Examining the Acquisition and Implementation of Sensory Paths to Support Student’s On-Task Behavior

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Austin Peay State University
This study sought to determine (a) the decision-making processes administrators and teachers followed when purchasing and implementing a sensory path intervention in elementary schools and (b) the perceived supports and barriers to the effective use of the sensory path as a means to positively impact student outcomes. Five elementary school administrators and 12 elementary school teachers in a single school district completed surveys; four administrators and five teachers participated in follow-up interviews. This study used an explanatory sequential mixed methods approach. Surveys were a secondary data source and were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Participants for the semistructured interviews, the main data source, were selected by intensity sampling. Interviews were analyzed using in vivo coding. Findings indicated that administrator and teacher decision making processes were informal, acquisition targeted students with disabilities but use expanded to other populations, and efficacy was based on anecdotal observations. Findings also indicated that sensory paths were perceived as being worthwhile but could have been improved with formal implementation plans and greater accessibility. Implications for research include study replication in additional contexts, as there is a paucity of research available on sensory paths and their use in K-12 schools. Implications for practice include the need for formal fidelity of implementation plans and data collection plans, to determine efficacy, prior to the purchase of interventions and for acquisition decisions to include verification of an intervention as an evidence-based practice. Keywords: sensory path, decision-making processes, students with disabilities, diffusion of innovation, fidelity of implementation
Senses and sensation -- Study and teaching, Educational games, Students with disabilities