The Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship


Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the resulting pandemic had widespread implications on the safety of the job tasks teachers are charged with each day. The Center for Disease Control (CDC, 2020) recommends people age 2 years and older should wear masks in public settings; however, for children with disabilities, wearing a mask may be difficult and as such, is not required. Special education teachers and students in particular are at high risk for exposure and contracting COVID-19. Therefore, behavior-analytic strategies that can teach and reinforce appropriate mask-wearing should be evaluated. Given the environment of schools at the time of the study, mask-wearing was a critical skill that children had to learn, and quickly. In this study, students ages 3 to 5-years-old with developmental delays were taught how to properly wear a mask using behavior skills training (BST) until all students were able to put on a mask, or ask for help in doing so, independently. Then, a group contingency was utilized to reinforce the wearing of masks throughout the day in the classroom. Using a changing criterion design, BST and a group contingency was effective in increasing mask wearing for students in the classroom.