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 #237
CE Offered: BACB
Functional Behavioral Assessment: Understanding & Treating Psychiatric Disorders in Children
Sunday, May 24, 2015
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Texas Ballroom Salon C (Grand Hyatt)
Area: CBM/EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Jeannie A. Golden (East Carolina University)
CE Instructor: Jeannie A. Golden, Ph.D.
Abstract: Typically, functional behavioral assessment (FBA) has been used with children with developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders. Traditional counselors view aberrant behaviors in children with psychiatric disorders as symptoms of underlying constructs, proposing more global treatments such as evidence-based therapies or medications. Behaviorists view those behaviors as serving an environmental function, treating them effectively by replacing them with a more acceptable behavior serving the same function. Presenters in this symposium will discuss the process of conducting FBAs and providing function-based treatments in home and school settings for children with reactive attachment disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, anxiety disorders and non-suicidal self-injury.
Keyword(s): children, functional assessment, psychiatric disorders
The Learning History and Biobehavioral States Behind Callous and Unemotional Behaviors
JEANNIE A. GOLDEN (East Carolina University), Emmi Scott (East Carolina University)
Abstract: In the DSM-V there is a subset of individuals with conduct problems and anti-social behaviors described as having “callous-unemotional” traits. Children who are diagnosed with this subset of conduct disorders appear to have a limited repertoire of emotional behaviors (e.g., excluding fear, guilt, and empathy) and often respond differently to both pleasurable and aversive events. These so-called traits could instead be learned behaviors that were functional in environments where children experienced abuse, neglect, and unpredictable contingencies. Prior punishment for behaviors that appear to be related to emotions may serve as abolishing operations for lack of emotional responsiveness. These traits could also be due to bio-behavioral states that act as motivating operations mediating the salience and effectiveness of various reinforcers and punishers. The presenter will discuss how functional assessments and knowledge of bio-behavioral states can facilitate the development of efficacious treatments for these children in the context of a case study.
Being Part of the Solution: Antecedent Interventions for a Student with Anxiety-Related Behavior
Abstract: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that one in four thirteen to eighteen year olds has had an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Anxiety-related behaviors create a unique set of prior learning experiences, discriminative stimuli for reinforcement and punishment, and establishing operations. A functional assessment and behavioral analysis of anxiety-related behaviors including the identification of: the effect of prior learning history of reinforcement and punishment for anxiety-related behaviors, discriminative stimuli that signal anxiety-related behaviors and establishing operations for anxiety-related behaviors will be provided. When anxiety-related behaviors are due to skill deficits, explicitly teaching coping skills, self-monitoring, and alternative responses is crucial. Using antecedent interventions with these children may be more effective than reinforcement- and punishment-based consequences that are used in more traditional behavior plans. Through a case study, the reduction of self-reported anxiety-related behavior by use of antecedent management and explicit instruction in self-regulation and self-monitoring strategies will be discussed.
Functional Assessment of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Adolescents
JEANNIE A. GOLDEN (East Carolina University), Ashley Lauren Bouknight Wingard Wingard (East Carolina University)
Abstract: Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) includes cutting, burning, marking, picking sores and other forms of bodily mutilation without reported suicidal thought or intention. Traditional psychologists associate these behaviors with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and might use a manualized treatment protocol of dialectical behavior therapy with a child exhibiting these problem behaviors. However, these behaviors can occur in nearly half of the students in a typical middle school environment. Setting events such as bullying, relationship problems and familial conflict may serve as establishing operations for cutting and other forms of NSSI. Functions of NSSI may include access to attention, access to preferred activities, escape from painful feelings and sensations, and escape from aversive situations. By identifying the maintaining functions of NSSI, effective treatment protocols with appropriate replacement behaviors can be developed. This presentation will provide a case study of how functional behavioral assessment of NSSI was used to develop effective treatment.



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