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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #158
CE Offered: BACB
Assessment of Severe Problem Behavior: Clinical Extensions and Outcomes
Sunday, May 27, 2012
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
4C-4 (Convention Center)
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Maureen Kelly (New England Center for Children)
CE Instructor: Maureen Kelly, Ph.D.
Abstract: The current symposium includes four papers addressing the assessment of severe problem behavior. For the first paper, the presenter will describe a study to evaluate the utility of a sequence of functional assessments: multiple-respondent anecdotal assessments to test-control treatment analysis. For the second paper, the presenter will review data on the frequency, type, and severity of injuries that occurred during functional analyses of self-injurious behavior (SIB). For the third paper, the author will present results based on a review of the literature on functional behavior assessment and interventions in the school setting. Results will be discussed in terms of current practice of functional assessment in the school setting and implications for the field. For the fourth paper, the presenter will be showing data on 20 parent completed functional analyses. For the purposes of this paper, experienced behavior analysts remotely coached parents to conduct functional analyses on their child’s problem behaviors using telehealth.
Progressing from Multiple-Respondent Anecdotal Assessments to Test-Control Analyses of Problem Behavior
MARTHA JOE STAFF (University of North Texas), Richard G. Smith (University of North Texas)
Abstract: The current study was designed to evaluate the utility of a sequence of functional assessments: multiple-respondent anecdotal assessments to test-control treatment analysis. The goal of the study was to evaluate overall agreement among multiple respondents on the primary function of aberrant behavior using the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) and Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF) and, if agreement was obtained, conduct a test-control evaluation to confirm anecdotal assessment findings while simultaneously evaluating the effects of function-based treatment. For 4 individuals, at least 4 of 5 respondents to the anecdotal assessments agreed (both within and across assessments) on the probable maintaining consequence for their problem behaviors. Test-control multielement evaluations were then conducted in which baseline sessions corresponding to the suspected operant function of each individual’s problem behavior were alternated with sessions in which the identified contingency was arranged for alternative behavior. Each evaluation showed substantial decreases in problem behavior and maintenance of alternative responses.

Examination of the Safety of Functional Analyses of Problem Behavior

NICOLE LYNN HAUSMAN (Kennedy Krieger Institute), SungWoo Kahng (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Alyssa Fisher (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jonathan Dean Schmidt (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jessica Becraft (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Katie Wiskow (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Christopher Tung (Kennedy Krieger Institute)

Between 10-15% of individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities engage in self-injurious behavior ([SIB]; Kahng, Hausman, & Jann, 2011). Functional analyses are generally effective in identifying variables that maintain SIB (Iwata et al., 1994), which ultimately results in more effective interventions. Although functional analyses are highly effective at identifying the function of problem behavior, recent discussions have questioned its safety (Weeden, Mahoney, & Poling, 2010). It is unknown if functional analyses place individuals at risk of injury given that it is necessary to expose the individual to situations that may evoke SIB. Currently, there are no known estimates of the incidence of injury to individuals during the assessment process. The aim of the current study is to evaluate the frequency, type, and severity of injuries that occurred during the functional analysis of SIB. Preliminary data from six participants suggest that no injuries occurred during the functional analysis; however, 10 injuries were reported on the living unit during the same time period. These preliminary data suggest that, with adequate safety precautions in place, functional analyses may not place individuals at a greater risk of injury than exists in a typical living environment.


Functional Behavior Assessment and Interventions in Schools: A Review of the Literature

MICHAEL PARRY (University of Oregon), Anna Marshall (University of Oregon), Caitlin Rasplica (University of Oregon), Tom Cariveau (University of Oregon), Nicole Kaye (University of Oregon), Cynthia M. Anderson (University of Oregon)

Functional assessment (FA) increasingly is recognized as best practice for students with behavioral challenges in schools. Although empirical studies using FA continue to be conducted primarily in clinical settings, studies documenting the use of FA in schools are increasing. This is important as school-based researchers and practitioners look to the literature to guide their practice. In this paper we present results of a review of the school-based FA literature. We reviewed only studies in which (1) the FA was conducted in a school, (2) data documenting results of the FA for individual students was available, and (3) the publication was peer-reviewed. Published studies between 1994 and 2010 were included. A total of 185 studies were identified, of those, 95 met inclusion criteria. Results will be presented documenting key features including population, target response, type of FA, hypothesized environment-behavior relations, whether an intervention was conducted, intervention components and link to operant function, whether the intervention was deemed effective and if functional control was established, and if generalization and/or maintenance were documented. We also documented whether fidelity was assessed. Results will be discussed in terms of current practice in school-based FA and implications for the field.


Training Parents to Conduct FAs Via Teleconsultation

JOHN F. LEE (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Yaniz C. Padilla Dalmau (University of Iowa), Todd G. Kopelman (University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics), Scott D. Lindgren (University of Iowa)

Experienced behavior analysts remotely coached parents to conduct functional analyses (FA) of problem behavior exhibited by their children using telehealth. We will be presenting data on 20 parent completed FAs. Participants were children who were 6-years-old or younger, had diagnosed autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and displayed problem behavior. Participating families went to a local Child Health Specialty Clinic (CHSC) room with teleconferencing equipment to be connected remotely to a teleconsultation center at a tertiary level hospital. a behavior consultant at the Center for Disabilities and Development at University of Iowa - Hospitals and Clinics (CDD) guided the parents on how to conduct a functional analysis. Participants lived an average of 15 miles from the local CHSC and an average of 222 miles from the CDD. All sessions were conducted by parents during weekly, one hour visits, with an average of 3.8 FA sessions per visit and an average of 4.8 visits per FA. Functional analyses were completed within a multielement design. A social function for problem behavior was identified for 18 of the 20 participants. Interrater agreement was assessed across approximately 30% of sessions and averaged over 90%. Results will be discussed in terms of challenges, safety, and next steps.




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