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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #220
CE Offered: BACB
Using the IISCA to Inform Functional Analysis and Treatment Development
Sunday, May 27, 2018
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall A
Area: DDA/CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: James Chok (Melmark Pennsylvania)
CE Instructor: James Chok, Ph.D.

This symposium will describe the application of Interview Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis (IISCA) to the development of functional analyses and function-based treatments. The first presentation will examine the predictive validity of open-ended interviews to develop hypotheses that are tested in experimental analyses to determine the function of problem behavior. The second presentation will review a treatment designed to address a problem behavior maintained by multiple reinforcers, one of which cannot be easily removed/terminated (access to a pool). The final presentation will compare the effectiveness of different procedures used to thin the schedule of reinforcement for an FCT program derived from an IISCA.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): FCT, Functional Analysis, IISCA, Schedule Thinning
Target Audience:

This symposium is intended for professionals who are board certified in behavior analysis.

Learning Objectives: By the conclusion of the talk, participants will be able to: 1) Describe findings related to the predictive validity of open-ended interviews as they relate to functional analysis development 2) Identify how to modify treatments when the functional reinforcer is not easily removed/terminated 3) Compare different methods for thinning schedules of reinforcement

The Predictive Validity of Open-Ended Interviews to Inform Functional Analysis Design

KELLY UBDEGROVE (Surrey Place Centre), Valdeep Saini (Upstate Medical University), Joshua Jessel (Queens College)

Some researchers have argued against the use of indirect assessments such as interviews as the primary method to inform functional analysis design because interviews often yield inaccurate or incomplete information regarding the conditions under which problem behaviors occur. However, much of the extant literature on interviews has come from interview methods that involve close-ended questions (i.e., respondents are required to make a binary yes/no response). The extent to which open-ended interviews are limited in a similar manner is unknown and thus we investigated whether open-ended interviews could be used to inform functional analysis design. Four children who engaged in severe problem behavior participated. First, two raters independently interviewed a single caregiver for each child to determine if the open-ended interview would yield reliable correspondence between raters. Second, hypotheses generated by the two raters based on their respective interviews were tested in an analogue functional analysis. We found generally positive correspondence between raters as well as with functional analysis outcomes suggesting that open-ended interviews may have good predictive validity when designing functional analyses.


Assessment and Treatment, Using IISCA, for Two Individuals Who Refuse to Transition Away From the Pool

ART GLENN DOWDY (Melmark Pennsylvania; Temple University), Amanda Marie Finlay (Melmark Pennsylvania), Rebekah Hinchcliffe (Melmark Pennsylvania), Jay Salee (Melmark Pennsylvania)

Children are required to transition from one location to another throughout their day. Problem behavior (e.g., tantrums, refusal) is often the result when children are asked to transition between activities in school (MacDuff, Krantz, & Mclannahan, 1993), between bedtime routines (Mindell, Kuhn, Lewin, Meltzer, & Sadeh, 2006), or from rich-to-lean environments (see e.g., Jessel, Hanley, Ghaemmaghami, 2016). We completed an Interview Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis (IISCA) for two individuals diagnosed with autism who engaged in refusal behavior when asked to leave the pool area. The results of the IISCA suggest that pool refusal behavior was maintained by social negative reinforcement in the form of escaping the demand to leave the pool and maintained by positive reinforcement to continue to access the pool area. Treatment consists of allowing brief escape (10 seconds) when pool refusal behavior was emitted plus reinforcement. The effectiveness of preferred edible items and tangible items delivered to the participants' contingent upon leaving the pool area and entering the changing room were evaluated during treatment. This study extends the literature in two ways. First, the study evaluates the efficacy of a function-based treatment following the completion of the IISCA for transition refusal behavior in novel context (i.e., pool area). Second, the study evaluates the effectiveness of delivering competing reinforcement (i.e., edible and tangible items) when a preferred location (i.e., pool) cannot be removed.

A Comparison of Contingency-Based Reinforcement Thinning Procedures
Joshua Jessel (Queens College), Rachel Metras (Western New England University), CHARLENE AGNEW (Queens College)
Abstract: Reinforcement thinning is an integral component of the treatment of problem behavior because it reduces the rate at which reinforcers are delivered to a practical and manageable point for caregivers. There are multiple different procedures that have been used to thin reinforcement with some including a response requirement during the delay (i.e., contingency-based) and others re-presenting the reinforcer solely on the passage of time (i.e., time-based). Contingency-based reinforcement thinning has the added benefit of teaching appropriate skills during the delay. We conducted this study to compare two variations of contingency-based reinforcement thinning procedures. The problem behavior of three participants with autism was first assessed during a functional analysis and treated using functional communication training (FCT). Following successful reductions in problem behavior during FCT, the reinforcement was thinned by progressively increasing (a) the number of instructions the participant must comply with or (b) the duration in which problem behavior cannot occur. Greater reductions in problem behavior were observed and leaner schedules of reinforcement were achieved when the contingency was dependent on appropriate behavior in comparison to the absence of problem behavior.



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