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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Paper Session #230
CE Offered: BACB
Replication Versus Application of the Functional Analysis: Culturally Responsive and Individualized Assessment of Behavior
Sunday, May 29, 2022
11:00 AM–11:25 AM
Meeting Level 2; Room 252B
Area: DDA
Instruction Level: Advanced
Chair: Justin Boyan Han (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Sarah E. Bloom, Ph.D.

Replication Versus Application of the Functional Analysis: Culturally Responsive and Individualized Assessment of Behavior

Domain: Service Delivery
JUSTIN BOYAN HAN (University of South Florida), Sarah E. Bloom (University of South Florida)

Recent focus on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion have inspired behavior analysts to review and adapt clinical practices to improve service delivery to marginalized groups. Historically, criticisms of functional analysis (FA) have been pointed towards training and feasibility concerns, and have been addressed in the literature. However, some concerns regarding FA have suggested that it is a one-size-fits-all approach that does not adequately address contextual fit. We posit that the issue lies in the understanding of the clinical practice of FA as a replication of Iwata et al. (1982/1994) versus an application of the concept of FA. Although not all behavior analysts use a rigid approach to FA protocols, this paper discusses how misconceptions regarding a standardized approach have led to a culturally insensitive behavior assessment, which is especially a concern for marginalized groups. However, the application of the FA framework to individual circumstances can be a part of a culturally responsive functional behavior assessment (FBA). We provide specific recommendations for identification of and incorporation of culturally responsive elements in the FA in order to improve behavior assessment and intervention for marginalized groups.

Target Audience:

Target audience is pre-service or in-service BCBAs that has completed or is completing graduate level work on assessment and treatment of problem behavior.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe potential pitfalls of using a one-size-fits-all form of assessment especially for people who belong to marginalized groups; (2) discuss how the FA can be part of a culturally responsive approach to assessment of problem behavior; (3) list recommendations for improving culturally responsive service provision.



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