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.


10th International Conference; Stockholm, Sweden; 2019

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #105
CE Offered: BACB
Diverse Applications of Synthesized Contingencies in Assessment and Treatment of Problem Behavior
Monday, September 30, 2019
4:30 PM–5:20 PM
Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre, Level 6, A2
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Johanna Staubitz (Vanderbilt University)
Discussant: Joshua Jessel (Queens College)
CE Instructor: Joshua Jessel, Ph.D.

Problem behavior that threatens the safety, dignity, or autonomy of children or adults is a matter of objective social importance. When caregivers seek a safe, dignified, and autonomous lifestyle for those in their care, the specific assessment and treatment practices employed will impact both the behavioral outcomes and acceptability of the treatment process. When Hanley and colleagues (2014) shared their first evaluation of the Interview-Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis (IISCA) and its accompanying skill-based treatment (SBT), they introduced a practical functional assessment and treatment methodology that replaced problem behavior with functional communication and contextually-appropriate behavior, through a process that caregivers rated as highly acceptable. While the results of that initial demonstration were compelling, it has been through several subsequent replications and demonstrations that we have been better able to understand the extent to which results similar to those reported by Hanley et al. can be expected when the IISCA and SBT are applied in different settings and with different implementers. Within this symposium, the effects of the IISCA and SBT are evaluated in diverse applications that add to our understanding of the generalizability and replicability of the procedures published by Hanley and colleagues. Two presentations will be included in this symposium that feature data from home and school settings with a variety of treatment implementers.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): challenging behavior, functional assessment, IISCA, synthesized contingencies
Target Audience:

Researchers, practicing behavior analysts, graduate students in applied behavior analysis


Evaluating Severity of Problem Behavior During Functional Analysis

MONICA HOWARD (The ELIJA School), Joshua Jessel (Queens College)

Many children with autism exhibit severe problem behavior such as aggression, self-injury, or property destruction. In order to develop an effective treatment of problem behavior, applied researchers suggest first conducting a functional analysis, which involves the manipulation of environmental events believed to be contributing to the problem behavior. However, clinicians often avoid conducting a functional analysis due to safety concerns related to the programmed evocation of problem behavior. The interview-informed synthesized contingency analysis (IISCA) is a specific functional analysis format that is intended to be safe and efficient. We conducted this study to determine the level of severity observed when conducting the IISCA for three children diagnosed with autism. We identified and categorized multiple forms of problem behavior including less-dangerous precursors to be evaluated for each participant. We found that, although some of the severe topographies (e.g., aggression, SIB) were likely to be observed during the functional analysis, the majority of instances of problem behavior were likely to be precursors (e.g., loud vocalizations, stomping). This suggests that the IISCA may be a safer alternative to other functional analysis formats.


Interview-Informed Functional Analysis and Treatments to Improve Problem Behavior in a Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder

ODA VISTER (Oslo Metropolitan University), Sigmund Eldevik (Oslo Metropolitan University)

Behavioral interventions based on functional assessment have proven to be effective for reducing problem behavior like self-injury, aggression and/or disruption. Few studies include both the functional assessment and treatment process. Hanley, Jin, Vanselow and Hanratty (2014) described an interview-informed functional analysis and a function-based treatment package to reduce problem behavior in children with Autism Spectrum Diagnosis (ASD). Research on the approach described by Hanley et al. (2014) has mostly been conducted in a clinical setting. The present study is a systematic replication of Hanley et al. (2014) in a home setting. The interviewed-informed functional analysis and the function-based treatment were all conducted by the parents. The participant was their one nine-year-old boy with ASD and severe problem behavior. The result showed improvements in the severe problem behavior (kicking, self-injury, loud voice, destruction of objects) and an increase in appropriate responses. The parents reported that the responses were also used in other relevant situations. This suggest that parents can implement the intervention at home with regular consultation. These findings add support to the growing evidence-base of this approach.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh