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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Symposium #73
Further Applications of Brief Functional Analysis Procedures in Outpatient Clinic Evaluations
Saturday, May 28, 2005
4:00 PM–5:20 PM
Stevens 4 (Lower Level)
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: David P. Wacker (University of Iowa)
Discussant: Mark O'Reilly (University of Texas, Austin)
Abstract: In this symposium, we will present applications of brief functional analysis procedures conducted in three university settings: the biobehavioral clinic at The University of Iowa, the Neurobehavioral clinic at Kennedy-Krieger Institute, and the biobehavioral clinic at Gonzaga University. Danielle Dolezal from The University of Iowa will present descriptive summary data on syndrome-specific functions of aberrant behavior as identified via brief functional analyses conducted with specific subgroups of children. Andrew Gardner from the Kennedy-Krieger Institute will present on application of the assessment procedures to children in inner-city community settings. Anjali Barretto from Gonzaga University will describe response patterns during establishing operations and reinforcement phases within brief functional analyses of aberrant behavior. Following the presentations, Mark O’Reilly from the University of Texas at Austin will discuss the presentations.
Brief Functional Assessment Techniques to Evaluate Problem Behavior in an Outpatient Setting: An Outcomes Summary
DANIELLE N. DOLEZAL (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Wendy K. Berg (University of Iowa), Yi Ding (University of Iowa)
Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to conduct a descriptive summary of cases from a Biobehavioral outpatient clinic across a 4-year period. Derby et al. (1992) provided a similar descriptive summary of topographies of behavior observed in the outpatient clinic, including the percentage of participants for whom the assessment identified a specific contingency or contingencies that resulted in elevated levels of problem behavior, the percentage of participants whose problem behavior decreased when contingencies were reversed, and the percentage of participants whose problem behavior did not vary across conditions. In the current investigation, we posed similar questions, but were most interested in the results across groups of individuals with diagnosed genetic syndromes. We investigated the display of particular behaviors that were characteristic of a given genetic syndrome and their association with similar maintaining contingencies or functions for both problem and appropriate behaviors within the outpatient setting. To gather this information, we developed a record form and subsequent database to record all target behaviors, functions, and diagnoses for patients evaluated in the clinic by two independent raters. Summaries of the information obtained were then presented in table form and via bar graphs to evaluate syndrome-specific functions.
Abbreviated Assessment and Treatment of Problem Behavior Across Clinic and Community Settings
ANDREW W. GARDNER (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Patricia F. Kurtz (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: The utility of abbreviated functional analysis methodology to evaluate antecedents and consequences maintaining problem behavior has been demonstrated (Northup et al., 1991; Vollmer, Marcus, Ringdahl, & Roane, 1995; Wacker et al., 1994). However, identifying the specific variables maintaining problem behavior within an outpatient clinic setting may be difficult because of contrived conditions, the absence of controlling stimuli, or other factors. Furthermore, generalization of treatment effects to the natural environment is often not reported. Two case studies will be presented in which problem behavior was effectively assessed and treated by conducting abbreviated assessments across outpatient clinic, school, and home settings and across clinic staff, school personnel, and parents. Two children with developmental disabilities participated in clinic-based abbreviated functional assessments of problem behavior. When inconclusive results were initially obtained, replications of the natural contingencies were successfully conducted in the community and clinic settings.Treatments derived from these assessments resulted in reductions in problem behavior and concomitant increases in appropriate behavior across all settings. Interobserver agreement was assessed for 35% and 40% of sessions across clinic and home settings, respectively. Results are discussed in terms of enhancing the internal and social validity of assessment and treatment procedures.
Application of the Brief Functional Analysis: The Temporal Distribution of Problem Behavior
ANJALI BARRETTO (Gonzaga University), Jennifer Neyman (Gonzaga University), Adam Karlsgodt (Gonzaga University)
Abstract: In this study we examined the distribution of problem behavioracross establishing operation and reinforcement phases during brief functional analyses conducted in a clinic setting. The participants were all under the age of 10 years and engaged in severe aggressive and destructive behaviors. Sessions lasted a minimum of 5 min and a maximum of 10 min until a functional relationship was observed. A functional relationship was defined as one in which problem behavior occurred most often during the EO phase but not during the reinforcement phase. The analysis of the distribution of aberrant behavior across the EO and reinforcement phases was useful in more precisely determining whether functional relationships existed during the brief functional analysis. All assessment and treatment sessions were videotaped and coded using a 6-s partial-interval recording system. Two independent observers achieved 90% agreement on over 33% of the sessions. Specific criteria and the methodology used to conduct this type of assessment will be discussed.



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