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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #237
CE Offered: BACB
Epidemiological analyses of large databases involving functional analyses and function-based interventions
Sunday, May 24, 2009
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
North 120 A
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Discussant: Brian A. Iwata (University of Florida)
CE Instructor: Thomas Zane, Ph.D.
Abstract: The utility of functional analysis based interventions for treating problem behavior exhibited by persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities is well established and widely recognized as representing best practices. Large scale analyses of functional assessment data and function-based treatment outcomes across individuals has great promise for improving our understanding of the functional characteristics of problem behavior, including the identification of predisposing risk factors as well as variables that may mediate responsiveness to treatment. Presenters in the current symposium will review findings obtained from the analysis of large databases of single-subject functional analyses and function-based interventions. Mary Anderson from the Kennedy Krieger Institute will discuss the potential utility of functional analysis as a standardized method for more precisely defining the behavioral phenotype of groups of individuals with neurogenetic developmental disabilities. Kelly Bouxsein from the Monroe-Meyer Institute will review and discuss functional analysis data of 121 individuals with developmental disabilities and destructive behavior. Variables impacting outcomes including functional analysis methods and participant characteristics will be discussed. Turning to treatment outcomes, Candice Jostad from the Monroe-Meyer Institute will review 135 data sets from children treated for pediatric feeding disorders. She will review data on the effectiveness of traditional escape extinction procedures (EE) compared to EE combined with other procedures in increasing acceptance and decreasing inappropriate mealtime behavior.
Functional Behavioral Phenotypes
MARY CARUSO-ANDERSON (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Theodosia R. Paclawskyj (The Kennedy Krieger Institute), Denise Kurek (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Functional analysis is typically used to identify controlling variables of problem behavior for the purpose of guiding the development of behavioral interventions. Another potential application is to use it as a standardized method for more precisely defining the behavioral characteristics of groups of individuals with neurogenetic developmental disabilities. Generally, research describing “behavioral phenotypes” has characterized neurogenetic disorders in terms of broad behavioral characteristics (i.e., forms) and cognitive profiles rather than in terms of sensitivities to certain antecedent or consequent stimuli. The current study is part of an ongoing investigation of how people with various genetic disorders differ in their sensitivity to operant processes, thus producing the “functional behavioral phenotype”. In this study, we examined response patterns from functional analyses and preference assessments in individuals who were treated for severe problem behavior. Subjects were categorized according to syndrome and compared to a control group of individuals with developmental disabilities of unknown etiology. These findings suggest that functional analysis methodologies can be used to further refine behavioral phenotypes and advance that body of research. The findings also have implications for the development of more targeted strategies to prevent problem behavior.
Further epidemiological analysis of the functions of severe destructive behavior
KELLY J. BOUXSEIN (UNMC), Henry S. Roane (University of Nebraska Medical Center & Munroe-Meyer Institute), Wayne Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, UNMC), Rebecca A. Veenstra (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Joanna Lomas (Marcus Institute)
Abstract: The development of functional analysis methods has allowed for the differential identification of the reinforcers maintaining an individual’s aberrant behavior (Iwata, Pace et al., 1994). In the current study, single-subject analyses were conducted to identify the reinforcing functions of the destructive behavior (e.g., self-injurious behavior, aggression) for 121 individuals with developmental disabilities. Each participant was exposed to a variety of test conditions in which the antecedent and consequent variables were systematically varied and each test condition was compared to a relevant control condition. Of the original sample, the analogue functional analysis based on the methods described by Iwata et al. (1982/1994; i.e., attention, demand, alone, toy play) yielded differentiated outcomes for 75 (62%) of participants. For the remaining 46 participants (38%) with an initial undifferentiated outcome, modified functional analyses designed to evaluate specific idiosyncratic response-reinforcer relations yielded differentiated results for 44 participants (96%). Also, specific maintaining reinforcement contingencies appeared to vary based on characteristics of the participants. For example, individuals who were diagnosed with autism were more likely to exhibit behavior maintained by automatic or idiosyncratic sources of reinforcement. These results illustrate the flexibility of functional analysis procedures for identifying functional reinforcers for severe destructive behavior.
Pediatric Feeding Disorders Treatment: Relative Effectiveness of Reinforcement-based vs. Other Procedures Added to Escape Extinction
CANDICE M. JOSTAD (Munroe Meyer Institute), Valerie M. Volkert (Munroe-Meyer Institute), Kristi Rivas (Munroe-Meyer Institute), Victoria Stewart (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Heather Kadey (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Med), Cathleen C. Piazza (Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated that escape extinction (EE) is a necessary component of treatment for pediatric feeding disorders in most cases (e.g., Ahearn, Kerwin, Eicher, Shantz, & Swearingin, 1996; Patel, Piazza, Martinez, Volkert, & Santana, 2001; Reed, Piazza, Patel, Layer, Bachmeyer, Bethke, & Gutshall, 2004). However, EE is not always effective when used alone. Consequently, supplemental procedures are often added to EE. Traditionally, reinforcement-based procedures are selected first because they are non-aversive and less intrusive than other procedures. When these are not fully effective, additional techniques (e.g., swallow facilitation, redistribution) are considered. The relative effectiveness of these approaches has not yet been evaluated on a large scale. In the present paper, we examined 135 data sets from children referred for pediatric feeding disorders. We compared the effectiveness of traditional EE procedures (i.e., EE alone or in combination with a reinforcement procedure) and EE combined with procedures other than reinforcement in increasing acceptance and mouth cleans (a product measure of swallowing) and decreasing inappropriate mealtime behavior. When traditional EE procedures were not effective, we identified the procedures that were used and evaluated their effectiveness in treating the target behaviors noted above.



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