Middle Tennessee Regional Meeting

Symposium title: Practical Functional Assessment and Skill-based Treatment: Recent Adaptations for School-based Implementation
Chair: Johanna Staubitz, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Vanderbilt University

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$30 meeting fee for guests
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Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe primary features of practical functional assessment and skill-based treatment.
  2. Describe the Enhanced Choice Model, a modification to skill-based treatment procedures which improves safety and autonomy for participants.
  3. Describe a supplementary assessment approach (concurrent operant analysis) which may inform contingency management outside of skill-based treatment sessions.


Presentation 1

Marney S. Pollack, M.S., BCBA, Vanderbilt University
Blair P. Lloyd, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Vanderbilt University
Jessica Torelli, Ph.D., BCBA, Vanderbilt University
Katie Copeland, B.A., Vanderbilt University

Title: Promoting Student Autonomy and Safety during a School-Based Intervention for Challenging Behavior

Abstract: The latency-based functional analysis (LBFA) is a hypothesis testing strategy used to inform effective school-based behavior analytic interventions for students who engage in challenging behavior (Lambert et al., 2017). Despite the promise of interventions informed by this rigorous experimental analysis, students may respond in unexpected ways. For example, the establishing operations presented during functional communication training may elicit a stress response or evoke countercontrol. Behavior analysts are compelled by the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code to recommend the least restrictive procedures likely to be effective. These unanticipated responses may signal the restrictiveness of a given intervention procedure, possibly indicating a need for modification to prioritize student autonomy and safety. One such modification is the Enhanced Choice Model (ECM; Rajaraman et al., 2021), where the student is provided with concurrently available alternatives to participation in intervention sessions. We implemented a LBFA and subsequent function-based intervention with an elementary student in a public school who received special education services under an emotional disturbance label. When initial treatment procedures were ineffective, we modified them to include the ECM. We present procedures and student outcomes across intervention iterations, as well as response allocation among alternatives within the ECM.


Presentation 2

Leila C. Shearer, B.S., Vanderbilt University
Jennifer L. Zimdahl, B.S., Vanderbilt University
John E. Staubitz, M.Ed., BCBA, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Title: Data-Based Decision-Making, Skill-Based Treatment, and the Prioritization of Behavioral Concerns

Abstract: Addressing multiple topographies of problem behavior in school is made more difficult when these behaviors are maintained by different contingencies, while educators have limited resources for intervening. When school personnel are concerned about the safety risks posed by socially maintained aggression and the stigma and disruption caused by automatically maintained sexual self-stimulatory behavior, the team may be forced to prioritize one behavior, while remaining vigilant for opportunities to address the second. Collecting and analyzing data that clarifies A) the relative disruption caused by the behaviors, B) hypotheses of behavioral function, and C) the extent to which target behaviors are sensitive to treatment allows educators and behavior analysts to make responsible treatment decisions in the face of a challenging problem. In this case study, a school-based treatment team used descriptive assessments to prioritize treatment targets, and then used the Practical Functional Assessment to individualize Skill-based Treatment (Hanley et al., 2014) for a student to build functional communication and reduce aggression, while setting the stage for intervening with sexual self-stimulatory behavior. We explore ways to garner stake-holder support and consensus for the prioritization of behavioral intervention.


Presentation 3

Emily K. Baran, B.S., Vanderbilt University
Johanna L. Staubitz, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Vanderbilt University
Jacob D. Frier, B.S., Vanderbilt University
Taylor L. Crawford, B.S., Vanderbilt University
Lili Huang, M.D., Vanderbilt University

Title: Using Concurrent Operant Analysis to Inform Short-Term Contingency Management Procedures

Abstract: When students receive intensive behavioral treatment, generalized changes in behavior may occur after a delay, reducing social validity for stakeholders. Contingency management may mediate delays to treatment outcomes, particularly if procedures are informed by diagnostic assessment. We used a series of concurrent operant analyses (COA), informed by Practical Functional Assessment, to develop a token intervention for an elementary student with severe problem behavior who was simultaneously undergoing Skill-based Treatment (Hanley et al., 2014). First, we conducted a COA to rank three academic tasks according to student preference. Next, we conducted a COA to identify a token production schedule under which the student would choose to engage with their least preferred rather than most preferred task. COAs yielded clear outcomes regarding student preference, evoked minimal undesirable behavior, and were relatively brief (range, 6-18 min). Finally, we used a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the effectiveness of a token intervention informed by PFA and COA results. The COA-informed intervention was correlated with lower levels of undesirable behavior and higher levels of efficiency relative to baseline and alternative intervention conditions. Staff rated the intervention favorably.

Your attendance is free as a TABA member!
You must be logged in to register for the meeting.

$30 meeting fee for guests
You may pay securely after registration.