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 #170
CE Offered: BACB
Advancements in the Area of Functional Analysis: Complex Models in Public School Settings
Monday, May 30, 2016
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Grand Ballroom CD South, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: DDA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Mark J. Palmieri (The Center for Children with Speical Needs)
CE Instructor: Amanda P. Laprime, Ph.D.

With the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requiring public school settings to provide least restrictive environments for students with disabilities, behavior analytic work within these settings is impacted by the increased complexity of clinical cases. In addition, IDEA requires the use of evidence-based practices in public school systems. Consequently, it is important for clinicians to utilize the most contemporary, effective, and efficient assessment and treatment tools available. Functional analysis methodology has time and time again proven to provide conclusive results regarding the function of behavior, and led to interventions informed by this clear understanding of behavior. Recent research in the area of functional analysis has included modified functional analyses, latency-based functional analyses, analyses of response classes and precursor behaviors, as well as methods for training public school staff to be involved in assessment. The expansion of the literature has made functional analyses more efficient and accessible in public school environments. With easier to access methods and clear conclusions regarding behavior, the role of functional analysis models and their effects on treatment decisions in public school settings is an important issue for behavior analysts to consider in their practice.

Keyword(s): Education, Functional analysis

Functional Analysis and Treatment of Precursor Behavior for Self-Injury in a Student With Angelman Syndrome

AMANDA P. LAPRIME (The Center for Children with Special Needs; Northeastern University), Solandy Forte (The Center for Children with Special Needs; Endicott College)

Precursor behaviors are those which both precede, and often predict the occurrence of a target response (Fahmie & Iwata, 2011). It is frequently assumed that precursor behaviors are part of the same response class as those behaviors that they precede. The role of precursors in treating potentially dangerous behavior such as self-injury, has received high levels of attention in the research, as responding to precursor responses may interrupt or decrease the probability of higher intensity behaviors (Herscovitch et al., 2009). In the current study, a brief functional analysis with a latency analysis, was conducted in a public school setting, to evaluate the degree to which precursor behaviors were part of the same response class as self-biting in a 9-year-student with Angelman syndrome. Data showed that precursor behaviors functioned as part of the same response class as self-biting. The shortest latencies to pre-cursor responses occurred during the tangible condition as compared to the attention, demand, and control conditions. While many other treatments had failed to effectively reduce self-biting, these data led to a treatment in which pre-cursor behaviors were reinforced as a method to effectively decrease self-biting across environments. These data show the importance of both assessing and treating precursor responses, particularly when faced with dangerous behaviors.

Assessing the Role of Attention in the Functional Analysis and Treatment of Problem Behavior
SHAUNESSY M. EGAN (The Center for Children with Special Needs)
Abstract: When given complex problem behavior, procedural modifications to functional analysis (FA) methodology has led to a better understanding of the environmental variables that maintain behavior. One area, specifically, the parameters of positive reinforcement in the form of attention, has been the focus of several studies (e.g., Broussard & Northup, 1997; Mueller et al., 2001). In the current study, a functional analysis with a latency analysis was conducted to assess behavioral episodes in a 6-year old boy with Fragile-X syndrome. A previous functional behavior assessment hypothesized that behavioral episodes functioned due to both escape from demands and staff attention. The FA included four phases; control, test, standard reinforcement, and a secondary reinforcement, which evaluated the role of attention combined with the standard reinforcement for the demand and tangible conditions. Data showed that in both demand and tangible conditions, the standard consequence paired with preferred types of attention, reinforced behavior, as compared to the demand and tangible conditions without the addition of attention as a consequence. These data, in conjunction with a preference assessment of specific types of adult attention, were used to inform a clinical treatment program that was assessed using a multiple baseline across settings design.
Teacher-Led Functional Analysis and Treatment of Stereotypic Behavior in a Public School Setting
KIMBERLY MARSHALL (The Center for Children with Special Needs)
Abstract: As functional analyses (FA) expand to applied settings there is an increased need for school teams to use this well-researched technology to improve their assessment and treatment of problem behavior. In the current study, a special education teacher was trained to run all conditions of a brief FA with a latency analysis to assess the function of motor and vocal stereotypy in an 11-year old boy with an autism spectrum disorder. A functional behavior assessment, which preceded the FA, concluded that stereotypic behavior was automatically maintained; consequently the team was utilizing response interruption and redirection to decrease stereotypy. The present analysis allowed the school team to consider that behavior which may appear to be automatically-maintained, may still be differentiated across environmental variables, which could be of significant importance in treatment selection. Treatment will be informed by the results of the functional analysis and implemented by school staff. These data show the importance of training school staff to run assessment and intervention for complex behaviors in a school system with the oversight of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst© to assess treatment fidelity.



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