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 #27
CE Offered: BACB
Notable Advances in and Summaries of the Functional Analysis and Treatment of Problem Behavior
Saturday, May 23, 2015
1:00 PM–2:50 PM
214B (CC)
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Discussant: Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
CE Instructor: Louis P. Hagopian, Ph.D.
Abstract: The conceptual foundations and applications of functional analysis remain the hallmark of how behavior analysts improve the lives of individuals who exhibit challenging problem behavior. Owen, Greer, Fisher, Saini, and Jones conducted an archival analysis on the efficacy of multiple- and chained-schedule treatments following functional communication training. The results supported the selection of multiple and chained schedules over a delay-to-reinforcement schedule to treat problem behavior. Mead, Iwata, Roscoe, and Schlichenmeyer evaluated the correspondence of a structured rating scale on the function of aggressive behavior to the results of a functional analysis. High correspondence was obtained under certain conditions. Slocum and Vollmer compared the treatment efficacy of differential reinforcement for compliance using edibles, instructional fading, and differential reinforcement for compliance using escape along with escape extinction. Finally, Roberts and Bourret integrated a descriptive assessment and functional analysis to evaluate the effects of peer attention on problem behavior. We are honored to have Dr. Tim Vollmer, the current editor of the flagship outlet the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, serve as the discussant for this set of talks.
Keyword(s): functional-analysis, Peer attention, Review, Treatment
Improving Functional Communication Training During Reinforcement Schedule Thinning: An Analysis of 32 Applications
TODD M. OWEN (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Brian D. Greer (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Valdeep Saini (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Jamie Jones (University of Nebraska Medical Center )
Abstract: There are two major goals of functional communication training (FCT) – eliminate destructive behavior and establish a more acceptable, yet functionally equivalent, communication response (FCR). Once these objectives are completed, the schedule of reinforcement for the FCR is thinned to more manageable levels for implementation by caregivers. Researchers have described several approaches to thinning FCT reinforcement schedules (FCT ST) while maintaining the initial effectiveness of FCT (Hagopian, Boelter, & Jarmolowicz, 2011). We summarized the results when three such approaches (i.e., multiple schedules, response restriction, or chained schedules) were used during FCT ST in 32 applications across 24 cases. Our findings were then compared to the results of previous studies in which delay (or delay-to-reinforcement) schedules were used during FCT ST. Results from the current investigation suggest that the discontinuation of delay schedules during FCT ST may improve the overall effectiveness of FCT without relying on alternative reinforcement or punishment procedures to achieve more practical endpoints of FCT.
Evaluation of a Screening Procedure for the Assessment of Aggression
SARAH C. MEAD (University of Florida), Brian A. Iwata (University of Florida), Eileen M. Roscoe (The New England Center for Children), Kevin J. Schlichenmeyer (Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School)
Abstract: Functional analysis methodology (FA; Iwata et al., 1982/1994) has “become a hallmark of behavioral assessment,” (Hanley, Iwata, & McCord, 2003). However, the original procedures, which contained multiple test conditions for a problem behavior maintained by a variety of sources of reinforcement (self-injurious behavior), might not offer the most efficient method for identifying the function of aggression. The same can be said for approximations to a functional analysis, such as structured rating scales. We developed a rating scale specific to the functions of aggression and compared the use of this scale, followed by a single-function test, to a typical FA during the assessment of aggression exhibited by children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Results suggest that, in some cases, the screening procedure may offer an abbreviated yet accurate approach to the assessment of aggression. In addition, as this study includes the largest sample of aggression-only FAs to date, notable patterns of responding and precautions regarding the assessment of aggression are addressed.
Evaluation of Two Emergency Procedures to Treat Severe Escape Behavior.
SARAH K. SLOCUM (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: We are evaluating possible “emergency” treatments for escape behavior. Subjects will be exposed to either the emergency treatments or the business-as-usual treatment. The two emergency treatments are differential reinforcement using edibles for compliance (DR with edibles) and instructional fading (IF). We will compare these emergency treatments to a group of subjects who are exposed to the typical treatment for escape behavior, differential reinforcement using breaks for compliance with escape extinction (DR with breaks + EE). The literature suggests that IF and DR with edibles can produce low levels of problem behavior at the beginning of treatment. On the other hand, DR with breaks + EE has been shown to be effective; however, this procedure can take time to produce low levels of problem behavior. We will evaluate all three of these treatments in a combined within- and between-subject comparison to determine if these emergency treatments are in fact more suitable for situations in which behavior must be reduced drastically and immediately or for situations in which EE is not possible. We will present data for subjects from both groups.
Methods used to Evaluate the Role of Peer Attention in Maintaining Problem Behavior
KYLIE ROBERTS (The New England Center for Children), Jason C. Bourret (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Peer attention has been shown to maintain problem behavior in typical children and children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The methods used to evaluate if behavior is sensitive to peer attention may vary depending on the skills of the individuals that participate as the peers in the assessment. Methods will be discussed for both peers that can be trained or prompted to provide contingent attention (peer confederates) and peers that are unable to be trained. The protocol discussed for peers that can be trained will consist of a contingent peer attention condition as the test condition and either an extinction or a DRA as the control condition. The protocol discussed for peers that are unable to be trained to provide contingent attention will consist of including the peer that was most likely to provide contingent attention (high P: A|PB) during a descriptive assessment in the test condition and the peers that are least likely to provide attention (low P: A|PB) during a descriptive assessment in the control condition. Strengths and limitations of both protocols will be discussed



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