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.


11th Annual Autism Conference; San Juan, Puerto Rico; 2017

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #8

Improving the Efficacy and Practicality of Functional Communication Training

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
2:30 PM–3:20 PM
San Juan Grand Ballroom
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Brian D. Greer, Ph.D.
Chair: Cathleen C. Piazza (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
BRIAN D. GREER (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Brian Greer is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and a Case Manager in the Severe Behavior Disorders Program at the Munroe-Meyer Institute's Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD). He received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Florida in 2008. In 2011, Dr. Greer obtained a Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science from the University of Kansas, where he later completed doctoral training in 2013. During his tenure at the University of Kansas, Dr. Greer received the Baer, Wolf, and Risley Outstanding Graduate Student Award for excellence in teaching, research, and service. He later completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute under the direction of Dr. Wayne Fisher. He has served on the Board of Editors for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and as ad-hoc reviewer for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, The Psychological Record, Behavior Analysis in Practice, Journal of Behavioral Education, International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, Translational Issues in Psychological Science, and the European Journal of Pediatrics. Dr. Greer currently supervises two R01 grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) on stimulus-control refinements of functional communication training and preventing relapse of destructive behavior using behavioral momentum theory.

Functional communication training (FCT) is widely cited as the most common function-based intervention for treating socially reinforced destructive behavior, capable of demonstrating significant reductions in the destructive response while also promoting adaptive communication skills. Recent research has revealed a number of refinements to FCT that can help guide best practice. These empirically supported modifications to FCT include (a) minimizing exposure to the establishing operation(s) that occasion destructive behavior, (b) programming discriminative stimuli to facilitate the rapid thinning of reinforcement schedules and to promote generalization of treatment effects, (c) introducing alternative sources of reinforcement when needed, and (d) utilizing strategies that mitigate the recurrence of destructive behavior (i.e., treatment relapse) when caregivers fail to implement the treatment as designed. This presentation will cover some of the research supporting these modifications to FCT, as well as provide behavior analysts with suggestions for their implementation.

Target Audience:

Certified behavior analysts, licensed psychologists, graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) state at least two general approaches to function-based treatment of problem behavior; (2) identify at least one form of treatment relapse; (3) describe an extinction burst, renewal, and resurgence of problem behavior; and (4) identify at least two specific modifications for improving functional communication training.



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