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Keywords:

  • program evaluation;
  • training;
  • toothbrushing;
  • self-care behavior;
  • retardates

The need for self-care by retarded individuals in behaviors such as brushing teeth led to the development and evaluation of a comprehensive toothbrushing program that included a task analysis and training procedure specific to each component of the task analysis. Eight mentally retarded adolescents, in two groups, individually received acquisition training that included scheduled opportunities for independent performances, verbal instruction, modelling, demonstration, and physical assistance. The first group of four subjects received token plus social reinforcement; the second received only social reinforcement. All eight subjects showed improved toothbrushing behaviors when compared to baseline. Six of the eight subjects correctly performed all toothbrushing steps in two of three consecutive sessions. The study emphasizes the need for systematic program development and evaluation.