Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2015

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Suzanne Woods-Groves

Second Advisor

Allison L. Bruhn

First Committee Member

John L. Hosp

Second Committee Member

Patricia Bahr

Third Committee Member

Shawn M. Datchuk


Early reading literacy is foundational to all other academic learning. It is imperative that elementary students with and without disabilities be provided with evidence-based reading instruction. Elementary students with developmental disabilities (DD) and complex communication needs (CCN) benefit from evidence-based reading instruction that incorporates individualized, explicit instruction and appropriate assistive technology. Research to identify evidence-based practices for students with DD and CCN is necessary to assist teachers to close the gap in overall achievement for this group of learners. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of the early reading program Go Talk Phonics (Ahlgrim-Delzell, Browder, &Wood, 2014) that incorporated evidence-based systematic instruction delivered through assistive technology to teach reading to elementary students ( n = 2 ) with DD and CCN.

The two participants in this single-case designed study did not make adequate progress toward the objectives of Lesson One of the intervention in order to continue on to Lessons Two and Three. Although the participants in this study were less successful in the objectives of the lesson than participants in the Ahlgrim-Delzell et al., (2014) study, there were differences in the participants, assistive technology, and design of the experiment. Important considerations were revealed when selecting academic interventions for students with CCN and DD. Assessment of broader aspects of the students' skills and literacy experience, as well as differential reinforcement procedures specific to instructional demands may be necessary to see gains from instruction.

Public Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of an early reading program GoTalk Phonics (Ahlgrim-Delzell, Browder, & Wood, 2014) that uses an iPad as an instructional delivery tool along with systematic instruction, on the acquisition of early phonics skills of two students with complex communication needs and developmental disabilities.


publicabstract, assistive technology, complex communication needs, developmental disabilities, early phonics, iPad, Systematic Instruction


viii, 103 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 83-96).


Copyright 2015 Kristin Goodwin Lucas