Scripted and Unscripted Science Lessons for Children with Autism and Intellectual Disability

Victoria F. Knight, Belva Collins, Amy D. Spriggs, Emily Sartini, Margaret Janey MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Both scripted lessons and unscripted task analyzed lessons have been used effectively to teach science content to students with intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder. This study evaluated the efficacy, efficiency, and teacher preference of scripted and unscripted task analyzed lesson plans from an elementary science curriculum designed for students with intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder by evaluating both lesson formats for (a) student outcomes on a science comprehension assessment, (b) sessions to criterion, and (c) average duration of lessons. Findings propose both lesson types were equally effective, but unscripted task analyzed versions may be more efficient and were preferred by teachers to scripted lessons. Implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2542-2557
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the following teachers and their students for their assistance in research: Emmaline Keubler and Megan Traynor, Woodford County Schools. Also, thank you to Ryane Williamson and Alyssa Carney for their contributions to this project. The first author currently receives royalties from the published version of the curriculum used in the current study. At the time the study was conducted, a published version of the curriculum did not exist. Further, the curriculum contains both scripted and unscripted lesson versions so the first author does not recognize a direct benefit to finding one more beneficial than the other. Finally, the first author did not directly implement the study, and only assisted in the collection of interobserver reliability and procedural fidelity data. Finally, a management plan was approved by the University of Kentucky based on the COI.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Access to the general education
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Intellectual disability
  • Science education
  • Scripted lesson plans
  • Task analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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