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Association for Behavior Analysis International

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43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #318
Recent Advances in Methods to Improve Functional Communication Training
Sunday, May 28, 2017
5:00 PM–6:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1A/B
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Valdeep Saini (Upstate Medical University)
Discussant: Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: Functional communication training is one of the most commonly prescribed and effective interventions for the treatment of severe destructive behavior displayed by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Despite the widespread use of functional communication training in clinical practice and applied research, a number of limitations exist. As a result, strategies have been adopted to improve functional communication training and increase the longevity of this intervention. The present symposium explores recent advances in methods to improve functional communication training including (a) the manner in which mand preference and proficiency affects response variability, (b) how to advance functional communication training schedule thinning using multiple schedules from simple discriminations to conditional discriminations, (c) how mand preference affects treatment maintenance and destructive behavior relapse, and (d) leveraging behavioral momentum theory to mitigate resurgence of destructive behavior following functional communication training. The speakers will explore these and related ideas during their presentations and our discussant will synthesize these topics into an analysis of the future of functional communication training in both research and practice.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): destructive behavior, functional communication, resurgence, schedule thinning
Modification of Reinforcement Schedules to Increase Mand Variability During Functional Communication Training
NICOLE M. DEROSA (SUNY Upstate Medical University), William Sullivan (Upstate Medical University), Henry S. Roane (Upstate Medical University)
Abstract: Functional communication training is a well-established reinforcement-based treatment for challenging behavior displayed by individuals diagnosed with autism and related disabilities. The extant literature has identified several variables that may affect functional communication training outcomes, though little of this research has focused on effective methods for identifying an appropriate mand prior to treatment implementation. However, some authors have suggested that proficiency with targeted mands during functional communication training and preference for particular mand modalities may affect treatment outcomes. The current investigation was twofold. First, we sought to examine the utility of conducting mand-topography and mand-preference assessments on identifying appropriate mands prior to the implementation of functional communication training procedures. Next, we assessed the utility of progressive-ratio schedules of reinforcement for increasing variability in functional communication while maintaining clinically significant reductions in challenging behavior. For all participants, selection of proficient and preferred mands resulted in reductions in challenging behavior and increased communication during functional communication training. Furthermore, exposure to progressive-ratio schedules produced increases in communication variability across mand modalities that differed in preference and proficiency, while challenging behavior maintained at low levels. Clinical implications regarding these outcomes and future directions will be discussed.
An Evaluation of Conditional Manding Using a Four Component Multiple Schedule
JESSICA AKERS (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Ami J. Kaminski (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer), Brian D. Greer (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Andresa De Souza (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Billie Retzlaff (University of Nebraska Medical Cener)
Abstract: The standard multiple schedule arrangement for functional communication training includes one SD (fixed ratio 1) component and one S-delta (extinction) component for one trained functional communication response. In this arrangement an individual is responding to a simple discrimination. However, in the natural environment, an individual may request multiple reinforcers that may be available at different times, thus requiring conditional discriminations. The current study provides a demonstration of teaching a participant to respond conditionally to a four component multiple schedule in which each of the schedule components signaled the availability/unavailability for two different reinforcers. We used a multiple baseline across the three SD components of the multiple schedule to assess the effect of a combination of stimulus fading, schedule thinning and response blocking on conditional manding. The participant was an 8-year-old male diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and referred for the treatment of aggressive, disruptive and self-injurious behavior. Results suggested that once we introduced treatment the participant was able to respond appropriately to a four component multiple schedule. The limitations and implications of the results are discussed.
An Evaluation of Response Re-Emergence During Extinction Following Functional Communication Training
MAGGIE ANN MOLONY (University of Georgia), Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Georgia), Kayla Crook (University of Georgia)
Abstract: The applied literature has seen a renewed focus on evaluating variables that impact treatment maintenance. Maintenance can be conceptualized along at least two dimensions, including: ongoing expression of alternative, replacement behavior and continued suppression of extinguished, problem behavior. Recent research completed by our team has suggested that variables unrelated to consequences (i.e., reinforcers) earned during differential reinforcement-based treatment can impact the ongoing expression of alternative behavior during treatment challenges such as extinction. Specifically, we have demonstrated that relatively more preferred appropriate mand topographies tend to persist longer than relatively less preferred mand topographies when reinforcement is discontinued. In the current investigation, we evaluated the impact of relative mand preference on two dependent variables for children with disabilities and speech delays: the resurgence of problem behavior and the re-emergence of vocal responses in contexts associated with either a relatively more preferred mand during differential reinforcement of alternative behavior or a relatively less preferred mand during differential reinforcement of alternative behavior. Results of the evaluation indicated slightly higher resurgence of problem behavior in contexts associated with preferred mands and slightly greater vocal re-emergence in contexts associated with preferred mands. Interobserer agreement data were collected to establish reliability of the findings.
Reducing Resurgence of Destructive Behavior Following Functional Communication Training Using Behavioral Momentum Theory
ASHLEY MARIE FUHRMAN (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Brian D. Greer (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Valdeep Saini (Upstate Medical University), Christina Simmons (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: The resurgence of destructive behavior can occur during functional communication training if the alternative response contacts a challenge (e.g., extinction). Behavioral momentum theory suggests that refinements to functional communication training could mitigate resurgence of destructive behavior during periods of extinction. Following a functional analysis and treatment with functional communication training (Study 1), we combined two of those refinements (i.e., the use of a lean schedule of reinforcement and increased duration of treatment exposure) and compared the magnitude of resurgence relative to a condition in which functional communication training was implemented in a traditional manner (Study 2). Participants consisted of four individuals (ages 3 to 16) who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and were referred for self-injurious, aggressive, or disruptive behaviors. Results for the four participants suggested that the combination of the two refinements to functional communication training was successful in decreasing the resurgence of destructive behavior during an extinction challenge. The limitations and implications of the results are discussed.
 

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