Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #223a
CE Offered: BACB
Extensions of Functional Behavior Analysis Strategies at a Residential Treatment Facility
Sunday, May 28, 2006
4:00 PM–5:20 PM
Centennial Ballroom IV
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Thomas L. Zane (Evergreen Center)
Discussant: Jennifer R. Zarcone (University of Rochester Medical Center)
CE Instructor: Thomas L. Zane, Ph.D.

Functional Analysis has provided excellent tools to clinicians to help solve behavior problems more effectively. Research on functional analysis procedures has focused on expanding our knowledge of variables related to this assessment strategy. For example, researchers have investigated brief versus extended analyses, analogue versus in-vivo settings, and the utility of such procedures on subjects varying in age, abilities, and competence. The purpose of this symposium is to describe three studies extending functional analysis in different ways. In these papers, experimenters empirically tested the application of functional analysis to dually diagnosed subjects, focusing on transient tic disorders, and on precursors to dangerous behaviors.

The Use of Precursors of Dangerous Behaviors to Determine Operant Function.
ALICE I. SYMMES (Evergreen Center), Thomas L. Zane (Evergreen Center)
Abstract: Functional Analysis methodologies have provided caregivers with excellent diagnostic tools with which to confidently determine the function of problem behaviors and to design more effective treatments. Students with severe disabilities often engage in self-stimulatory or self-injurious behaviors that can cause damage to themselves or others. It is reasonable to conduct functional analyses to determine the function of these behaviors, but to do so might result in more tissue damage, since the intent of systematic functional analysis is to manipulate variables in the hope of detecting an increase in behavior rate in one or more conditions. However, often times behaviors that are precursors to the targeted problem behavior might be observed. Since precursors are less likely to cause tissue damage, it is important to determine whether determining the operant function of these behaviors would provide treatment recommendations to successfully solve the targeted dangerous behaviors. The purpose of this study was to determine a systematic procedure for determining the precursors of specific dangerous behaviors, and the extent to which staff could successfully identify precursors that reliably preceded the targeted problem behavior.
Extending Functional Analysis Procedures to the Assessment of Transient Tic Disorders.
TARA-LYNN BURBEE (Evergreen Center), Lawrence L. Lockwood (Evergreen Center), Thomas L. Zane (Evergreen Center)
Abstract: Tic disorders are defined as involuntary, recurrent vocal or body movements that regularly occur. The etiology of tics is not yet proven, but there is a belief that they are neurologically based, with some influence of the external environment. Functional analysis procedures would help determine whether tics are influenced by social environmental factors, and - if so – would suggest treatment alternatives. The purpose of this study was to apply functional analysis methodology to tic disorders of patients with Tourettes and Transient Tic Disorder. Two subjects with these diagnoses were observed in analogue contexts and the rate of tics was recorded to assess the traditional behavioral functions. Two different functional analysis sessions were conducted per subject. Results were undifferentiated, suggesting either a non-social or multiple functions of tics.
The Consistency of Functional Analysis Results Across Different Stimulus Conditions.
LAWRENCE L. LOCKWOOD (Evergreen Center), Tara-Lynn Burbee (Evergreen Center), Thomas L. Zane (Evergreen Center)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the results of functional analysis would vary across different stimulus conditions. Two subjects who were dually diagnosed (with at least one diagnosis being Tourette’s Syndrome or Transient Tic Disorder) and who exhibited either motor or vocal tics served as subjects. Experimenters conducted a series of brief functional analyses in different locations, such as analogue settings, natural classroom, lunchroom, and gymnasium. Results were compared across these different conditions, showing that the function often changed due to a change in location. Discussion focused on the need for multiple assessments to be more confident n the function before developing treatment strategies to deal with targeted behaviors.



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