attempt to cover too much information within this chapter and as a result may fail to address any one topic effectively. While this chapter may serve as a brief introduction towards various topics such as chaining, defining a behavior and data analysis, it is likely that practitioners using this text will require additional resources to truly gain an understanding and working knowledge prior to attempting to implement these basic but critical skills.
Chapter 3 Teaching Skills
Chapter three provides the reader with a useful distinction between cues (i.e., prompts) and correction, what constitutes behavior and how one may successfully achieve generalization of a skill. While the terminology of prompts being equivalent to cues is not universally adopted in all areas of practice, the authors provide a sufficient description to prevent confusion in their use. More importantly, in this chapter, the reader will be provided with a definition of reinforcement, the importance of which cannot be understated. The authors also provide some basic methods for troubleshooting a failing program. The authors are explicit in their definition of...