POPARD Applied Research

What is POPARD APPLIED RESEARCH and how can I get involved?

Applied research is scientific study that seeks to solve practical problems in real-world settings. POPARD consultants are encouraged to develop research projects that will support innovative practices and contribute to knowledge about best practices in supporting students with ASD in the school-system. Projects reflect two POPARD goals:

  • To empower school teams across the province of BC in supporting students with ASD. Through building local capacity, increase the success of students with ASD in the school system.
  • To expand research opportunities and partnerships.

POPARD consultants collaborate with staff in school districts and other institutions across BC. Some projects are single-case studies (evaluating the effect of an intervention on a single student); other projects involve small groups of students, and others, focus on staff and the support they receive from POPARD. The reports in this section summarize completed projects. Research described may subsequently be presented at conferences or submitted for publication.

Individuals who are interested in exploring a practice and conducting a research project are encouraged to discuss this with their POPARD consultant, or to contact the director of research, Dr. Ted Wormeli, for more information.

Researcher: Pat Moret, Joanne Marshall, Donna Barner

Schools and school districts spend considerable time and money annually on the professional development of staff, but there is little evidence of the power or validity of different forms of professional development. This mixed qualitative/quantitative research study explores the power of mentoring in professional development for classroom teachers.

Researcher: Brenda Dussault

Intrigued by the potential of new small, portable devices to enhance the ability of students to manage their time, POPARD consultant Brenda Dussault reached out to consultants Lorraine and Janet at SET BC, and the three of them considered how new hardware and software technologies might assist secondary students with ASD who often experience challenges in Executive Functions that involve planning and completing tasks.

Researcher: Michelle Pozin

POPARD consultant Michelle Pozin was approached by a school team in District 20 to help promote social-communication and self-care skills for Sofia, an eight- year-old girl with Autism. Specifically, to help Sofia increase her expressive communication, a goal in her IEP at the time, her parents and teachers wanted her to learn to respond appropriately when a familiar person said “Hi.” Additionally, to promote safety and social propriety in public restrooms, they wanted Sofia to incorporate closing the bathroom door into her toileting routine. Find out how Michelle and the school and home teams were able to use video modeling to teach Sofia to perform these behaviours with increased consistency and independence.

Researcher: Jacquie Bezo

In this multiple-subject study implemented in three schools in a BC public school district, researchers monitored the effect of the POPARD consultation model on the attitudes of classroom staff and on the behaviours of three kindergarten students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The intensity and frequency of students’ problem behaviours declined substantially over the period of consultation. At the end of the project, the research team observed:

  • Differences in the nature of consultative support across circumstances
  • Decreases in challenging behaviours for all three students
  • Increases in confidence by all staff in using target strategies
  • High levels of satisfaction with implementation support from all staff involved

POPARD Researcher
The purpose of this study was to investigate the introduction of the Prevent-Teach-Reinforce model of behaviour support into consultation provided to school staff who were supporting a student with behaviour difficulties. The frequency and intensity of two of three problem behaviours diminished in this single-subject, mixed quantitative/qualitative, process-oriented research, completed in a lower mainland school district. Among the qualitative outcomes, the consultant became convinced that the Prevent-Teach-Reinforce problem solving process is more successful if school administrators and parents, as well as teaching staff, are involved. The researcher also considered the utility of employing a Tier 3 (individualized) Positive Behaviour Support approach if a School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support system is not in place. Recommendations include providing adequate release time to staff for training and monitoring meetings. It is often a challenge to find time in schools for these activities, yet the results of this study support their importance.