Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

H. William Heller, Ed.D.

Committee Member

James L. Paul, Ed.D.

Committee Member

John M. Ferron, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tanice Y. Knopp, Ph.D.


Sensory strategies, Single subject design, Academic engagement, Mild disabilities, Intervention research


Many students with mild disabilities display off-task behaviors during academic content classes. The off-task behaviors can negatively impact their academic progress. In primarily clinical settings, specific interventions derived from the theory of sensory integration have been shown to increase on-task behaviors in students with mild disabilities. Using a single subject A-B-A-B withdrawal design, the researcher investigated the effects of hand fidgets on on-task behaviors demonstrated by a middle school student with mild disabilities who typically displayed off-task behaviors when participating in an inclusive, academic content class (language arts). Social validity was assessed to evaluate student and teacher perceptions regarding the intervention. During baseline and withdrawal (A phases) participants followed their typical classroom routine and were not exposed to the intervention - hand fidgets. During the intervention (B phases) participants were provided with a hand fidget for use during the class period. Results indicated substantial increases in the percentage of on-task behaviors demonstrated by the participant, when presented with the opportunity to use a hand fidget, during activities in which listening to a lecture was the primary task expectation. Social validity findings indicated that both the students and classroom teacher preferred the use of hand fidgets to the condition of no hand fidget present. This study provides preliminary support for the use of hand fidgets to increase on-task behaviors by students with mild disabilities who present tendencies for off-task behaviors during classroom lecture situations.