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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #36
CE Offered: BACB
Further Exploration of Trial-Based Functional Analysis
Sunday, May 29, 2016
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Grand Ballroom CD South, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Cynthia M. Anderson (Appalachian State University)
Discussant: Jennifer L. Austin (University of South Wales)
CE Instructor: Cynthia M. Anderson, Ph.D.

Trial-based functional analysis has been shown to be a viable method of identifying operant function. The TBFA is particularly useful when time is limited or the intensity of the response precludes conducting a more traditional functional analysis. In this symposium we explore several research questions surrounding use of TBFA. Two papers extend TBFA to home settings for the first time. Both Gerow et al. and Standish et al. trained parents to implement the TBFA. Gerow et al. used behavioral skills training to teach parents to implement the TBFA and matched interventions to results of the TBFA. All parents implemented the assessment with fidelity and documented a functional relation between intervention implementation and child outcomes. More specifically, FCT-based interventions were used resulting in reductions in problem behavior and increases in alternative responses. Standish et al. also trained parents to implement the TBFA using behavioral skills training. Standish et al. explored effects of different variations of TBFA seen in the literature including (a) segment duration, (b) use of control segments, and (c) number of trials conducted. Some variability was found however, in general, results support briefer (60 s) segments, use of a post-control only, and using stability criterion to determine when the TBFA is complete. Next, Sellars et al. explored methods for training residential care providers in implementation of TBFA with a particular focus on maintenance over time. They successfully trained direct are staff to implement the TBFA and, for five of six participants, skills were maintained after training however only one participant went on to use the TBFA. XXX Finally, Dr. Jennifer Austin will serve as discussant for this study, exploring ramifications of each study separately and directions for TBFA--and functional analysis more generally--in the future. .

Keyword(s): functional anlaysis, parent training, problem behavior, Trial-based

Effects of A Performance Management Package on Sustained Implementation of Trial-Based Functional Analyses in Adult Residential and Day Programs Following Training

SHAWNEE D. COLLINS (Chrysalis), Tyra P. Sellers (Utah State University)

Clinicians working with individuals with developmental disabilities frequently conduct functional analyses (FA) to determine the function of problem behavior and to facilitate the development of an intervention plan to reduce problem behavior. One version of FA methodology, the trial based functional analysis (TBFA), is a viable alternative to a traditional FA when resources are limited. Researchers have demonstrated that teachers and residential staff can be trained to effectively implement TBFAs. However, to date, no studies have looked at the maintenance of implementation following training, or if additional supports (e.g., added coaching/performance feedback, incentive systems) are needed to ensure sustained use of the skill. This study examined the effects of a post-workshop training performance management intervention package of goal setting with data reporting, coaching, and incentives on the implementation of trial-based functional analyses (TBFA) by behavior clinicians in adult residential and day settings. Five of the six participants demonstrated increased implementation of TBFAs only after the performance management intervention was introduced. One participant implemented TBFAs following the workshop training.

Evaluation of Methodological Variables Affecting Outcomes of the Trial-Based Functional Analysis
CASSANDRA STANDISH (Appalachian State University), Cecilia Smith (Appalachian State University), Cynthia M. Anderson (Appalachian State University)
Abstract: Prior studies suggest that trial-based functional analyses (TBFA) can be used to identify the function of problem behaviors for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To date, there have been 16 published studies concerning TBFAs, however, across these studies there have been several variations in the procedures that appear to have been decided upon somewhat arbitrarily. For example, of the 16 studies, eight used a control segment after the test segment; five used a control segment prior to the test segment; one randomized the order of the test and control segments; and two studies used a control both before and after the test segment. Additionally, the number of trials conducted per test condition has varied between 3 and 20 trials. Despite the variation in the number of trials conducted, it appears as if researcher decided upon the number of trials to conduct prior to the TBFA, rather than using a stability criterion. The purpose of this study is to (a) examine patterns of responding in pre and post-control segments to determine if either or both are necessary and (b) evaluate response patterns within and across test conditions to determine if using stability criterion might be more appropriate to use when determining the number of trials to conduct. This study is also distinguished from prior studies in that primary caregivers will implement the TBFA in the homes of the children. Three children with developmental and intellectual disabilities participated in this study. At least one function was identified for two of the three participants. Of the two TBFAs in which a function was identified, both showed problem behavior occurring multiple times in the test and post-control segments; there was only one instance of problem behavior in the pre-control segments across all three participants.This suggests that there may have been carry-over effects occurring. For the two TBFAs in which a function was identified, a stable pattern of responding emerged prior to the termination of the TBFA, suggesting that a stability criterion could be a viable measure to use to decide when to terminate the TBFA. Finally, for both of the TBFAs in which a function was identified, a similar pattern of responding was found to occur when each segment was evaluated at 120-s and 60-s, suggesting that the segment could be conducted for only 60-s and capture the function of the problem behavior.

Functional Analysis of Elopement in Naturalistic and Contrived Settings

Mindy Christine Scheithauer (Marcus Autism Center; Emory University), STEPHANIE L. KINCAID (Marcus Autism Center), Joanna Lomas Mevers (Marcus Autism Center; Emory University), Mirari Elcoro (Armstrong State University), Nathan Call (Marcus Autism Center; Emory University)

Elopement is a high-risk behavior, as individuals who run away may encounter life-threatening situations (e.g., getting hit by a car). Prior functional analyses of elopement reported in the literature have been conducted in a variety of settings ranging from highly-controlled settings to naturalistic settings such as the classroom or playground. However, assessments conducted in these settings have not been compared within the same individual to determine if similar results are acquired across settings. We conducted trial-based functional analyses (FA) of the elopement of 2 children diagnosed with autism in both naturalistic (i.e., a classroom, playroom, and general unit of a day treatment clinic) and contrived (i.e., 2 adjoining session rooms) using a latency measure. Results were compared across settings. Additionally, results of the trial-based FA were compared with a subsequent FA that used a rate measure similar to Piazza and colleagues (1997). Correspondence among assessment methods, limitations of each assessment, and implications of the assessment results for treatment will be discussed.


Parent-Implemented Trial-Based Functional Analysis Matched to Treatment With Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

STEPHANIE GEROW (Texas A&M University), Mandy J. Rispoli (Purdue University), Lisa Rodriguez Sanchez (Texas A&M University), Emily Gregori` (Texas A&M University)

The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of a parent-implemented trial-based functional analysis (TBFA) in accurately identifying the function of challenging behavior in the home setting. Three young boys with autism and their mothers participated in the study. The mothers implemented a TBFA with coaching from a behavior consultant. TBFA procedures were adapted from Bloom, Iwata, Fritz, Roscoe, and Carreau (2011) to increase contextual fit and to capture typical parent-child interactions within home settings. With coaching, all parents were able to implement the TBFA with high fidelity. TBFA results were matched to a functional communication training (FCT) intervention and evaluated using a multiple baseline design across parent-child dyads. Following parent training, parents accurately implemented FCT, child challenging behavior decreased, and childrens use of the alternative communication response increased. These results speak to the promise of parent-implemented TBFA in identifying social functions of challenging behavior. Implications for research and practice will be presented.




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