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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Symposium #153
CE Offered: BACB
Some Important Considerations for the Functional Assessment of Severe Problem Behavior
Sunday, May 28, 2023
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 4A/B
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Joyce Chenchen Tu Battersby (Easterseals of Southern California)
Discussant: Joanna Lomas Mevers (Marcus Autism Center)
CE Instructor: Joyce Chenchen Tu Battersby, Ed.D.
Abstract: Functional analysis (FA) is the gold standard in identifying function of severe problem behavior. When conducting an FA, individuals are repeatedly exposed to testing conditions (e.g., tangible, demand, attention, alone) so that accurate result can be obtained. It is important that accurate function of the behavior is necessary for effective treatment, however, there are risks such as the intensity of the behavior can magnify within and outside of the FA sessions. In this symposium, variations of expanding the FA technology will be discussed. Furthermore, different treatment strategies including ways to minimalizing risks associated with FAs will also be discussed.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience: Experience on conducting functional behavior assessment
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. State ways to train parents on conducting functional analysis 2. State ways to preventive screening of problem behavior 3. State treatment strategies based on the outcome of functional analysis

Differential Outcomes in Therapist Versus Clinician Lead Functional Analyses of Challenging Behavior

ARMEN GUSHCHYAN (Children's Hospital of Orange County), Casey J. Clay (Children's Hospital of Orange County), Eric Ishijima (Thomson Autism Center - CHOC Children's), John Robert Budde (Children's Hospital of Orange County)

Functional analysis (FA) is the gold standard in identifying function of severe challenging behavior. Variations of the traditional FA have been conducted to include more endogenous variables relevant to the individual engaging in challenging behavior. One modification to FA involves parent-implemented conditions. We trained parents to conduct functional analysis and functional communication training for their child's problem behavior. Parents learned to implement procedures with fidelity. We saw differentiated response patterns when comparing parent-conducted and therapist-conducted sessions. Furthermore, we saw parent implemented function-based interventions were effective in decreasing their child’s problem behavior. During this presentation, we will review and discuss the process FA, considerations for safety, and medical necessity related to challenging behavior.


On the Utility of Differentiating Data Collection for Target Behavior During Functional Analyses of Severe Problem Behavior

JUSTIN CHAN (Easterseals Southern California), Shaji Haq (Easterseals Southern California), Fahad Alresheed (Easterseals Southern California)

Functional analyses (FA) of problem behavior are conducted to determine the function of a behavior (or behaviors) of concern. Unless an FA is conducted, the results of functional behavior assessments (FBA), which typically include non-experimental methods, may produce inconclusive or inaccurate results. Although it is common to treat all targeted behaviors that are presumed to be in the same response class as the same, there may be some utility in differentiating data collection across various categories of problem behavior. We will present the results of one functional analysis, which indicates that different topographies of problem behavior were maintained by different functions. Thus, differentiated data collection resulted in a more efficient process of assessment, and provided information that was necessary to make recommendations for function-based treatments. Implications for future research directions and clinical practice will be discussed.

In Search of FCT Strategies that Work: Using VR Schedules and Other Strategies to Manage Demand Fading and Prevent Resurgence
Abstract: One treatment, perhaps currently the most common function-based treatment for disruptive behavior, Functional Communication Training (FCT), will be discussed in detail along with its possible risks, especially resurgence of the disruptive behavior. Strategies to prevent resurgence will be discussed. An assessment and treatment package including intensive functional analyses and treatment consisting of FCT, MULT schedules, demand fading, schedule thinning, behavior rehearsal and progressive VR chained schedules will be enumerated. Data will be presented showing several years of remarkable progress in three individuals, depicting up to 100% reduction of severe, aggressive and self-injurious behavior, all while steadily and systematically re-building academic programs from the opportunity for constant breaks to socially-valid instructional time that shows rates of worktime engagement between 70% and 80% on task.

Function-Based Prevention: Screening of Problem Behavior and Appropriate Behavior Occurring Under Functional Analysis Conditions

MONIQUE NADINE MONARREZ (California State University, Northridge ), Chunying Jin (California State University, Northridge), Jennifer L. Posey (Holdsambeck Behavioral Health), Aarti Haresh Thakore (Central Texas Autism Center), Tara A. Fahmie (University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Children diagnosed with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often engage in challenging behavior of varying topography. Functional behavior assessment, in particular functional analysis (FA), primarily focuses on identifying the function of a problem behavior to inform the design of function-based treatment. Although this focus has been instrumental in informing evidence-based interventions, the assessment logic may also be used in the context of preventative screening of problem behavior (Fahmie, Iwata, & Mead, 2016; Fahmie et al. 2020). The current study expands the FA technology to identify 57 topographies of problem behavior that vary in level of severity from mild to severe, as well as topographies of appropriate behavior that vary in the level of complexity and the specificity of function in two children diagnosed with ASD. More specifically, children were exposed to challenging situations which included deprivation of attention, deprivation of preferred items, presentation of difficult tasks, deprivation of social stimulation, and deprivation of any idiosyncratic and preferred context to screen for the presence and the absence of challenging behavior and appropriate behavior. Children then experienced functional communication training and delay and denial tolerance teaching to see whether skill-based treatments prevented the emergence of severe problem behavior. We will review and discuss function-based prevention and safety considerations during the screening process.




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