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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #473
CE Offered: BACB
Home-Based ABA Services: Maintaining High Standards and Best Practices in Function-Based Treatments
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
213AB (CC)
Area: PRA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Brandon Herscovitch (ABACS, LLC)
Discussant: Sandy Jin (Eastern Connecticut State University)
CE Instructor: Brandon Herscovitch, Ph.D.
Abstract: Functional analysis is a powerful tool for the assessment of challenging behavior in students with autism and other disabilities. Functional analyses systematically manipulate the antecedents and consequences of target behaviors so as to experimentally determine the function(s) of those behaviors. The results of functional analyses may then be used to develop more effective treatments. There is an abundance of research on the success of functional analyses in determining the maintaining variables of challenging behaviors, and in the increased efficacy of function-based treatments. Nevertheless, their use in home-based settings may be limited. However, functional analysis methodology may be modified for home settings, utilizing available resources, without sacrificing integrity or the ability to demonstrate experimental control. The present studies discuss the resources needed to conduct functional analyses in home-based settings and demonstrate how efficiently functional analyses may be conducted in the home, leading to the development of function-based treatments and better outcomes for students.
Keyword(s): Experimental Control, Function-Based Treatments, Functional Analysis, Home-Based Setting
Conducting Functional Analyses in Home-Based Settings: Preliminary Data on Resources Needed
STEPHANIE PHELAN (ABACS, LLC), Ashley Williams (ABACS, LLC), Meghan Clausen (ABACS, LLC), Brandon Herscovitch (ABACS, LLC)
Abstract: Functional analysis is a powerful tool for the assessment of challenging behavior in students with autism and other disabilities. Functional analyses systematically manipulate the antecedents and consequences of target behaviors so as to experimentally determine the function(s) of those behaviors. There is an abundance of research on the effectiveness of functional analyses, nevertheless, their use in home-based settings may be limited. Current research suggests that one reason for this may be the large number of resources traditionally associated with planning for and conducting functional analyses. In the current study, data were compiled on 14 different functional analyses conducted by an agency providing home-based ABA services. Preliminary data were described on a variety of dependent variables including duration of time to conduct functional analysis, total duration of consultation, and cost of analysis, among others. Data suggest that functional analyses can be efficiently conducted in home settings and with limited resources, which may lead to better treatment outcomes.
Using Functional Communication Training and Reinforcer Delay Fading to Treat Multiply-Maintained Aggressive Behavior
ASHLEY WILLIAMS (ABACS, LLC), Gretchen A. Dittrich (Simmons College)
Abstract: Functional communication training (FCT) is a widely-accepted treatment for children with challenging behavior. Though effective, FCT fails to provide children with the skills necessary to tolerate delays or denials in accessing reinforcement. Previous research suggests reinforcer delay fading, among other procedures, to teach tolerance to longer periods of delay. In the current study, a demand fading procedure with extinction was used to teach tolerance to increasing delays in accessing positive and negative reinforcement (i.e. escape from academic demands and access to an iPad) following FCT training for a 3-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder. Following a brief functional analysis, a multiple treatment with reversal design was used to assess rates of communication responses, aggressive behavior, and task compliance in a home setting with generalization to novel staff and setting. Results indicated rapid suppression of aggressive behaviors following FCT and increases in tolerance to delays in accessing reinforcement during delay fading. Task completion increased rapidly during the delay phase, with high, stable rates of mands and low, near-zero rates of aggression. Interobserver agreement was established at 96.6% across 73% of sessions, with procedural integrity averaging 91.5% across 41% of sessions. Future research should determine the effects of auditory and visual signals in facilitating delay tolerance.

Applications of Clinic-Based Research Into Home Settings

KIMBERLY DIGGS (TACT), Kevin Schlichenmeyer (TACT), Kara LaCroix (TACT)

Few studies have illustrated the behavior analytic assessment and treatment process from start to finish (Hanley, Jin, Vanselow, & Hanratty, 2014). We conducted a systematic replication of the process outlined by Hanley et al. (2014) to treat screaming exhibited by a young male with an autism spectrum disorder in a home setting. First, a single-function test consisted of alternation between test and control conditions. During test conditions, screaming produced 30s access to tangible items (e.g., ipad). During control conditions, we provided non-contingent access to tangible items. Functional analysis results suggested screaming was maintained by positive reinforcement in the form of tangible delivery. Treatment consisted of differential reinforcement of an increasingly complex functional communication response, denial training, and subsequent parent training and parent implementation. Results were similar to those reported by Hanley et al. (2014), such that substantial reductions in problem behavior were observed concurrent with establishing appropriate alternative responses not observed in baseline. Inter-observer agreement data were collected for 36 percent of sessions and exceeded 83 percent.


Assessment and Treatment of Problem Behavior Exhibited in Community Settings

KARA LACROIX (TACT), Kevin Schlichenmeyer (TACT), Kimberly Diggs (TACT)

Although functional analysis methodology is the most widely recommended pre-treatment assessment, the behavior analytic literature offers a paucity of functional analysis demonstrations in community settings. We extended research in this area by conducting a trial-based functional analysis in a community setting for screaming exhibited by a young girl diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Test conditions consisted of termination of walking to a particular location (e.g., Dunkin Donuts), whereas the control condition consisted of non-contingent access to walking to a particular location. Problem behavior occurred predominantly in test conditions relative to control conditions. Subsequently, a differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) procedure was implemented wherein pointing to a communication card produced access to the particular location while screaming was on extinction. The effects of the DRA procedure were replicated in a reversal design. During DRA conditions, screaming remained low and communication occurred consistently. A noteworthy feature of the analysis and treatment was its brevity, requiring 64 minutes and 55 seconds for completion. Inter-observer agreement data for the functional analysis were collected for 50 percent of trials and yielded 100 percent. Inter-observer agreement data for the treatment were collected for 32 percent of trials and yielded 89 percent.




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