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.


Ninth Annual Autism Conference; Las Vegas, NV; 2015

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #13
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Toward a Safer, Faster, and Better Functional Analysis of Problem Behaviors Associated With Autism

Sunday, January 25, 2015
8:30 AM–9:20 AM
Grand Ballroom
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Gregory P. Hanley, Ph.D.
Chair: John D. Molteni (University of Saint Joseph)
GREGORY P. HANLEY (Western New England University)
Dr. Gregory P. Hanley has been applying the principles of learning to improve socially important behaviors of children and adults with and without disabilities for more than 20 years. He worked and trained at the Spurwink School, the Groden Center, and the Kennedy Krieger Institute, earned his Ph.D. at the University of Florida and was tenured at the University of Kansas. He is currently a professor of psychology and director of the Behavior Analysis Doctoral Program at Western New England University and an adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Hanley has published more than 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals in areas such as the assessment and prevention of problem behavior, teaching tactics for young children, and evidence-based values. Dr. Hanley is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 25), past editor of Behavior Analysis in Practice (BAP), and a past associate editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, The Behavior Analyst, and BAP.

Although a diagnosis of autism is not dependent on problem behaviors like meltdowns, self-injury, or aggression, one or more of these types of problems will likely require address at some point in the life span of a person diagnosed with autism. There is strong evidence supporting behavioral intervention to address these problem behaviors, with better outcomes evident when a functional analysis is part of the pretreatment functional assessment process. Nevertheless, assertions regarding the legitimacy of different types of functional assessment vary substantially across published studies. In addition, the research literature shows an unfortunate trend toward the standardization of the functional analytic part of the process. In this session, a highly individualized and practical functional assessment process that leads to fast, safe, and effective outcomes will be described. The comprehensive and socially validated treatments for problem behavior that result from this particular functional assessment process also will be described.

Target Audience:

Psychologists, behavior analysts, practitioners, and graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants should be able to: (1) given the results of an open-ended interview, design an efficient, safe, individualized (nonstandardized), and synthesized functional analysis; (2) given different functions of problem behavior, design functionally relevant, effective, and skill-based interventions capable of producing generalizable and socially valid improvements in problem behavior; and (3) describe and implement several strategies for teaching individuals with severe problem behavior to tolerate both delays to and denials of reinforcers previously maintaining their problem behavior.
Keyword(s): functional analysis, problem behaviors



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