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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #452
CE Offered: BACB
A Pragmatic Look at Integrating Functional Analysis and Accompanying Function-Based Interventions in Applied Settings
Monday, May 27, 2019
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Hyatt Regency West, Ballroom Level, Regency Ballroom D
Area: AUT/PCH; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Morten Haugland (Haugland Learning Center)
Discussant: Jessica Slaton (Nashoba Learning Group)
CE Instructor: Jessica Slaton, Ph.D.

For many people with disabilities, challenging behavior is a significant barrier to learning and full participation at school and at home. Researchers have demonstrated by using functional analysis, it is possible to identify the function of challenging behavior through systematic experimental manipulation of variables, and based upon that function, design an effective intervention. Iwata et al. (1994) introduced the functional analysis to the science of behavior. This in-depth process has inspired myriad adaptations and systematic replications of the functional analysis process evaluating different conditions, settings, and durations. In this presentation we will focus on four issues related to functional analysis and function-based treatments utilized by practitioners. First, we will review data from interviews of experts in functional analysis, and a survey of BCBA’s and BCBA-D’s regarding their use of components of functional analysis. Second, we will review data from researchers examining the Interview Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis (IISCA). One, studying the effects of function-based intervention, implemented by paraprofessionals in a classroom context. The second researcher will examine the replication of the function-based intervention with parents as implementers. Finally, there will be an examination of function-based intervention on PICA following an adaption of standard functional analysis.

Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): delay tolerance, FCT, functional analysis, IISCA
Target Audience:

BCBAs looking to add functional analysis and function-based intervention to their repertoires. Additionally, practitioners that work in home and clinical settings working with parents and paraprofessionals.

Learning Objectives: The presenters will provide information and discussion on functional analysis in practice across settings, populations and professionals. Instructors will outline simple and pragmatic avenues to using functional analysis and look to describe derived treatments for a variety of response classes. Additionally, the presenters will seek to detail the prevalence of functional analysis in practice and bring awareness to the need to maintain an approach that is empirically verifiable.

Evaluating Recommendations Versus Utilization of the Essential Components of a Functional Analysis Procedure

ALISSA CONWAY (Drexel University)

The current dissertation project is a descriptive analysis composed of two interrelated studies. The dissertation proposes an opportunity to identify the essential components deemed necessary by behavior analytic experts in the field to implement and analyze a functional analysis (FA) followed by an examination of which of these components are utilized consistently by practitioners in the field. The project involves one interview and one survey; the interview is directed toward experts in functional analysis in behavior analysis, and the survey is directed toward Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and Board-Certified Behavior Analysts- Doctoral Level (BCBA-Ds) actively practicing functional analysis in the field of behavior analysis. The outcome data for the expert interview recommendations will be presented in comparison to the survey outcome data for the utilization of functional analysis components by practitioners.


The Implementation of Function-Based Intervention by Paraprofessionals Resulting From Interview Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis

DIMITRIOS V. MAKRIDIS (Haugland Learning Center; The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Eric Anderson (The Ohio State University)

The application of function-based intervention by paraprofessionals in the classroom context, requires extensive training and experience to be effective and impactful. Functional communication training (FCT), specifically mand training, has served as a standard intervention, and has been utilized as a default replacement for problem behavior by practitioners. While mand training is effective in increasing communication responses in contrived and instructional settings, often it does not result in generalization and independence across people and settings. This is mostly related to the extinguishing effects of synthesized contingencies in the natural environment. On the other hand, when FCT is paired with a contingency-based delay and denial tolerance, it is programmed to address these synthesized contingencies by establishing a functional, generalizable, and long-lasting replacement behavior. Three individuals with developmental disabilities and extensive histories of severe problem behavior (e.g., aggression, self-injury, high magnitude disruptive behavior, etc.) participated. FCT with contingency-based delay and denial tolerance was implemented following interview informed synthesized contingency analysis (IISCA) in a classroom setting by paraprofessionals. Results are expected to show variable responding following baseline by front line staff and a decrease following the addition of a behavior skills training (BST) component. The integration of contingency-based delay and denial tolerance, and FCT informed through functional analysis, was demonstrated to be an effective intervention for increasing communication and acceptance of denials, while decreasing the rate and magnitude of severe problem behavior.


CANCELED: One Practitioner’s Approach to the Interview-Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis Process in Home Settings

MICHAEL FANTETTI (Western New England University)

Abstract: Since the first publication of the interview-informed synthesized contingency analysis (IISCA) (Hanley, Vanselow, Jin, & Hanratty, 2014), many practitioners have adopted the method as a preferred means of conducting functional assessment in their clinical practice. In doing so, practitioners have often conducted the IISCA and subsequent treatment in home settings. Ideally, this may increase the likelihood of generalization of the functional communication response (FCR) to the natural environment. However, some practitioners have encountered issues of achieving generalization of the FCR to the caregivers. In this presentation, we will discuss a method in which the assessment and treatment yielded a favorable result for both the BCBA and the caregivers following an intervention that included parent involvement and minimal intervention from the BCBA (i.e., weekly visits). We will also consider the potential impact of this method in the context of the current literature surrounding the analysis and treatment of problem behavior, as well as future research directions.

A Brief Functional Assessment of Pica
CODY MORRIS (Western Michigan University ), Kelsey Webster (Western Michigan University), Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Pica is a severe behavior involving the consumption of items that are non-edible and/or are non-nutritive. Pica occurs in approximately 6-26% of the population of individuals with developmental disabilities and can be life-threatening in some cases. Due to the challenging nature of this behavior, relevant assessment and treatment practices described in behavior analytic literature are often exceedingly time consuming. The purpose of this presentation is to extend research on pica in two ways. The first is to describe the results of a brief functional analysis conducted in home and hospital settings to address pica with an individual adolescent diagnosed with autism. The second purpose is to describe treatment probes that were conducted after function was determined. Treatments probes included NCR, NCR+ blocking and redirection, and functional communication training. The results of the study indicated that the abbreviated assessments produced differentiated results that led to successful treatment probes. IOA data was collected during all sessions of the study with a mean exact agreement of 94.2%



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