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 #357
CE Offered: BACB
Procedural Extensions of the Functional Analysis Methodology
Monday, May 31, 2010
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
217D (CC)
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Robert LaRue (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)
CE Instructor: Maranda Trahan, M.S.
Abstract: Functional analysis represents a state of the art model for the assessment of the function of problem behavior. These general procedures are considered to be best practice for the assessment of problem behavior and the development of function-based treatments. Since the publication of the seminal study by Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman & Richman (1982/1994), these procedures have become more refined and applicable to novel applied issues. The current symposium reviews several different procedures extensions of the functional analysis literature. Presentations in the current symposium include modifications of traditional models of analysis to account for problem behavior that occurs outside of traditional settings, such as elopement and the assessment of problem behavior that occurs in the context of transitions. Another presentation will evaluate procedures for refining the session construction for demand conditions in functional analyses. Specifically the authors will provide a model for selecting items to use in the demand condition in functional analyses. The final presentation will evaluate data about the effects of functional analysis on out-of-session maladaptive behavior.
Effects of Functional Analysis on the Rates of Problem Behavior Outside the Functional Analysis Setting
KELLY MCKNIGHT (The Marcus Autism Center), Nathan A. Call (Marcus Autism Center), Addie Jane Findley (Louisiana State University)
Abstract: Functional analysis (FA) methodology typically involves the reinforcement of problem behavior on an FR 1 schedule (Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, & Richman, 1982/84). It has been suggested that one side effect of reinforcing problem behavior on such a dense schedule is a potential increase in problem behavior outside of the FA sessions (Carr, 1977). There are, however, few investigations that evaluate the effects of reinforcing problem behavior during a FA on problem behavior outside of the assessment setting. In the current study, we assessed the likelihood of generalization of problem behavior outside of the FA setting with 11 participants. Baseline data were collected outside the FA assessment prior to and during the FA and were evaluated in a multiple baseline design. Interobserver agreement was assessed during at least 20% of all sessions and always exceeded 80% agreement. Results suggested that increases in problem behavior outside of the FA context occurred only very rarely.
A Comparison of Methods for Assessing Demands as Potential Negative Reinforcers
NATALIE A. PARKS (Marcus Autism Center), Nathan A. Call (Marcus Autism Center), Robert S. Pabico (Center for Behavior Analysis and Language Developm)
Abstract: An extensive body of research exists on the methods for identifying highly preferred items and activities to be used as potential reinforcers for behavior maintained by positive reinforcement (DeLeon & Iwata, 1996; Hagopian, Long, & Rush, 2004; Piazza, Fisher, & Hagopian, 1996). One application of these methods is to identify potential positive reinforcers to include in functional analyses. However, identification of demands for inclusion in functional analyses is typically accomplished via caregiver report. Call, Pabico, & Lomas (2009) presented a method for identifying demands based on direct observations using the latency of onset to problem behavior for each demand as the dependent measure. Demands with shorter latencies to problem behavior were shown to be more likely to produce an escape function in functional analysis than demands with longer latencies. The current study used an alternative method to assess demands based on a concurrent operants design similar to the model used by Fisher et al. (1992) to identify preferred items. For 5 participants demands that were chosen rarely (i.e., “less preferred”) were more likely to result in the identification of an escape function when included in a functional analysis than more preferred demands. Results of the concurrent operants demand assessment were also compared directly to those of the latency-based demand assessment described by Call et al., with results showing a moderate correlation between results of the two methodologies. Finally, the relative clinical advantages and disadvantages (e.g., length of assessment, amount of problem behavior observed, etc.) of each method is discussed.
Assessment and Treatment of Elopement Utilizing a Trial-by-Trial Format
CHRIS A. TULLIS (Marcus Autism Center), Nathan A. Call (Marcus Autism Center), Robert S. Pabico (Center for Behavior Analysis and Language Developm)
Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated the effectiveness of functional analysis (FA) methodology for identifying the reinforcers that maintain elopement (Piazza, et al., 1997; Tarbox, Wallace, & Williams, 2003). One challenge of assessing the function of elopement is that, due to safety reasons, the individual must be retrieved, generally immediately, which can make it difficult to determine the effects of attention on elopement. Piazza et al. (1997) used a modified FA in a clinic setting that was arranged to allow elopement to occur without requiring immediate retrieval. However, in some cases the Piazza et al. methodology may be untenable because it may preclude the inclusion of certain highly preferred leisure activities that may function as positive reinforcers that maintain elopement, such as playing on playground equipment. In the current investigation a trial-by-trial FA was conducted in the natural environment that included access to a preferred leisure activity that could not be included in the clinic setting (i.e., an elevator) while still controlling for the delivery of attention. Results demonstrated that elopement was maintained by positive reinforcement in the form of access to preferred activities and treatments based on the assessment results successfully reduced elopement.
Assessment and Treatment of Problem Behavior Evoked by Transitions in Learners With Autism
JILL A. SZALONY (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Centers, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Robert LaRue (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Kimberly Sloman (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Mary Jane Weiss (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Todd Frischmann (Rutgers University), Tina Rivera (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Christopher Manente (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), James Maraventano (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)
Abstract: Transitions are defined as changes from one activity or setting to another (Archer & Hosley, 1969; Newman et al., 1995). Difficulties with transitions are common for individuals with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). Several studies have documented that transitions frequently evoke problem behavior in this population. To date, relatively little research has evaluated assessment and treatment models designed to address problem behavior occasioned by transitions. This dearth in the literature is likely due to the fact that transitions involve complex relationships between activities and settings. Transitions have at least three different components that need to be accounted for during assessment: the interruption of the initial activity, the physical movement to another setting, and the start of a different activity. As problem behavior can be occasioned by any component of a transition, assessment procedures need to be developed to identify which components are problematic to design effective function-based treatments. The purpose of the current investigation is to evaluate a model for assessing the function of challenging behavior occurring in the context of transitions. After the assessment, the impact of function-based treatment based on the results, such as warnings, replacement skills (e.g., requesting additional time), behavioral momentum, video priming, and differential reinforcement, will be evaluated.



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