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 #431
CE Offered: BACB
Variations of Functional Analyses: Examining the Role of Procedures, Implementers and Language on Outcomes
Monday, May 29, 2017
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 1
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jennifer Quigley (Melmark; The Chicago School of Professional Psycho)
Discussant: Andrew W. Gardner (University of Arizona - College of Medicine - Department of Psychiatry)
CE Instructor: Jennifer Quigley, M.A.

Conducting functional analyses is the gold standard in the assessment and treatment of problem behavior. Modifications to standard functional analysis conditions have proven to be beneficial and necessary to identify maintaining variables of problem behavior. This symposium will present four papers showcasing variations to functional analyses and include functional analyses implemented by parents, classroom teachers, procedural modifications that include trial-based functional analyses, and comparisons of outcomes when implemented with the native compared to a second language. The first paper compared outcomes of clinician- and parent- implemented functional analyses with learners with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. The second paper presents outcomes from parent-implemented trial-based functional analyses (TBFA). The third paper presents results from teacher-implemented brief functional analyses compared with teacher-implemented TBFA with students with an emotional behavior disorder. The final paper compares outcomes of functional analyses when implemented in the native compared to a second language with individuals with developmental disabilities. Implications and areas of future research will be discussed

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Developmental disabilites, functional analysis

Parent Implementation of Functional Analyses and Treatment Analyses in a Residential Setting

AMANDA FINLAY (Melmark; Temple University), Jennifer Quigley (Melmark;The Chicago School of Professional Psychol)

Research supports that parent involvement is imperative, but literature is mixed about the best way to do this. Previous studies have identified different functions via functional analyses when parents have served as therapists in comparison to clinical or direct care staff. This study included clinician-implemented functional analyses and parent-implemented functional analyses across four participants. The functional analysis results across participants varied. For two of the participants, the same functions were identified across both functional analyses. With one participant, three functions were identified with the parents in comparison to one identified function with the clinician. The fourth participants analysis identified functions with the clinicians that were not evoked with the parent as therapist. Following functional analyses, two of the participants moved on to function-based treatment using both clinicians and parents as therapists. The variability in findings and suggestions on increasing parent involvement will also be discussed.

A Comparison of Staff-Run and Parent-Run Trial-Based Functional Analyses
COURTNEY ERKER (University of Cincinnati; Continuum Autism Spectrum Alliance ), Emily White (Continuum Autism Spectrum Alliance), Dacia McCoy (University of Cincinnati)
Abstract: The Trial-Based Functional Analysis (TBFA) allows practitioners to observe and analyze behaviors that would not fit the criteria for a traditional functional analysis due to considerations of severe self-injury or injury to others. Traditionally staff running functional analyses have received extensive training in running the assessment prior to implementation. In this case, the researchers asked if the responses in different conditions during the functional analysis differed for the client from staff to parent. The first client, Chris, is a 20 year-old male with Dravet Syndrome living at home with his parents. Indicators for the functional analysis were head banging and gagging with unknown maintaining functions. Both the staff and the parent, who had received parent training before the analysis and verbal prompting during the assessment, ran a TBFA. Initial results indicated the TBFA run by the parents received almost three times more responses than the TBFA run by the staff. The results were replicated in two more cases.

Teacher-Implemented Trial-Based Functional Analyses for Students With Emotional/Behavioral Disorders

Timothy Flanagan (Caldwell University), Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell University), April N. Kisamore (Caldwell University), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University), Tina Sidener (Caldwell University), DOUGLAS KUPFERMAN (Caldwell University)

The application of traditional functional analysis (FA) to the problem behavior of those with emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD) has been limited. Trial-based functional analysis (TBFA) is an emerging methodology used to assess the function of problem behavior and offers several advantages over traditional FA methods. TBFA can be completed quickly, requires fewer resources than traditional FAs, can be conducted in the environment of interest during typically-scheduled activities, and involves less intense data collection methods. We attempted to address limitations of the existing literature base on TBFA by completing TBFA with students identified with EBD, modifying conditions to explore idiosyncratic variables, comparing the outcomes of TBFA and BFA, including classroom teachers during the TBFA, BFA, and intervention, assessing the efficiency of training teachers to conduct TBFA, and how often TBFA trials were abandoned. Results show that TBFA can be applied to those identified with EBD, conditions can be modified successfully, teachers can be trained to implement procedures across assessments with efficiency, and that few trials were abandoned. TBFA is a promising method for addressing the unique challenges of conducting FA to students identified with EBD.


Evaluation of Implementation Language on Functional Analyses Outcomes

KERRY SHEA (Utah State University), Tyra P. Sellers (Utah State University), Samantha Corralejo (Utah State University), Jason Lee (Utah State University)

Some Spanish-speaking students exhibit challenging behavior at home and in school settings. There are few studies that examine the impact of the language used during a functional analysis of challenging behavior. This study used a pairwise design to determine the effects of language on the outcomes of a functional analysis for two participants, both from Spanish-speaking families. Challenging behavior was assessed during 5-min sessions. A pairwise design was used, evaluating a control condition compared with a test condition. During each condition phase, the language used in the condition was alternated for each test/control pairing. For one participant, challenging behavior remained at near zero levels of responding during control conditions across languages, while challenging behavior was at a higher level during all test conditions across languages. For a second participant, challenging behavior was highest during both English and Spanish tangible conditions, and English control and escape from attention conditions. These results suggest that for one participant, the specific language used during a functional analysis may affect the outcomes, indicating that language should be considered when assessing the function of challenging behavior for dual language learners




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