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The Use of Phonetic Hand Cues as an Intermediate Response to Enhance Phonetic Reading for Students with Moderate Intellectual Disability

Behavior Links will be creating a manual and training course sequence for Special Education teachers interested in applying this teaching package with their students. More information to come. Please contact for more information.

Children and Teacher in Kindergarten

The following Clinical Study was presented at the 2019 Association for Behavior Analysis International Conference in Chicago, IL and the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis in September 2019. Below is information from the presentation.

Phonetic Hand Cues was effective in teaching decoding (reading) of consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words in students with Mild to Moderate Intellectual Disability.

 MY Turn, YOUR Turn Decoding Program

  • A simple hand cue for each letter sound or phoneme with general approximation to mirroring mouth and/or sound production for that phoneme was taught

  • Phonetic model of the letter/phoneme sound was coupled simultaneously with a hand cue

  • Instruction systematically moved from teaching the isolated phoneme sound to presentation of the whole word for blending

  • The intervention package consisted of errorless teaching procedures and error correction, based on the science of behavior

 General Background

  • Phonetic reading requires the letter to acquire control over the sound associated with it.

  • Working memory and long term memory is typically a weak area for individuals with ID.

  • Phonetic Hand Cues (PHC) were found to be effective in helping the student recall the letter sound. 

  • A systematic (step by step) instructional sequence, which included modeling, doing it together, and then practicing on their own, assisted in facilitating retention of letter sounds for reading. 

Results and Discussion

  • Learner error was reduced with the immediate presentation of the Phonetic Hand Cue (known as a controlling prompt) following the presentation of the letter in writing.

  • The PHC appears to serve as a mediating response aiding in recall.

  • Phonetic Hand Cues coupled with stimulus control procedures was effective in teaching decoding of CVC words in students with moderate intellectual disabilities.  

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