The impact of one special education preschool program on adaptive behavior and parental stress

Laura Price Kennedy, Pace University


This research project explored the impact of one special education preschool program in helping developmentally delayed children improve their adaptive behaviors across the domains of communication, motor skill, daily living and socialization. A measure of parental stress was also employed to provide information about the relationship of parental stress, adaptive behavior and preschool programing. To ensure that 93 current and past Janet Lockwood Preschool students were similar at the start of preschool programing, children's scores on standardized screening measures were statistically compared. Changes in children's classroom adaptive behaviors and rates of development over time in program were examined by comparing differences in Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale-Classroom Standard Score and raw score means through an Analysis of Variance. A multiple comparison analysis was made to determine significance of interactions between adaptive behavior composites, domain scores and entry years. Children in program from 1-2 years had greater adaptive behavior skills and an increased rate of development compared to their less than 1 year performances. The magnitude of change has not the same for all 3 entry years, however. Significant interaction effects were found between 2 years of entry and change in adaptive behavior. Parents of children currently attending the preschool completed the Parent Stress Index. An analysis of 31 parent stress protocols revealed that parents of program children have clinically significant stress compared to the PSI normative population. A correlation of VABS-Classroom Standard Scores and Parenting Stress Index scores found that parents' perceptions of their child's unacceptability varied inversely with their child's adaptive behavior. An exception to this relationship was in the Communication Domain of adaptive behavior. The importance of this research is discussed as it contributes to an understanding of the relationship between parent stress and the impact of preschool programming. Further, results lend empirical support for the validity of current and future preschool programming.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Special education|Preschool education

Recommended Citation

Kennedy, Laura Price, "The impact of one special education preschool program on adaptive behavior and parental stress" (1997). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9733203.



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