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 #131
CE Offered: BACB
Advances in Functional Analysis Methodology: Implications for Assessment and Treatment
Sunday, May 29, 2005
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Stevens 1 (Lower Level)
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Michele D. Wallace (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Brian A. Iwata (University of Florida)
CE Instructor: Michele D. Wallace, Ph.D.

This symposium will include three presentations demonstrating advances in functional analysis methodology. The first paper will discuse the importance of familiar and unfamilar therapists and settings in identifying behavioral functions. The second paper will discuse the implications of conducting functional analyses on precursor behavior in order to develop effective treatment of severe problem behavior. The thrid paper will discuse the extenstion of functional analysis methodology tn school setting with children with emotional/behavioral disroders. Finally, comments relating to the implications of these three papers for research and clinical practice for evaluation and treating problem behavior will be addressed.

Correspondence of Functional Analyses Across Settings and Therapists
JESSICA L. THOMASON (University of Florida), Brian A. Iwata (University of Florida), Jennifer N. Fritz (University of Florida)
Abstract: Functional analyses (FA) are typically conducted in controlled environments to avoid potential confounds introduced by uncontrolled sources of reinforcement or stimulus control that may reduce both experimental control and the likelihood of obtaining clear results. However, one critisim of FA methodology is that analyeses conducted by unfamiliar individuals (therapists) in unfamiliar environments (clinics) might not provide accurate information about problem behavior that occurs with parents or caregivers in home, school, or day care settins. We evaluated correspondence between FAs conducted by therapists in clinics with FAs conducted by caregivers in the home. Study 1 consisted of caregiver training, during which direct instruction, video modeling, and feedback were used to teach correct Fa contingency implementation. In study 2, FAs were first conducted in a clinic by a therapist, followed by FAs conducted in children's homes by caregivers. Results of the two analyses were compared, and function was determined via visual analysis. If the analyses did not yield similar results, further FAs were conducted with combinations of familiar and unfamiliar therapists and settings. Results are discussed in terms of implications for research and clinical practice for evaluating problem behavior.
When Functional Analyses of Problem Behavior are Not Possible: An Evaluation of a Precursor Assessment
ALICIA N. MACALEESE (University of Nevada, Reno), Michele D. Wallace (University of Nevada, Reno), Adel C. Najdowski (University of Nevada, Reno), Carrie Ellsworth (University of Nevada, Reno), Jacki Cleveland (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Functional analyses have been repeatedly demonstrated to be an effective behavioral assessment methodology used to identify environmental variables maintaining problem behavior. However, there are inherent limitations in using functional analyses for severe behaviors or problem behaviors that cannot be provoked. The current study applied functional analysis methodology to precursor behaviors that preceded severe problem behaviors and devised treatments based upon the maintaining variables identified. Results indicated that not only did the assessment provide information with respect to maintaining functions, but lead to the implementation of successful interventions for all participants. Results will be discussed with respect to implications for research and clinical practice.
Functional Analysis and Intervention for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disroders in a Public School Setting
THOMAS S. HIGBEE (Utah State University), Glenna Wright-Gallo (Utah State University)
Abstract: Federal special education law (IDEA) requires that functional assessments be completed for students exhibiting behavior problems in classroom settings. The law does not specify, however, what type of functional assessment is completed. Despite their demonstrated accuracy in determining behavioral function, experimental functional analyses usually not conducted in school settings, likely due to their perceived complexity and duration. To demonstrate the utility of experimental functional assessments ins school settings, we conducted a classroom-based experimental functional assessment with two students with emotional/behavioral (e/BD). To validate the functional analysis, we designed a DRA + extinction intervention for each student based on information gathered in the experimental functional analysis. Rates of aberrant behavior decreased for both students as a result of this intervention validating the results of the experimental functional assessment.



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