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Association for Behavior Analysis International

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Ninth International Conference; Paris, France; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #78
Focusing on Social Validity During the Assessment and Treatment of Problem Behavior
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
10:30 AM–12:20 PM
Scene C, Niveau 0
Area: PRA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Leslie Neely, Ph.D.
Chair: Leslie Neely (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
Discussant: Wendy A. Machalicek (University of Oregon)
Abstract: A large and continually growing research base has demonstrated the potential for functional analysis (FA)-informed interventions to eliminate challenging behavior in controlled environments. However, some may question the validity of intervention models through which contrived FAs conducted in analogue settings are used as the basis for subsequent treatment validation (Talk 1). Others may raise concerns about FAs designed without consideration of factors related to cultural and linguistic diversity (Talk 2). During intervention, there is little doubt that well designed differential reinforcement programs can simultaneously suppress unwanted behavior and increase wanted behavior; however, surprisingly little applied research has highlighted strategies for incorporating cultural factors (Talk 2) or client preference (Talk 3) into determining what is wanted. Finally, the social validity of interventions may be greatest when desirable treatment effects generalize across all relevant people and settings. However, behavior analysts face an uphill battle when attempting to ensure generality of treatment effects to relevant settings at times during which behavior analysts cannot be present to collect data or coach care providers (Talk 4).
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): "Challenging behavior", "function-based intervention", "functional analysis", "social validity";
Prompts, Probes, and Correspondence Between Reinforcer Assessments and Functional Analysis Outcomes
JOSEPH MICHAEL LAMBERT (Vanderbilt University), Nealetta Houchins-Juarez (Vanderbilt University), Rachel Mottern (Vanderbilt)
Abstract: One concern with functional analysis (FA) is that practitioners evoke and reinforce problem behavior, with the potential of facilitating its acquisition of new functional classes. If arranging contingencies between known reinforcers and problem behavior (in the absence of additional instruction) can confound FA results, then reinforcer assessment outcomes should be predictive of FA outcomes. In the current investigation we conducted a series of preference assessments to identify high-preferred tangible items, high-preferred social interactions, and low-probability demands. We then evaluated the reinforcing effects of contingent access to (or escape from) these stimuli/events during subsequent reinforcer assessments. Finally, we conducted FAs of each participant’s problem behavior and arranged consequences identical to those manipulated during previous reinforcer assessments. Correspondence between reinforcer assessments and FA outcomes was low, with reinforcer assessments implicating both false positive and false negative behavior functions. Our results suggest that the threat of new learning during FAs is likely minimal.
Impact of Language on Behavior Assessment and Intervention Outcomes
LESLIE NEELY (The University of Texas at San Antonio), S. Shanun Kunnavatana (Texas A&M University), Rachel Pantermuehl (Autism Treatment Center)
Abstract: This study evaluated the effect of language of implementation on functional analysis and functional communication training for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Linguistic diversity and choice of language may be particularly important to children with ASD as core communication deficits often contribute to engagement in challenging behavior. Unfortunately, little research has been conducted to identify the impact of culture and language on functional analysis or behavior intervention outcomes. We will present the results of two studies which investigate differences in treatment effectiveness based on language of assessment and intervention.
Assessing Mand Topography Preference When Developing a Functional Communication Training Intervention
S. Shanun Kunnavatana (Texas A&M University), Alexandra Aguilar (UTSA), LESLIE NEELY (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
Abstract: Functional communication training (FCT) is a common function-based behavioral intervention used to decrease problem behavior by teaching an alternative communication response. Therapists often arbitrarily select the topography of the alternative response. Assessing individual mand topography preference may increase treatment effectiveness and promote self-determination in the development of interventions. This study sought to reduce arbitrary selection of FCT mand topography by determining preference during response training and acquisition for two adults with no functional communication skills. Results were used to implement FCT and reduce problem behavior.
Text Messaging to Evaluate the Generality of Therapeutic Gains
NEALETTA HOUCHINS-JUAREZ (Vanderbilt University), Abigail Morgan (Vanderbilt), Joseph Michael Lambert (Vanderbilt University), Mary Matthews (Vanderbilt), Somer Wiggins (Vanderbilt), Kayla Rechelle Randall (Vanderbilt), Erin Barton (Vanderbilt)
Abstract: Generalization is essential to the social validity of effective intervention. However, it is difficult to evaluate the generality of therapeutic gains across all facets of a clients life because therapists are not available to collect data at these times. One solution is parent report; however, ensuring consistent and accurate data without presenting undue burden to family is challenging. In our study, we employed an automated texting system to send parents daily individualized-behavioral questions at prescribed times during all phases of intervention (i.e., assessment through discharge). Responding remained high throughout the investigation, suggesting texting may be a viable reporting option (although questions about reliability/accuracy remain). Importantly, obtained data indicate that problem behavior persisted outside of therapeutic sessions for the duration of the study; even after it had been eliminated during these sessions by parents who were trained to fidelity via BST. These results suggest a greater focus on generalization is merited.


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