The effects of horticulture instruction on aberrant behavior in adults with severe/profound mental retardation
DeHart, Martha Roberts
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This investigation examined the effects of horticultural instruction on aberrant behavior in adults with mental retardation. Four participants were taught simple gardening activities in two settings using an alternating treatments design. Three behaviors per participant were identified as requiring adjustment to satisfy staff concerns at the ICF-MR where they attended/worked daily. Results indicated that two individuals learned horticultural skills well enough to become possible employees and/or volunteers in the horticultural industry while reducing maladaptive behaviors. The other two participants also learned gardening skills although proficiency levels were more closely related to performing simple recreational activities. Generalization and maintenance phases were conducted on two participants and skill retention was evident up to six weeks after the interventions were completed. Implications for using public gardens for education and training for persons with disabilities are addressed.