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 #456
CE Offered: BACB
Practical and Experimental Alternatives to Extended Functional Analyses: Considerations for School and Clinical Settings
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
10:00 AM–11:20 AM
616/617 (Convention Center)
Area: EDC/DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Ariel Ravid (Binghamton University)
Discussant: Emily Huber Callahan (Institute for Child Development, Binghamton University)
CE Instructor: Emily Huber Callahan, Ph.D.

Research has shown that behavioral interventions based on functional analyses yield more effective results than those chosen arbitrarily (Iwata et al., 1994). However, much of the research on functional analyses comes from highly controlled experimental settings (Northrup et al., 1991). Because of the controlled and extensive nature of the designs, some in the educational and clinical communities have argued that it is not appropriate, feasible, or ethical to implement such procedures in their settings (Scott et al., 2005; Thompson & Caruso, 2006). The purpose of this symposium will be to present alternative methods for assessing the function of problem behavior that address the limitations and barriers present when working in school and clinical settings, yet still adhere to sound experimental design. Presentations will include descriptions of efforts to implement function based assessment for problem behavior in a full and partial-hospitalization program, the use of brief functional analyses of disruptive behavior in a school for children with pervasive developmental disabilities, and the use of brief functional assessment procedures for determining the function of self-injurious behavior in an educational setting.

Keyword(s): Brief Methodology, Functional Analysis

Modified Functional Analysis Procedures in a Hospital Setting

JULIA BARNES (Children's Hospital Colorado), Robin L. Gabriels (Children's Hospital Colorado)

The Neuropsychiatric Special Care (NSC) Program of Children's Hospital Colorado provides short-term inpatient and day treatment care for children and adolescents with developmental disabilities and co-morbid medical and/or psychiatric conditions. Treatment of individuals in this program embodies an interdisciplinary approach to treating a variety of disruptive behaviors (e.g., self-injury, aggression and property disruption) using collaborative cognitive-behavioral and medical approaches. Determining the function and underlying factors for "tip of the iceberg" presenting crisis behavior problems is of significant importance to designing effective intervention. However, there can be several limitations to implementing functional analytic assessments in the context of brief inpatient and partial hospitalization stays, such as those arising from factors like environmental control, staffing rotations, and hospital-wide policies and procedures. The aim of this talk is to identify these limitations and ways this program utilizes specific modified functional analytic procedures to inform interventions within this setting. Illustrative case examples will be included.


Brief Functional Analysis in the Schools: Usefulness, Challenges, and Considerations

LAURA B. TURNER (Binghamton University), Ariel Ravid (Binghamton University), Stephanie Lockshin (Institute for Child Development, Binghamton University)

Brief functional analysis was developed as a practical alternative to the traditional functional analysis (Northrup, Wacker, Sasso, Steege, Cigrand, Cook, & DeRaad, 1991). In an effort to develop an effective intervention plan to reduce high rates of screaming (a highly disruptive behavior within a classroom setting) in a timely manner, a brief functional analysis is currently being conducted with a 7-year-old boy with autism. Each of the 4 analog conditions (i.e., control, demand, attention, and tangible) were implemented once. All conditions were 10 minutes in duration with a 2 minute break separating the conditions. Preliminary results allow us to hypothesize that social positive reinforcement (i.e., attention) appears to be maintaining screaming. Based on this function, a contingency reversal will be implemented to confirm the hypothesized effect of attention as a reinforcer of behavior. Results will be compared to the data obtained via a structured descriptive behavior assessment. The final results of the brief functional analysis will then be used to develop a functionally equivalent intervention. Discussion will highlight the benefits, challenges, and considerations of implementing a brief functional analysis in a school setting.


Brief Procedures for Determining the Function of Self-Injurious Behavior in a School Setting

ARIEL RAVID (Binghamton University), Laura B. Turner (Binghamton University), Stephanie Lockshin (Institute for Child Development, Binghamton University)

Functional analytic procedures have the capability to demonstrate the causal relation between environmental variables and the display of self-injurious behavior (Iwata et al., 1982/1994). However, educational settings often face logistical barriers when attempting to conduct functional analyses (Fox & Davis, 2005). Additionally, some have expressed concern over the use of procedures that allow for the occurrence of self-injurious behavior (Repp, 1994). Recently, trial-based functional analytic procedures have been described (Bloom et al., 2011) in which latency until onset of self-injurious behavior is the dependent variable. Therefore, the maximum number of attempts at self-injury for each trial is limited to 1. The purpose of this presentation will be to describe the use of trial based functional analysis procedures for assessing the function of self-injurious behavior displayed by 2 students diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorders. Structured descriptive assessments were conducted to inform selection of conditions to include in a multielement design. Data is currently being collected in 6-minute trials across the children's school day. The value of the trial based functional analysis will be discussed in terms of identification of the function of behavior, the impact on treatment, and for the feasibility of implementing this procedure in a school setting.




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