Behavioral Improvements


Christina Whalen, Lars Liden, Brooke Ingersoll, Eric Dallaire, and Sven Liden


The Journal of Speech and Language Pathology - Applied Behavior Analysis, Vol. 1 (1)



Research Questions:

  • Does TeachTown: Basics seem to be an effective program for use in the home for children with autism and Down Syndrome?
  • Do children with autism show different behaviors on the computers vs. play interactions with their parents?


8 children (4 with autism; 4 with Down Syndrome); Ages 3 years, 4 months – 4 years, 3 months


Multiple-Baseline Across Subjects (with 2-5 week baselines)


Baseline: Parents asked to play with their child and videotaped 1/week for 2-5 weeks (tapes coded by blind raters)

Computer (10 weeks): Parents asked to do 3 15-minute computer sessions using TeachTown: Basics per week (videotaped at first and last session and 1-month follow-up)

Activity (10 weeks): Parents asked to do 3 15-minute Off Computer Activities with their child using the TeachTown: Basics Off Computer Activities (videotaped at first and last session and 1-month follow-up)


Children with autism and Down Syndrome seem to make progress in the TeachTown: Basics software with significant improvement across 4 learning domains (receptive language, social skills, life skills, and academic/cognitive skills).

Chart Chart

Children with autism (n=4) engaged in more social interaction with their parents on the computer than during baseline or Off Computer Activities. Decreased problem behaviors were observed both on and off the computer compared to baseline.


Pilot data on the use of TeachTown: Basics in the home with parent implementation appears to show some effectiveness in learning the skills presented in the software program. Although not directly targeted, children seem to show enhanced motivation on the computer (using TeachTown: Basics) compared to play activities. The TeachTown: Basics On Computer Lessons and Off Computer Activities seem to help decrease problem behaviors with parent implementation.


This research was supported in part by a Department of Education SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) grant number R305S040161.

TeachTown, Inc. received the 2007 National Tibbett’s Award for this project.