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 #86
CE Offered: BACB
Advances in Applications of Varied Functional Analysis Methodology: Latency, Precursor, and Tele-Health
Sunday, May 29, 2016
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
Grand Ballroom CD South, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Tyra P. Sellers (Utah State University)
Discussant: Alison M. Betz (Florida Institute of Technology)
CE Instructor: Tyra P. Sellers, Ph.D.
Abstract: Practitioners who assess and treat individuals with problem behavior are frequently faced with barriers to implementing functional analyses, such as concerns with repeatedly evoking and reinforcing the targeted problem behavior, or access to resources. The first project evaluated the application of latency-based FA as an alternative to traditional FAs of problem behavior in inpatient hospital settings. The second project extends the utility of latency-based FA methodology by outlining an approach to data collection, which facilitates the use of latency-based FA outcomes as baseline data during subsequent treatment evaluations. A third project evaluated the utility of an FA and subsequent treatment of precursor behavior to reduce occurrence of related problem behavior for young children with autism in home settings. The fourth evaluation assessed the effects of using tele-health to train and coach an existing early childhood behavior specialist to coach parents of children under three in conducting FAs and implementing FCT procedures to reduce problem behavior. The research presentations in this symposium provide evidence that a variety of FA methodology can be successfully implemented to address barriers that might otherwise prevent application of more traditional FA methods.
Keyword(s): functional analysis, latency, precursor, tele-health

Outcome Summaries of Latency-Based Functional Analyses Conducted in Inpatient Units of Hospital Settings

JOHN E. STAUBITZ (TRIAD, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center), Joseph Michael Lambert (Vanderbilt University), Jessica Torelli (Vanderbilt University Medical Center), Nealetta Houchins-Juarez (Vanderbilt University), A. Pablo Juàrez (Vanderbilt University Medical Center)

Latency-based functional analysis (FA) may be a viable alternative to traditional FA when evoking and reinforcing high rates of problem behavior is not advisable. We conducted 16 latency-based FAs of the problem behavior of 15 children diagnosed with autism in inpatient hospital settings. Concurrently, we conducted latency-based structured descriptive assessments (SDA) of four secondary response topographies. Latency-based FAs identified functional relationships for targeted responses during 50% (8 of 16) of assessments and latency-based SDAs yielded evidence suggestive of functional relationships for non-targeted responses during 50% (2 of 4) of assessments. Implications and future directions are discussed.


Latency-Based FA as Baseline for Subsequent Treatment Evaluation

NEALETTA HOUCHINS-JUAREZ (Vanderbilt University), Joseph Michael Lambert (Vanderbilt University), Carmen Caruthers (Vanderbilt University), Kate Tygielski Chazin (Vanderbilt University), Emilee Harbin (Vanderbilt University)

No research has used latency-based functional analysis (FA) outcomes as baseline data from which to evaluate the effectiveness of subsequent function-based treatments. This approach to analysis calls for the continued collection of latency-based measures for all targeted variables throughout all phases of treatment. We tracked client progress during treatment using latency-based, rate-based, and percentage-of-opportunity measures of relevant behavior and compared graphical representations of each. Visual inspection of all data indicates that changes in variability level, and trend of latencybased measures correspond well with said changes in more traditional measures.


Implementation of Interventions for Problem Behavior Based on the Results of Precursor Functional Analyses in an Early Childhood Setting

AUDREY N. HOFFMANN (Utah State University), Tyra P. Sellers (Utah State University), Hayley Halversen (Utah State University), Sarah E. Bloom (University of South Florida)

Individuals engaging in problem behavior may also engage in milder, topographically different precursor behavior maintained by the same functional reinforcers as the more intense problem behavior. Identifying functionally related precursor behavior allows clinicians to implement interventions directly on precursor behavior, which may result in fewer instances of more intense problem behavior occurring during assessment and intervention implementation. Previous research conducted descriptive analyses to identify precursors, conducted functional analyses targeting the precursor behavior, and demonstrated that precursors were functionally related to the more intense topography of problem behavior. Researchers then demonstrated decreases in the targeted problem behavior by implementing interventions addressing the precursor behavior. The current study extended the application of this methodology to children under the age of five who had a history of engaging in problem behavior. Specifically, we conducted descriptive analyses to identify precursor behavior and subsequent functional analyses targeting the pre-identified precursor behavior to identify the function. A function-based intervention was implemented to address the precursor behavior resulting in decreased levels of precursor behavior and suppression of the more intense problem behavior.


Functional Analyses and Functional Communication Training With Children Under Three Using Telehealth and Existing Supports: Early Childhood Special Education Behavior Specialist as Coach and Caregivers as Implementers

Audrey N. Hoffmann (Utah State University), BISTRA BOGOEV (Utah State University), Tyra P. Sellers (Utah State University)

Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) have successfully demonstrated the use of telehealth in coaching parents to conduct functional analyses (FA) and subsequent functional communication training (FCT). We replicated and extended previous research by enlisting existing natural change agents to conduct FAs and FCT interventions via telehealth for children three years old and younger. BCBAs trained and coached the existing behavior specialist via telehealth, who in turn trained and coached parents to conduct FAs and implement FCT in the community clinic setting. The function of problem behavior was successfully identified for five participants. Two participants have completed FCT. Problem behavior reduced and the selected appropriate communication response increased for both participants. The remaining three participants have begun FCT interventions. This study demonstrates that BCBAs can provide coaching and training, via telehealth, to less trained behavior specialists to improve existing services provided through service programs, while minimizing potentially intrusive involvement of outside service providers.




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Modifed by Eddie Soh