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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #182
CE Offered: BACB
Functional Assessment of Problem Behavior and Factors That Influence Effectiveness of Interventions
Sunday, May 30, 2010
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
217A (CC)
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Sarah E. Bloom (Utah State University)
CE Instructor: Tonya Davis, Ph.D.
Abstract: This symposium includes four papers that address functional assessment and treatment of problem behavior with children who have developmental disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorders. The first two papers focus on assessment strategies and the last two papers are related to intervention. The first paper presents a large sample of indirect functional assessments (Questions About Behavioral Function, i.e. QABF) performed with children with autism. The second paper presents two experiments evaluating a teacher-conducted trial-based functional analysis. The third paper examines a signaled delay to reinforcement procedure on the problem behavior maintained by access to tangible items. The fourth paper evaluates factors related to the efficacy of choice to function as a reinforcer in skill acquisition/problem behavior reduction interventions with preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder. This symposium will be valuable for researchers and clinicians interested in advances in functional assessment of problem behavior as well as function-based interventions.
Functional Assessment of Challenging Behavior in 100 Children With Autism
ARTHUR E. WILKE (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Dennis Dixon (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Jonathan J. Tarbox (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Michele R. Bishop (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Amy Kenzer (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Catherine Peters (Center For Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Heleya Kakavand (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
Abstract: Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) commonly display challenging behaviors. However, relatively little research has evaluated the functions of challenging behaviors across large samples of individuals on the spectrum. In this study, we administered indirect functional assessments, in the form of the Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF), to 100 children with autism. We also conducted a second administration of the QABF with an additional caregiver in 10% of the sample, in order to assess the inter-rater reliability of parental report. In order to assess the validity of the QABF findings, we also conducted experimental functional analyses with 10% of the sample. Results are analyzed in terms of the relative prevalence of attention, escape, tangible, and automatic functions across various topographies of challenging behavior, including aggression, self-injury, physical stereotypy, vocal stereotypy, and disruption. Implications for commonly held assumptions regarding the function of challenging behaviors emitted by individuals with ASDs are discussed.
Evaluation of a Teacher Conducted Trial-Based Functional Analysis
Sarah E. Bloom (Utah State University), JOSEPH MICHAEL LAMBERT (Utah State University), Joy S. Pollard (Utah State University), Tyra P. Sellers (Utah State University), Elizabeth Dayton (Utah State University), Andrew Samaha (Utah State University), Alice A. Keyl (Utah State University)
Abstract: We evaluated a teacher-conducted trial-based approach to functional analysis in classroom settings in two experiments. In the first Experiment, classroom teachers were trained to conduct trial-based functional analyses with five students referred for problem behavior. Outcomes of these teacher-conducted trial-based functional analyses were compared to standard functional analyses (Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, & Richman, 1982/1994) conducted by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). Outcomes of both assessments showed correspondence in three of the five cases, with partial correspondence obtained the remaining two cases. In the second Experiment, classroom teachers conducted additional trial-based functional analyses and developed function-based interventions based on the trial-based functional analyses. Results suggest that classroom teachers may conduct trial-based functional analyses when they don’t have the resources to conduct standard functional analyses and that those trial-based functional analyses may be the basis for effective function-based interventions. Implications for classroom-based assessment and accessibility of function-based intervention are discussed.
Effects of a Signaled Delay to Reinforcement Procedure on the Problem Behavior of Young Children With Autism
ALICE A. KEYL (Utah State University), Thomas S. Higbee (Utah State University)
Abstract: Delays to reinforcement have been cited as a common issue in individuals with developmental disabilities who are seeking access to reinforcement. Typically, issues of delays to reinforcement have been discussed as they are related to self-control (e.g., choosing a larger more delayed reinforcer over a smaller more immediate reinforcer) and subsequent interventions implemented to increase self-control. However, aberrant behavior may occur as a result of delays to reinforcement outside of a self-control context. For example, individuals may be required to wait for a specified amount of time before a reinforcer is available (e.g., food items that must be cooked prior to consumption). The purpose of the present study was to evaluate whether the use of a signal (printed sign) to indicate both delay to reinforcement and reinforcement availability would decrease problem behavior in young children diagnosed with autism in a preschool setting. Results suggest that a signaled delay significantly decreased problem behavior as compared to no signal. Additionally this skill (waiting) was generalized to other settings and delays were increased from 30 sec to 2 min.
Evaluating Choice as a Reinforcer
TYRA P. SELLERS (Utah State University), Sarah E. Bloom (Utah State University)
Abstract: Providing individuals with disabilities the opportunity to choose is a strategy that is often recommended in skill acquisition and/or behavior reduction programs. In Experiment 1, we examined whether or not a preference for choice can be assessed using a paired-stimulus preference assessment, within which participants chose between edible items presented in 3 arrangements (a single item vs. 4 identical items vs. 4 varied items). Experiment 2 consisted of a concurrent-schedule reinforcer assessment within which we assessed whether higher rates of responding were obtained on tasks associated with a choice between 4 identical items or tasks associated with a single item (no choice). Experiment 3 also consisted of a concurrent-schedule reinforcer assessment, but assessed whether higher rates of responding were obtained on tasks associated with a choice between 4 varied-items or tasks associated with a single item (no choice). Preliminary results indicate that contingent choice (between multiple identical items or between varied items) may more effectively reinforce behavior than contingent access to a single preferred item (no choice) for some individuals. Momentary changes in preference for individual edible items may influence the value of choice in some cases. Implications for development of reinforcement contingencies for use in skill acquisition and/or behavior reductions will be discussed.



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