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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #392
CE Offered: BACB
Trial-Based FAs That Yield Socially Valid Outcomes: Applying What We Know to How We Practice
Monday, May 29, 2017
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 2B
Area: PRA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Joseph Michael Lambert (Vanderbilt University)
Discussant: Mandy J. Rispoli (Purdue University)
CE Instructor: Joseph Michael Lambert, Ph.D.

Trial-based functional analyses (FA) are highly pragmatic assessments because programmed trials are brief and experimental control can be established following minimal problem behavior. Given these advantages, trial-based FAs appear to be particularly well suited for teachers confronted with persistent challenging behavior in schools. Notwithstanding, relatively few studies have highlighted practical applications of trial-based FAs and little is known about how best to use this technology to generate optimal outcomes in applied settings. The first presenter will highlight a streamlined approach to data analysis that allows a single practitioner to serve as both therapist and data collector while using latency-based FA data as baseline for a systematic and comprehensive treatment validation process. The second presenter will highlight data extending this intervention model to a two-component compound-schedules trial-based FA conducted in a public classroom with other children present. The third presenter will discuss recent advances in synthesized contingency analyses, will highlight advantages of these analyses in school settings, and will present data demonstrating how these analyses might be conducted within a trial-based framework. The final presenter will highlight ways to triangulate the results of indirect, descriptive, and experimental analyses (including trial-based FAs) during the functional behavior assessment process in school settings.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Functional analysis, school, synthesis, trial-based
Teacher Conducted Latency-Based FA and Intervention in Classroom Setting
JOSEPH MICHAEL LAMBERT (Vanderbilt University), Sarah Lopano (Vanderbilt University), Christina F. Noel (Western Kentucky University), Meaghan Ritchie (Western Kentucky University)
Abstract: Latency-based functional analyses (FA) meet the standard of experimental control while evoking a fraction of the problem behavior commonly observed during traditional FAs. Furthermore, conclusions about treatment efficacy drawn from analysis of response latencies appear to correspond well with conclusions drawn from analysis of response rates; making latency-based FAs viable baseline measures for subsequent latency-based treatment evaluations. Because collecting data on response latencies can be less effortful than collecting rate-based data, it may be possible for a single person to collect data while implementing FAs. If so, latency-based approaches to assessment and data analysis could decrease stakeholder concerns about safety and feasibility; commonly hypothesized barriers to FA implementation in school settings. We trained a first-year special education teacher to collect data while she implemented a latency-based FA of a target child’s severe challenging behavior in her classroom. She then validated a function-based individualized levels system designed to address the child’s multiply controlled challenging behavior. Treatment effects generalized across paraeducators and maintained during a one-month follow up.

Latency Measures From Trial-Based FA as Baseline for Subsequent Treatment Validation

LAUREN LEJEUNE (Vanderbilt University), Joseph Michael Lambert (Vanderbilt University), Christopher Lemons (Vanderbilt University), Rachel Mottern (Vanderbilt University), Barbara Wisniewski (Vanderbilt University)

Trial-based functional analysis (FA) procedures are a promising alternative to standard FA procedures when concerns about safety and/or sustained control over environmental variables are raised. However, research on teacher implemented trial-based FAs is limited and it is unclear how to use trial-based FA results as baseline for subsequent treatment evaluations; especially when challenging behavior is multiply controlled. The purpose of the current study was to train a public school teacher to conduct a trial-based FA while tracking latency to first response during each segment of each trial. During intervention, we used latencies to desired, and challenging, behavior from the onset of relevant establishing operations (EO; collected during the trial-based FA) as baseline for subsequent treatment validation procedures in which we systematically synthesized treatment components for each verified function into a single intervention. The teacher conducted 30 trial-based FA trials (10 trials per condition) with fidelity, and intervention was effective at reducing problem behavior and increasing replacement behaviors for our participant. Additionally, teacher report suggested that the results and procedures were socially valid.


The Use of Synthesized Contingencies in Trial-Based Functional Analysis

Mandy J. Rispoli (Purdue University), EMILY GREGORI (Purdue University), SoYeon Kim (Purdue University), Catharine Lory (Purdue University)

Recent research has begun to explore variations in functional analysis methodologies including the use of trial-based models and more recently the use of synthesized contingencies in functional analysis of challenging behavior. In a synthesized contingency, multiple putative reinforcers are delivered simultaneously contingent upon challenging behavior. This is in contrast to more traditional functional analysis methodologies in which the each putative reinforce is delivered individually. Thus far, this research has produced mixed results regarding the validity of synthesized functional analyses with synthesized contingencies. The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate an efficient and sensitive functional analysis model which capitalizes on a trial-based format with both synthesized and individual contingency analyses. Functional analysis procedures and results for participants diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The validity of the functional analysis results were assessed in a match-to-treatment fashion. Implications for future research and practice are presented.


An Application of Trial Based Functional Analysis With Secondary Demand Analysis in a Preschool Setting

NATALIE BADGETT (University of Washington), Scott A . Spaulding (University of Washington)

Trial based functional analysis (TBFA) is a variation of functional analysis methods where brief trials across control and test conditions are interspersed within naturally occurring routines. This experimental analysis is particularly well suited for identifying the function of problem behavior in general education classrooms, and it can be implemented by teachers following minimal training. However, other functional assessment methods involving indirect and descriptive approaches are more common in educational settings, and there is not yet consensus about which assessment approach may be most appropriate in these contexts. We conducted functional assessment/analysis using four methods (indirect, descriptive, trial-based, and traditional functional analysis) with a 5-year-old female diagnosed with autism in an inclusive preschool classroom. Using the data from our four assessments, we (a) conducted a demand analysis of instruction and transitions within the TBFA to identify the function of the problem behavior and (b) implemented functional communication training within a reversal design to confirm the TBFA-identified function. Our results demonstrated a functional relation for a single behavior. These findings allow comparison of results across different methods of assessment, show how intervention can validate TBFA findings, and illustrate how follow-up analyses can improve the sensitivity of TBFA data in the classroom.




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