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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #117
CE Offered: BACB
Examinations of the Functional Analysis Process: Use of Abolishing Operations and Synthesized Conditions
Saturday, May 27, 2017
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 2B
Area: PRA/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Jonpaul D. Moschella (California State University, Fresno)
CE Instructor: Marianne L. Jackson, Ph.D.

Functional analysis methodology is supported by a large and extensive body of research and has become the gold standard for determining the variables maintaining problem behavior. A number of variations have been investigated providing practitioners with a number of variations that may be employed. Despite this, researchers have suggested that practitioners still face a number of obstacles that reduce the likelihood that they will include a functional analysis as part of their process in assessing a given problem behavior. This symposium will provide data on one variation that may increase the efficiency of functional analyses by use of abolishing operations in each test condition. This is examined against a more traditional functional analysis for the problem behavior of children with autism spectrum disorder, and the data suggest that this may be a viable option, while reducing the duration of the analysis and the occurrence of problem behavior. Presentations will examine the use of Interview-informed Synthesized Contingency Analyses (IISCAs; Hanley, Jin, Vanselow, & Hanratty, 2014) in a variety of settings including community and clinic settings, as well as methods for the dissemination of this procedure in countries with few behavior analytic resources. Issues of translation and training methods will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Functional analysis

Getting What You Want: The Use of Abolishing Operations in Functional Analyses

JONPAUL D. MOSCHELLA (California State University, Fresno), Marianne L. Jackson (California State University, Fresno), Alexandria Antoinette Jones (California State University, Fresno, ABA Graduate Student), Erin Paulsen (California State University Fresno)

Functional Analysis (FA) of problem behavior is a well-established method for determining the variables that maintain problem behavior. With a large body of research on the replication and extension of this technology, researchers aim to find the most effective and efficient way to evaluate possible maintaining variables and develop an effective function-based treatment. Functional analyses require the repeated occurrence of behavior, and as such, it is advantageous to increase the efficiency of functional analyses and thus minimize the occurrence of problem behavior. Latency has been shown to be a useful dependent variable and seems to reduce both the occurrence of the problem behavior, and the duration of the functional analysis. In this study we extended this area of research by examining the use of abolishing operations to reduce the likelihood of the target behavior during the maintaining test conditions and enhance antecedent control. This modified procedure was compared to the outcome of a traditional functional analysis for three children with autism spectrum disorder. Results indicate that this approach may be useful for identifying the functional variables of behaviors maintained by socially mediated reinforcers. Differences in the number of instances of problem behavior for each analysis lend additional support to this approach.


Training Staff to Conduct Interview-Informed Synthesized Contingency Analyses in the Country of Georgia

MARIANNE L. JACKSON (California State University, Fresno), Jonpaul D. Moschella (California State University, Fresno), Tinatin Tchintcharauli (Child Development Institute, Ilia State University)

There is a significant body of research supporting the effectiveness of functional analyses in determining the variables maintaining problem behavior, and a number of researchers have examined modifications to this process. One such modification has been the Interview-informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis (IISCA; Hanley, Jin, Vanselow, and Hanratty, 2014). It has been suggested that this method may be more efficient and reduce some common obstacles for practitioners involved in the functional assessment process. This may also be helpful for the dissemination of functional analysis technology, especially in countries with a very limited number of qualified behavior analysts. In this presentation we describe group behavioral skills training used to teach staff in a university-based autism clinic to conduct IISCAs on the problem behavior of children with autism spectrum disorders. Training involved the translation of all forms, interviews, procedures, and outcomes for staff, parents, and clients, as well as the feedback given via bug-in-ear technology. Outcomes from initial IISCAs suggest that this method was effective and efficient in teaching staff to conduct the IISCA and generalization data are discussed.


An Examination of the Interview-Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis (IISCA) in Community and Clinic Based-Setting

ERIN PAULSEN (California State University Fresno), Marianne L. Jackson (California State University, Fresno), Nicholas L Vitale (California State University Fresno)

Recent research by Hanley, Jin, Vanselow, and Hanratty (2014) has suggested that functional analysis conditions may be more efficient and effective when informed by an open-ended interview and the use of synthesized functions in a test condition, when compared to its matched control. In addition, it has been suggested that this may reduce many of the obstacles that limit practitioners inclusion of functional analyses in assessment that informs the development of a behavior intervention plan; however, a recent study by Fisher, Greer, Romani, Zangrillo, and Owen (2016) has suggested that we evaluate the benefits of synthesized conditions by comparison to a more traditional functional analysis. This presentation will discuss the use of the IISCA in the functional assessment of problem behavior with children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. These were conducted in community settings and in a university-based clinic for the treatment of problem behaviors. In addition, we examine data from two analyses that compare individual test conditions to synthesized test conditions in determining the variables maintaining problem behavior. Issues and challenges will be discussed.




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