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 #41
CE Offered: BACB
Clinical Practices to Consider During the Course of an Admission: A Review of Behavior Analytic Research
Saturday, May 25, 2024
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 114
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Theory
Chair: Caitlin Fulton (Munroe Meyer Institute- University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Discussant: Joseph Michael Lambert (Vanderbilt University)
CE Instructor: Megan A. Boyle, Ph.D.

In this symposium, authors reviewed empirical based literature to give an overview of key topics for practicing clinicians to consider throughout an admission. Spinks et al. conducted a literature review on the use of latency measurements in Functional Analysis and treatment of severe problem behavior and present a summary of the literature using latency to measure target behavior. In addition, will present clinical implications, strengths, and limitations to the empirical foundations. Research has demonstrated the use of multiple formats of preference assessments in identifying a hierarchy of preferred stimuli. Bryan et al. extended a review of literature based on the preference assessment literature review published by Tullis et al. (2011) and will further discuss their findings in guiding assessment and treatment. Boyle and colleagues will provide an overview of function-based approaches for providers to consider when addressing multiply controlled problem behavior as well as presenting strengths and limitations of published treatment approaches and strategies to mitigate limitations. Lastly, Dawson et al. will present an overview of literature that explores the differences and similarities when teaching a mand in the absence of replacing undesirable behavior and teaching an alternative response such as a functional communication response (FCR) to replace undesirable behavior. Dr. Joseph Lambert will provide comments on consideration for practitioners, clinicians, and supervisors, in clinical practice.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Functional Communication, Latency measures, Literature Review, Preference assessment
Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to discuss: 1. Use of multiple preference assessment formats for guiding assessment and treatment of challenging behavior 2. Strengths and limitations of the empirical foundations for latency based functional analysis 3. Approaches to addressing multiply controlled problem behavior, the associated limitations, and ways of mitigating those limitations 4. Differences and similarities when teaching a mand in the absence of undesirable behavior and teaching an alternative response, functional communication response (FCR) to replace undesirable behavior.

What Do You Do? A Scoping Review of Mand and Functional Communication Training
KYLE DAWSON (Munroe-Meyer Institute), Amanda Zangrillo (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), Katherine Flores (Munroe-Meyer Institute), Colleen McGrory (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center )
Abstract: The mand was first introduced in 1957 in B.F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior. In his book, Skinner described the mand as a verbal operant that specifies the reinforcer for the response and is elicited by a motivating operation (MO). A person may mand for access to a tangible item, termination of an aversive stimulus, or information that may lead to further sources of reinforcement. A functional communicative response (FCR) is a type of mand in which the mand specifies a functional reinforcer that maintains undesirable behavior, typically destructive behavior. Although mands and FCRs have several of the same properties, the additional element of behavior reduction in functional communication training has led researchers and clinicians to take a different approach to teach the verbal operant than the field’s verbal behavior counterparts. This talk aims to explore the differences and similarities between teaching a mand in the absence of replacing undesirable behavior and teaching an FCR to replace undesirable behavior. Audience members will be able to reflect on their own teaching procedures and identify potential teaching modifications based on the literature on multiple specialties in behavior analysis.

Review of the Preference Assessment Literature for People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

SAMANTHA BRYAN ( Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Brittany Hope Loder-Lafferty (University of Nebraska Medical Center- Munro-Meyer Institute ), Amanda Zangrillo (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), Christopher A. Tullis (Georgia State University), Isaac Joseph Melanson (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)

Research has demonstrated the utility of preference assessment methodologies in a variety of settings for individuals with severe to profound intellectual and developmental disabilities (Cannella et al., 2005; Lancioni et al., 1996). This paper is an extension of the Tullis et at. (2011) paper and reviews 90 studies conducted between 2011 and 2023 that were divided into five categories: (a) effectiveness of formats in determining reinforcing stimuli, (b) underlying mechanisms of preference and factors that may influence or change preference, (c) comparison of methodologies or components between preference assessments, (d) assessment for preference of stimuli, and (e) effects of using preferred stimuli. Results from these studies support previous research supporting the utility of multiple formats of preference assessments for identifying preferred and reinforcing stimuli for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These findings are discussed in terms of guiding services and interventions for individuals with severe to profound disabilities. Suggestions for future research are provided.

Assessing and Treating Multiply Controlled Challenging Behavior: Published Approaches and Clinical Decision-Making
MEGAN A. BOYLE (Upstate Caring Partners), Audrey N. Hoffmann (Utah State University)
Abstract: A portion of problem behavior is maintained by multiple reinforcement contingencies (e.g., problem behavior maintained by both positive and negative reinforcement; maintenance by both social and automatic reinforcement; or maintenance by multiple forms of positive reinforcement). Treating multiply controlled problem behavior may be more complex than treating problem behavior maintained by a single contingency. Practitioners need to decide whether all functions should be targeted from the outset and/or which functions to prioritize. We conducted a scoping review of behavior-analytic research to identify approaches to treating multiply controlled behavior and found several approaches have been described in the literature. The purpose of this presentation is to provide practitioners with an overview of function-based approaches for addressing multiply controlled problem behavior. Specifically, we present guidelines for functional analysis and treatment. We also describe strengths and limitations of published treatment approaches and discuss strategies for mitigating these limitations. Finally, we describe areas for future research.
Latency Measurement in Functional Analysis and Treatment of Problem Behavior
ELISSA SPINKS (Behaviors Analysis Association of Mississippi), Stephanie Mattson (Mississippi State University), Hailey Spinks (Mississippi State University), Ray Joslyn (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Research has demonstrated that latency is a reasonable index of response strength in the analysis and treatment of problem behavior. The literature contains numerous examples of functional analyses emphasizing latency informing effective treatment for problem behavior in various scenarios. Latency measurement can improve the versatility of functional analyses by allowing researchers and practitioners to conduct assessments in challenging environments (e.g., classrooms) and to examine behavior that is not amenable to a traditional functional analysis arrangement (e.g., elopement). Although there have been several reviews of the functional analysis literature, to date none have specifically addressed functional analyses emphasizing latency measurement. Given the unique advantages of functional analyses emphasizing latency, a systematic review could be beneficial to researchers and practitioners in behavior analysis. Therefore, we conducted a systematic literature review of research on functional analyses using latency to measure target behavior. Our review included 79 cases across 27 empirical research articles. We present a summary of the extant literature, strengths and limitations of the empirical foundations, provide clinical implications, and discuss future directions for research.



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