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 #282
CE Offered: BACB
Innovations in Functional Analysis and Function-Based Interventions to Reduce Challenging Behavior for Children With Autism
Sunday, May 27, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom F
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Stephanie Gerow (Baylor University)
Discussant: Jennifer Ninci (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
CE Instructor: Jennifer Ninci, Ph.D.

This symposium will include two presentations. The purpose of the first study was to evaluate the effects of a treatment based on the results of a trial-based functional analysis (TBFA) that utilized isolated and synthesized reinforcement contingencies. Across all participants, challenging behavior occurred during most during synthesized TBFA condition, but only occurred during one of the two isolated conditions. During the treatment evaluation, participants were taught three responses that corresponded to each of the conditions evaluated in the TBFA. All participants allocated responding to the response that matched one of the isolated contingencies, suggesting challenging behavior for was maintained by isolated reinforcement contingencies. The purpose of the second study was to evaluate the effect of demand fading on the resurgence of challenging behavior following functional communication training. Participants with autism who engaged in escape-maintained challenging behavior participated. During the treatment evaluation, functional communication training with demand fading was compared to functional communication training with a dense schedule of reinforcement. Resurgence of challenging behavior in each condition was assessed. Results indicate idiosyncratic responding across participants and suggest the need for further investigation of intervention variables that affect resurgence. The discussant will summarize implications for practice and directions for future research.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): function-based intervention, functional analysis, resurgence
Target Audience:

The target audience for this symposium is behavior analysts who work with children with autism and other developmental disabilities who engage in challenging behavior.

Learning Objectives: Following symposium attendance, attendees should be able to: 1. Describe trial-based functional analysis procedures 2. Identify intervention procedures matched to functional analysis results 3. Describe how resurgence can affect long-term reductions in challenging behavior

Treatment Evaluation Following Synthesized Trial-Based Functional Analysis

Mandy J. Rispoli (Purdue University), Emily Gregori (Purdue University), Catharine Lory (Purdue University), So Yeon Kim (Purdue University), MARIE DAVID (Purdue University)

Various methods have been developed to enhance the efficiency of functional analyses. One of these methods includes synthesizing all variables suspected of maintaining challenging behavior into a single test condition. The purposes of the current study were to (a) compare synthesized and isolated reinforcement contingencies in a trial-based functional analysis (TBFA) and (b) to evaluate treatment based on the results of the TBFA. Three children with autism participated in the current study. Results of the TBFA were consistent across all three children. Challenging behavior was observed during most of the synthesized trials. However, when reinforcement contingencies were evaluated in isolation, challenging behavior was sensitive to only one of the two contingencies. To clarify the results of the TBFA, we implemented functional communication training. Each child was taught three mands that corresponded to the contingencies tested in the TBFA. During treatment sessions, children most frequently selected the response corresponding to one of the isolated reinforcement contingencies. Additionally, challenging behavior immediately decreased. These results suggest that challenging behavior for all three participants was sensitive to isolated reinforcement contingencies.


An Evaluation of the Effect of Demand Fading on the Resurgence of Challenging Behavior

SUPRIYA RADHAKRISHNAN (Baylor University), Stephanie Gerow (Baylor University), Tonya Nichole Davis (Baylor University), Abby Hodges (Baylor University), Amy Nicole Feind (Baylor University)

Resurgence, or the reoccurrence, of challenging behavior often occurs following successful treatment with functional communication training. It is important to identify treatment variables that reduce the resurgence of challenging behavior. The current study assessed the impact of demand fading (i.e., increasing the number of demands required prior to reinforcing mands) on resurgence of challenging behavior. Two participants with autism who engaged in escape-maintained challenging behavior participated in this study. Following the functional analysis, the efficacy of functional communication training was assessed within a reversal design. Throughout the functional communication training phases, the child participants were taught two mands during alternating sessions. In the second functional communication training phase, one of the two mands was associated with demand fading, while the other mand was associated with a consistently low task requirement (i.e., dense schedule of reinforcement). Following the treatment evaluation phase, resurgence was assessed in an extinction phase. Results of the resurgence evaluation varied by participant, with one participant engaging in challenging behavior across both conditions and the other participant not engaging in challenging behavior across either condition. We plan to conduct similar procedures with two additional participants and anticipate that data collection will be complete in February 2018.




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