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 #195
Functional Analysis and Treatment of Problem Behaviors Associated with Specified Syndromes/Genetic Disorders
Sunday, May 24, 2009
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
North 120 A
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Patricia F. Kurtz (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Discussant: Travis Thompson (University of Minnesota)
Abstract: Functional analyses and interventions derived from such analyses have shown great utility in addressing a range of severe problem behaviors exhibited by individuals with intellectual disabilities. Increasingly, researchers are focusing on applications of functional analysis to behaviors characteristic of distinct clinical conditions. In this symposium, three papers demonstrating the application of experimental analysis procedures to problem behaviors associated with defined syndromes or genetic conditions will be presented. The first paper describes the assessment and treatment of four participants who exhibited behavior problems associated with 22q13 deletion syndrome. The second paper summarizes data from a literature review of functional analysis outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, and reports outcomes of behavioral function among individuals with and without autism spectrum disorders. The final presentation describes treatment outcomes for young children with problem behavior who received functional communication training. Functional analysis and treatment outcomes are compared across groups of participants with developmental delay, autism spectrum disorder, and specified genetic syndromes. Travis Thompson will serve as the discussant.
Functional Analysis and Treatment of Problem Behavior Associated with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome
MICHAEL A. LIND (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Patricia F. Kurtz (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Danielle Gureghian (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Julia T. O'Connor (The Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Phelan-McDermid, or 22q13 deletion syndrome, is a microdeletion syndrome characterized by global developmental delay, absent to severely delayed speech, hypotonia, and minor dysmorphic features. It is common for individuals with this syndrome to exhibit “autistic-like” behaviors including poor eye contact and stereotyped behaviors, as well as behavioral difficulties such as habitual mouthing and chewing. To date, no studies have examined the assessment and treatment of problem behavior in a group of patients specifically identified with 22q13 deletion syndrome. In this presentation, four cases will be presented, each demonstrating successful assessment and treatment of problem behaviors for a child with the syndrome. Children ranged with regard to age (4 to 14 years), level of functioning, syndrome characteristics, and presenting problem behaviors. For all children, functional analyses identified social and non-social variables maintaining problem behaviors, and treatments were derived based on identified functions. Collectively, case presentations will highlight the utility of applied behavior analytic techniques in addressing core behavioral issues related to 22q13 deletion syndrome.
A Review Comparison of Functional Analysis Outcomes in Children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorders
Iser Guillermo DeLeon (Kennedy Krieger Institute), JOHN M. HUETE (Kennedy Krieger Institute), David M. Richman (University of Illinois), Abbey Carreau (Kennedy Krieger Institutue), Mandy M. Triggs (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Michelle A. Frank (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Melissa J. Allman (Kennedy Krieger Institute/Hopkins)
Abstract: Experimental demonstration of controlling relations between environment and behavior has been a hallmark of behavior analytic intervention for persons with autism since its inception in the 1960’s. Assessment technologies for this purpose have evolved since then, with much attention devoted to determining the controlling variables of problem behavior. A number of such experiments have included persons with autism as subjects, where hypotheses for variables controlling problem behavior have included variables both related and unrelated to core autistic symptomotology. Here, we present data from a retrospective literature review with an emphasis on functional analysis experiments that have included persons with autism. Our primary purpose was to determine whether, and how, patterns of behavioral functions differ for individuals with and without a diagnosis along the autism spectrum. Some primary observations include: 1) despite core deficits related to social attachment, individuals diagnosed with autism did not appear to be less sensitive to attention as a maintaining variable for problem behavior, and 2) individuals diagnosed along the autism spectrum were more likely than their counterparts without the diagnoses to display problem behavior maintained by tangible reinforcers and idiosyncratic or atypical contingencies. These and other results are discussed in relation to possible interactions between core autistic symptomotology and the variables that give rise to and maintain behavior problems in such individuals.
Effects of Long-term FCT Across Subgroups of Children Displaying Destructive Behavior
John F. Lee (University of Iowa), Jay W. Harding (University of Iowa), DAVID P. WACKER (University of Iowa), Wendy K. Berg (University of Iowa)
Abstract: In this study, young children with developmental disabilities who displayed destructive behaviors (self-injury, aggression, property destruction) received functional communication training (FCT) in their homes. Treatment was conducted in a two-step process: (a) functional analysis and (b) FCT. The functional analysis was conducted within a multielement design and FCT within a reversal design. FCT was conducted for at least 6 months for each participant. Participants were divided into three groups matched by age, function of destructive behavior, and level of developmental disability: (a) developmental delay only (n = 17), (b) autism spectrum disorder (n = 11), and (c) other specified (e.g., Dandy-Walker syndrome, fragile X) genetic syndrome (n = 7). Treatment outcomes were compared across groups by evaluating four dependent variables (percentage of 6-s intervals of destructive behavior, independent manding, social interactions, and task completion) during baseline (extinction or relevant FA condition) and the final three treatment sessions. Interobserver agreement was assessed on 33.5% of the sessions and averaged over 95% across dependent variables. Mean percentages of all dependent variables were highly consistent across all subgroups. These results suggest that treatment matched to function may reduce any subgroup differences that were present prior to treatment.



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