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 #392
CE Offered: BACB
Efforts Toward More Practically Sensitive Functional Analyses and Efficient Treatments for Problem Behavior.
Monday, May 25, 2015
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
213AB (CC)
Area: PRA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Stephanie A. Hood (Briar Cliff University )
CE Instructor: Stephanie A. Hood, M.S.
Abstract: This symposium covers refinements in the assessment and treatment of problem behavior. Hood et al. evaluated methodological modifications to functional analyses to be able to identify attention functions when it was difficult for therapists to eliminate stimulus changes following problem behavior (e.g., flinching or blocking.). The results demonstrated differential responding with a concurrent-operant arrangement. In a second presentation, the effect of therapists wearing protective equipment on the outcomes of functional analyses of aggression was assessed (Oropeza et al.). The results demonstrated that the use of protective equipment did not alter conclusions from the functional analysis. Fernand et al. conducted a functional analysis of problem behavior maintained by interrupting ritualistic behavior. Following functional communication training, they evaluated the extent to which systematic delay-fading steps were necessary. The results demonstrated that FCT plus delay fading was effective at reducing problem behavior, and, for some participants, progression across delay-fading steps may not be necessary.
Keyword(s): Functional Analysis, Problem behavior
Concurrent-Operant Functional Analysis of Aggressive Behavior Maintained by Attention
STEPHANIE A. HOOD (Briar Cliff University ), Nicole M. Rodriguez (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Kevin C. Luczynski (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Todd M. Owen (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: Certain forms of aggression may be difficult to completely ignore resulting in physical reactions from the therapist. Controlling when putative reinforcers are and are not available is integral to identifying the function of behavior. In the current study, we evaluated a concurrent-operants arrangement for assessing whether attention maintains problem behavior when it was difficult for therapists to eliminate stimulus changes following problem behavior. For one participant, an initial pairwise functional analysis (FA) resulted in undifferentiated responding, with relatively more responding in the control condition, and, for a second participant, an initial trial-based FA resulted in relatively more responding during the control component. For one participant, we added protective equipment in an attempt to increase procedural integrity with reactions following problem behavior but responding decreased to zero. Differential levels of responding were observed for both participants in a second FA in which two therapists were concurrently available but associated with the presence (vocal attention plus animated physical reactions) versus near absence (no vocal attention and minimal physical reactions) of attention. A function-based treatment resulted in low levels of responding. The concurrent-operant arrangement provides a method for assessing the function of behavior when eliminating stimulus changes in the control condition proves difficult.
Effects of Protective Equipment in Functional Analysis of Aggression
MANUELLA OROPEZA (University of Houston Clear Lake), Jennifer N. Fritz (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Melissa Nissen (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Lauren Phillips (University of Houston – Clear Lake), Amy Terrell (University of Houston – Clear Lake)
Abstract: The effects of protective equipment (PE) on functional analysis (FA) outcomes for aggression were evaluated. Each condition of the FA was assessed with PE and without PE in a multielement design. Results showed that there was no difference in the identified function of participants’ aggression during the FA in which the therapist wore PE compared to the FA in which the therapist did not. These results suggest that therapists should be able to protect themselves with PE during FAs of aggression and reduce risks posed by the problem behavior without negatively influencing the results of the assessment.

An Evaluation of Delays to Reinforcement in the Treatment of Problem Behavior Maintained by Access to Routines

JONATHAN K FERNAND (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)

Behavioral characteristics of individuals diagnosed with autism can include difficulty adjusting to novel situations or changes in routines, insistence on sameness, and repetitive movements (i.e., stereotypy). Research has shown that individuals often emit problem behavior when access to engaging in repetitive behavior is interrupted. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate procedures to assess and treat problem behavior when interrupting the ritualistic behavior displayed by three children with autism. All participants engaged in repetitive item manipulation as well as aggression when routines were interrupted. Following a functional analysis, we replicated and extended prior functional communication training research that employed delays to reinforcement (Rispoli et al., 2014) by assessing if all steps in a delay-fading procedure were necessary in the treatment of these particular ritualistic behaviors. Results indicated that functional communication training drastically reduced problem behavior, and delay fading may not always be necessary for every case. Further, the necessity of a signaled versus unsignaled extinction contingency for problem behavior was idiosyncratic for the current participants.




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