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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #397
CE Offered: BACB
Promoting Effective Communication With Students With Emotional and Behavioral Disorders in Schools
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Regency Ballroom A, Hyatt Regency, Gold West
Area: EDC/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Jonathan Burt (University of Louisville)
Discussant: Kathryn M. Kestner (West Virginia University)
CE Instructor: Paula Chan, Ph.D.

Students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) can face difficulties in many aspects of life. They often have weak social skills (Gresham, Sugai, & Horner, 2001), poor academic performance (Trout, Nordness, Pierce, & Epstein, 2003), more restrictive school placements (Yell, 1995), and more frequent suspensions or expulsions (Department of Education, 2013). One method for improving outcomes for students with EBD may be to explicitly teach students how to communicate with peers and adults in their lives. The purpose of this symposium is to present research about communication interventions for students with EBD. The first paper will present the results of a comprehensive literature review of functional assessment based interventions for students with EBD to determine the extent to which the interventions employed meet the technical definition of functional communication training (FCT). Of the studies using FCT, participant characteristics, intervention components, and general outcomes will be discussed. The second paper will present findings from a research study designed to teach students how to effectively communicate about their behavior by reporting antecedents, behaviors, and consequences. Authors will discuss results, and implications for research and practice.


Functional Communication Training for Students With Emotional and/or Behavioral Disorders: A Review of the Literature

ALEXANDRA HOLLO (West Virginia University), JONATHAN BURT (University of Louisville)

Functional communication training (FCT) is a technique used to reduce problem behavior through systematic training of a communicative response serving an equivalent function as the target behavior (Carr & Durand, 1985). It is most often used for individuals with limited or no vocal language. Of 204 participants in a recent review of FCT, all but six had intellectual, developmental, or autism spectrum disorders (Tiger, Hanley, & Bruzek, 2008). FCT has been used to remediate problem behavior of individuals with high-incidence disabilities such as ADHD or emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD). However, a review limited to these cases is difficult due to inconsistent terminology: Researchers in EBD use procedures congruent with FCT but do not typically label the procedures as such. Before the efficacy of FCT for students with EBD can be analyzed, it must first be determined which functional assessment-based interventions are, in fact, FCT. The purpose of this review is to determine the extent to which and how FCT is used for this population. Participant characteristics, intervention components, and intervention outcomes will be discussed.


Evaluating the Effects of an Explicit Instruction Intervention on Students? Identification of Antecedents, Behaviors, and Consequences

PAULA CHAN (The Ohio State University), Helen I. Cannella-Malone (The Ohio State University), Moira Konrad (The Ohio State University)

One way to increase student involvement in their educational programming is to give them the opportunity to contribute during the functional behavior assessment process. Unfortunately, current research shows that that without training, some students are unable to accurately report on their behavior (e.g., Chan & Cannella-Malone, under review; Murdock, O'Neill, & Cunningham, 2005). One way to increase meaningful student engagement may be to explicitly teach students to identify antecedents, behaviors, and consequences. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of an explicit instruction package designed to teach students to identify antecedents, behaviors, and consequences using video clips of challenging behavior scenarios. Results indicated that students learned to accurately report what happened in the video clips; however, they struggled to generalize the skills to reports about their own behavior. Authors will make recommendations for future research and discuss implications for practice will be discussed.




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