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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #86
Functional Concepts of Applied Behavior Analysis Within the General Education Classroom
Saturday, May 25, 2024
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Grand Ballroom Salon E
Area: EDC; Domain: Theory
Chair: Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School; Yellow Brick Academy)

This symposium addresses the relevance of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to the general education domain. Oftentimes ABA is thought of as only applicable to those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disorders, yet the application of ABA is appropriate for any socially significant problems such as those that arise daily in the general education setting. General education teachers don’t always have the tools or resources to work with children with behavioral needs. As ABA tends to be used with more “classified” students, this symposium shows that ABA methodologies can be used with any student. Though functional behavior assessments are an important part of targeting socially significant behaviors, the field of ABA has much more to offer than only a reduction of maladaptive behavior. This symposium will highlight three chapters from the book, Incorporating Applied Behavior Analysis into the General Education Classroom, to further discuss ABA’s impact within the educational setting.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): behavior assessment, differential reinforcement, FBA, general education
Foundations of Behavior Change Strategies Applicable in the General Education Classroom
SHANNON ELIZABETH HOEY (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Tyler Ré (The Chicago School), Rebecca Gonzales (The Chicago School), Jennifer Quigley (The Chicago School), TANYA HOUGH (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Tricia Clement-James (LaBAA)
Abstract: As a science, ABA is data-driven and implemented to address socially significant behaviors. Data collection is therefore imperative and selecting the most valid data collection method may be challenging for general educators. Efficient and accurate data collection – while at the surface may seem like one more task to add to the ever-growing list – will actually help make an educator’s life better. Through the strategies outlined in this presentation, you will be able to pinpoint exactly the behavior of interest and be able to efficiently communicate them to your other team members (i.e., operational definitions). You will then be able to set objective goals rooted in those definitions. Then, you’ll select, from a number of options outlined in this presentation (e.g., interval, rate, duration, A-B-C data collection systems) a data collection method that accurately captures the behavior of interest, as well as fits within the needs of your classroom. This presentation will highlight how to create a measurement system to evaluate the effects of a classroom system.
Functional Behavior Assessment in General Education Classrooms
JAIR YEPEZ TORRES (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Tyler Ré (The Chicago School), Jennifer Quigley (The Chicago School), Tricia Clement-James (LaBAA)
Abstract: The basis for successful behavior change and management is to determine why a behavior is occurring. This is known as the behavioral function. Without knowing the function of a behavior, a teacher may implement an intervention that does not target the environmental events that are maintaining a behavior, therefore using an intervention that will not create a change in the targeted behavior. The most common functions that maintain a behavior include attention, tangible, escape, and automatic reinforcement. A functional behavior assessment is often conducted with an aim to determine the function and then pair a function-based intervention to the behavior. The components of a functional behavior assessment usually include indirect (e.g., interviews and surveys) and direct assessments (e.g., direct observations). This chapter will introduce you to the steps of conducting a functional behavior assessment, the four functions of behavior, and important resources that can help school staff conduct effective assessments.
Differential Reinforcement in the Education Setting
TANYA HOUGH (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School; Yellow Brick Academy), Mindy Cassano (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: This symposium explores how differential reinforcement can be applied in a general education classroom. Often, it may be difficult to identify the initial steps in developing an effective differential reinforcement system to implement in a classroom setting. In this symposium, attendees will learn how to get the behavior they want using reinforcement. Attendees will learn about varying schedules of reinforcement. With a focus on differential reinforcement implemented in a classroom setting, this symposium will discuss different types of applications including selecting a “worthy” reinforcer, using attention as a reinforcer, and the strengths of reinforcers. Attendees will also learn about the difference between preference versus reinforcement when implementing a differential reinforcement system in a classroom. Information will include both small and large group applications. In this symposium, attendees will learn about designing an effective differential reinforcement schedule to get the desired behavior change in the classroom. Attendees will also learn how to systematically implement differential reinforcement schedules to increase student’s targeted positive behaviors.



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