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Ninth International Conference; Paris, France; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #2
From Functional Analyses to Interventions for Challenging Behavior
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Forum Auditorium, Niveau 1
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Richard B. Graff, Ph.D.
Chair: Chata A. Dickson (New England Center for Children)
Discussant: Richard B. Graff (The May Institute)
Abstract: These two papers focus on the assessment and treatment of problem behavior. The first study, by Slaton, Hanley, and Raftery, compared results of interview-informed synthesized contingency analyses (Hanley, Jin, Vanselow, & Hanratty, 2014) and standard functional analyses (Iwata et al., 1982/1994) to determine differential outcomes of conducting functional analyses with synthesized versus isolated reinforcers. The relative effectiveness of interventions derived from both types of analyses was then evaluated. The second study, by Deltour, Ahearn, and Cohen, consisted of a trial-based functional analysis of problem behavior during activity transitions. A treatment based on the obtained results and consisting of differential reinforcement of alternative behavior without extinction was then implemented to decrease problem behavior occurring during the activity transitions identified as problematic. The discussant for this symposium will be Richard B. Graff, Ph.D., BCBA-D, who currently works at the New England Center for Children and whose research interests include, among others, the functional assessment and treatment of challenging behavior.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Actvity transitions, FCT, Synthesized FA, Trial-based FA
A Comparison of Synthesized and Isolated Reinforcers in Functional Analysis
JESSICA SLATON (Nashoba Learning Group), Gregory P. Hanley (Western New England University), Kate Raftery (Nashoba Learning Group)
Abstract: Hanley, Jin, Vanselow, and Hanratty (2014) described a functional analysis (FA) model in which reinforcement contingencies identified via open-ended interviews with caregivers were combined in a single-test analysis. This interview-informed synthesized contingency analysis (IISCA) was shown to provide an effective baseline from which to develop socially-validated treatments. However, the contingency synthesis prohibits an understanding of whether problem behavior is maintained by the interaction of contingencies or by one or more of the individual contingencies. We therefore compared results of IISCAs and standard FAs (Iwata et al., 1982/1994) to determine differential outcomes of conducting FAs with synthesized versus isolated reinforcers for nine children with autism. For five children, the IISCA yielded differentiated results and the standard FA did not; these data illustrate the importance of searching for interactions rather than or in addition to main effects of contingencies. When both analysis types were differentiated for four children, differential reinforcement-based treatments designed from each analysis were then compared. Problem behavior was decreased and alternative behavior was established during the IISCA-based treatment but not during the standard-analysis-based treatment for two children. The relative efficacy, efficiency, and treatment utility of the IISCA and standard FA will be discussed.
Assessment and Treatment of Problem Behavior Occurring During Activity Transitions
Clelia Deltour (New England Center for Children), William H. Ahearn (New England Center for Children), Stacy Cohen (Alternative Behavior), CHATA A. DICKSON (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Children with autism often present with difficulties during transitions (Davis, 1987). It is therefore important to develop procedures for assessing and treating problem behavior during transitions. The purpose of the present study was to replicate McCord, Thomson, and Iwata (2001) by developing and conducting an assessment and intervention for the transition-related problem behavior of two participants with disabilities. Following some pre-assessment analyses, we conducted a functional analysis of problem behavior during transitions between activities. The results suggested that problem behavior occurred in transitions involving a worsening in activity preference, for example terminating a preferred or neutral activity and initiating a non-preferred activity. Finally, we examined the effectiveness of an intervention consisting of differential reinforcement of alternative behavior without extinction on the problem behavior occurring during the transitions identified as problematic. The results suggested that differential reinforcement of alternative behavior without extinction and effectively decreased problem behavior in all targeted activity transitions. Future directions will be discussed. Interobserver Agreement (IOA) was collected for at least 30% of all trials and averaged over 90% for all scored responses.


Modifed by Eddie Soh