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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #517
CE Offered: BACB
Advances in Function-Based Treatment for Problem Behavior
Monday, May 25, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Salon H
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Joseph D. Dracobly, Ph.D.

Shortly after the development of robust methods to analyze the function of problem behavior, researchers and clinicians began using this information to design function-based interventions. Some of the earliest interventions began with reinforcing appropriate, alternative behavior and providing the reinforcer that maintains problem behavior on a time-based schedule. As these procedures advanced, researchers and clinicians began bringing function-based treatment under stimulus control. The effects of function-based intervention are robust and sustainable. Additionally, function-based intervention allows for a wide-range of adaptations, based on an individual's problem behavior and the current context. More recently, researchers have begun evaluating these adaptations in the context of promoting long-term change for individuals in their everyday environment. In this symposium, presenters will focus on some of the adaptations, including stimulus fading during Functional Communication Training, schedule thinning using chained and multiple schedules, and using differential reinforcement of low rates to increase the time between emission of mands.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

BCBAs and Applied Researchers

Stimulus Fading and Functional Communication Training to Reduce Challenging Behavior Associated with an Aversive Stimulus
GABBY RIVERA (Baylor University), Stephanie Gerow (Baylor University), Suzy Avery (Baylor University)
Abstract: Stimulus fading has previously been used to increase compliance with an aversive activity or routine. However, there is limited data to support its use to decrease challenging behavior associated with an activity or routine. In this study, the authors investigated the use of parent-implemented functional communication training with stimulus fading to reduce challenging behavior associated with a home routine. One 6-year-old male diagnosed with autism participated in this study. The functional analysis indicated he engaged in challenging behavior to terminate the routine of throwing trash away. The authors then conducted a treatment evaluation to assess the efficacy of functional communication training with stimulus fading in reducing challenging behavior. Results indicated that functional communication training and stimulus fading was effective in decreasing challenging behavior and increasing socially appropriate communication. We plan to conduct the procedures with one to two additional participants. Implications for practice and directions for future research will be discussed.
Evaluating Schedule Thinning in Functional Communication Training Using Chained Schedules and Multiple Schedules
MADELINE MARIE ASARO (Brock University), Kimberley L. M. Zonneveld (Brock University), Laura Tardi (Brock University )
Abstract: Functional communication training is designed to decrease problem behavior while increasing a functionally equivalent alternative communicative response (FCR; Carr & Durand, 1985; Durand & Carr, 1991). Although effective, this procedure tends to produce high rates of the FCR that may not be manageable for parents or teachers (Fisher et al., 1998; Lalli, Casey, & Kates, 1995). The purpose of this evaluation was to evaluate the effectiveness of two common strategies (chained schedules and multiple schedules) to thin the schedule of reinforcement for the FCR with a young child with autism spectrum disorder whose problem behavior was multiply controlled. Functional communication training produced an immediate decrease in problem behavior in both contexts. We successfully thinned the schedule of reinforcement in both contexts and combined them into a singular-session format to match a typical therapy session. Results will be discussed within the context of troubleshooting, improving the practicality of this intervention for parents and teachers, and future research.
Adapting Functional Communication Training: An Evaluation of DRL to Decrease the Rate of Mands
SARA BAAK (University of North Texas), Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas), Ashton Corinne Tinney (University of North Texas)
Abstract: In common applications of functional-communication training (FCT; Carr & Durand, 1985; Hagopian et al., 1998; Rooker et al., 2013), the functional communication response (FCR) is reinforced on a continuous schedule. Additionally, as FCT progresses, the FCR is often brought under stimulus control and the schedule of reinforcement is thinned, typically in a multiple-schedule arrangement (e.g., Greer et al., 2016). The goal is to require reinforcement of the FCR only during specified intervals. However, in some environments, continuous reinforcement of mands during a specified interval may not be possible (e.g., residential treatment environments). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of differential reinforcement of low rates (DRL) to reduce the overall rate of the FCR. During the function analysis of each participant's problem behavior, we observed mands to be a reliable precursor. During the initial treatment, we reinforced mands on an continuous basis. Following suppression of problem behavior, we implemented DRL to increase the time between mands while also maintaining suppression of problem behavior. We will discuss these results in the context of sustainability of intervention in the everyday environment and integrating this procedure with other common FCT procedures.



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