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

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W28
CE Offered: BACB — 
Practical and Ethical Methodologies for Assessing Function of Problematic Behaviors in the Natural Environment
Thursday, May 24, 2018
4:00 PM–7:00 PM
Marriott Marquis, Torrey Pines 3
Area: PRA/DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Paulo Guilhardi, Ph.D.
PAULO GUILHARDI (Beacon ABA Services, Inc.), ROBERT K. ROSS (Beacon ABA Services), ASHLEY DOUGLAS (Beacon ABA Services )
Description: The workshop will focus on the use of direct observation tools to generate hypothesis regarding function with direct practice on a tool that is more accurate and efficient. Following the identification of hypothesis to be tested, the workshop will focus on alternative experimental methods to test a subset of hypothesized functions and involve teaching alternative responses and do not reinforce problematic behaviors. Conclusions derived from current functional assessment practices heavily rely on indirect methods for gathering data (e.g. FAST, MAS). When a function is experimentally tested, current practices pose ethical, practical and theoretical concerns. Both approaches are problematic in that indirect data produces inaccurate and imprecise data, and experimental methods are typically not driven by a hypothesis, directly reinforce problematic behaviors, and do not involve simultaneous establishment of appropriate alternative behaviors. The workshop will conclude with an argument to support (1) direct observation of consequences be used in place of indirect data to develop hypothesis and (2) use of use of alternative experimental methods such a free-operant and trial-based functional analysis procedures. The proposed methodology provides a more ethical, conceptually systematic, and practical assessment of function.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Describe methods for raising hypothesis of function of problematic behaviors; (2) Collect data on consequences of problematic behaviors; (3) Develop functional analysis procedures to test hypothesis that do not reinforce problematic behaviors and teach functional alternative responses; (4) Conduct functional analysis; (5) Summarize functional assessment results.
Activities: Instructional strategies include: 1. Lecture 2. Discussion 3. Small group breakout- graphing and analysis activity 4. Video data collection exercise 5. Conduct of a mock functional assessment
Audience: Professionals responsible for conducting functional assessments and analysis providing services in schools, home, and community.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Direct Observation, FBA/Ethics, Free Operant, Trial Based



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