Carr, Newsom, & Binkoff (1980) examined different variablesthat may be controlling aggressive behavior. The participants included twoboys, one 9-year old and 14-yaer old both of whom are diagnosed intellectualdisabilities. The procedure/independent variable of this study was a functionalanalysis. The dependent variable in this study was aggressive behavior.
Theresults of this study showed aggressive behavior was maintained by escape fromdemands. McCord, Thomson, & Iwata(2001) examined different variables that may be controlling self-injuriousbehavior. The participants in this study were two male individuals in whichlived in a state residential facility. One of the participants was 27-years oldand the other was a 38-year old. Both participants were diagnosed withintellectual disabilities. The procedure/Independent variable of this study wasa functional analysis and the dependent variable is self-injuriousbehavior(SIB). The results of this study showed SIB was being maintained bytransitions.
The results of this study made it possible to implement aneffective treatment using a differential reinforcement procedure of alternativebehavior as well as advance notice prior to transitions. The purpose of this study was to determine if the hypothesis of functionof property destruction was being maintained by escape from work demand likethe descriptive assessment suggested. The functional analysis will help to showa functional relationship between property destruction and what is maintainingit. A descriptive assessment also known as a functional behavior assessment is anassessment consisting of indirect and direct measures to gather information onthe hypothesis of behavior. A functional analysis is an assessment thatmanipulates variables to see if the hypothesis is correct and show a functionalrelationship. The previous study showed the functional analysis’s to be aneffective assessment in determining the maintain variable of aggressive behavior.(Carr, Newsom, and Binkoff,1980).
This current study used a functionalanalysis as the primary procedure to determine the maintaining variable ofproperty destruction. MethodParticipantThe participant is an 8-year old male student who attends school at a Collaborative. He has a primary diagnosis of ASD. He is currently in a classroom with 5 peers and 6 staff, and works 1:1with a support staff. Along with a 1:1 support staff he also receives 1-hour aweek of both speech therapy and physical therapy and 1-hour a week of BCBAconsult.
The AutismCurriculum Encyclopedia’s Core Skills Assessment(ACE®)(NECC, 1975) wasconducted and the results showed strengths in the area of discrimination andshowed deficits in the areas of communication, and social skills. Dad expressedhis concerns about his son’s engagement in property destruction. He is able to verbally communicate most of his needs and wants but has alimited verbal repertoire and does use an AAC as a form of communication. Hisability to communicate when he needs a break or needs to go to the bathroom hasdirectly resulted in a decrease in challenging behaviors. However, challengingbehaviors do still occur at times, and these can include bolting, flopping,swiping/throwing classroom materials, property destruction (ripping andcrumpling classroom materials), crying, and aggressions (pinching, squeezing,pushing and scratching). These challenging behaviors have resulted in therequest for a referral. He is participating in 1:1 work as well as group/socialactivities such as lunch, recess, art, music, morning meeting, and group gameswith minimal or no challenging behaviors.
He knows all 26-letters and theircorresponding sounds. Mathematically, he is able to count and sequence numbers1-100 and is currently learning simple addition with numbers 1-10. He cancount with 1:1 correspondence up to 30, and she can represent groups of itemswith a written number up to 10. He can represent, form, and copy basic patterns(including but not limited to ABAB, ABCABC, ABBABBA).Setting The location of the interventions took place in the participants primaryABA classroom and in an observation room.
The observation room has a long tableand 6 chairs. The classroom has 2 circle tables with 4 chairs at each table. Thelead teacher as well as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) were presentduring the assessment.
MaterialsThe materials used during each session were a pen and data sheet totrack the frequency of property destruction. A timer to keep track of each 20-minutecondition session.Dependent Variable Property Destructions: anyactual or attempted instance of the participant damaging stimuli in theenvironment by throwing materials, dumping materials on the floor, swiping orpushing materials off of tables or ledges, smearing on walls, ripping upmaterials, or pulling items off of shelves of walls. The behavior begins when asingle instance of property destruction starts and ends after 10 seconds of noengagement in property destruction. Example: He is presented with a discretetrial and rips the material. Non-example: He dumps the leftovers from his lunchinto the trash bin at the end of lunch.Measurementof Dependent Variable The target behavior was measured using frequency.
Frequencywas selected due to how many times the behavior occurs through-out the day. Cooper, Heron, and Heward (2007)defined frequency as, a ratio of count per observation per standard unit oftime (e.g. per minute, per hour, per day) and calculated by dividing the numberof responses recorded by the number of standard units of time in whichobservations were conducted. ExperimentalDesign A multi-element experimentaldesign was used to display the results of the functional analysis.
Cooper, Heron, and Heward (2007)defined multi-element design as “an experimental design in which two or moreconditions (one of which may be a no treatment condition) are presented inrapidly alternating succession (e.g., on alternating sessions or days)independent on the level of responding; differences in responding between oramong conditions are attributed to the effects of the condition. The four conditions(alone, attention, demand and play) of the functional analysis were alternated.A functional relationship/ baseline logic is determined by looking at eachsuccessive data point. Each of the successive data points serves the roles ofprediction, verification, and replication.
Prediction is what the levels ofresponding would be if the intervention wasn’t implemented. Verificationdemonstrating that if the independent variable wasn’t introduced respondingwould have remained unchanged. Replication is shown by repeating andreintroducing the independent variable within the experiment to determine thereliability of effects and increase the internal validity.
InterobserverAgreementTwo observers will be presentduring the observations, one of the observers is the BCBA teacher and the leadteacher. 15 out of the 20 (75%) sessions were assessed using IOA and data willbe collected. The method that was used to calculate Interobserver agreementwill be total agreement. Themethod used to calculate Interobserver agreement was total count IOA. Cooper,Heron, and Heward (2007) defined total count as the total count recorded byeach of the observers per measurement period and the is calculated by dividing the smaller count by the largercount multiplied by 100. The mean scorewas 90% with a range from 75% to 100%. Staff collecting the IOA data weretrained for 5 sessions prior to collecting the IOA until 90% accuracy wasachieved. This ensures fidelity when collecting the IOA data.
ProcedureDescriptive Assessment. Prior to the functional analysis, adescriptive assessment was conducted to gather information about the possiblefunction/hypothesis of property destruction. Indirect and direct measures wereconducted during the assessment. Checklists and rating scales were completed byhis teachers and parent.
Direct observations as well as ABC Data was collected.The potential hypothesis for property destruction gathered from the indirectand direct methods was escape from demands. To test this hypothesis afunctional analysis will be conducted. Functional Analysis. The four conditions tested during thefunctional analysis were alone, attention, demand(escape), and Play. The procedure will alternate between the fourconditions in which the order of conditions were randomly determined. Therewill be 20 sessions in which the sessions will last for 20-minutes. Eachcondition will require its own session/ day.
During the alone condition, hewill be in the observation room with low levels of stimulation available i.e.there will be no staff present or toys present during this condition. Thiscondition is testing for deprivation of attention and tangibles. If theparticipant engages in property destruction during this condition theconsequence will be to either ignore the behavior or neutrally redirect himdepending on the level of severity.
If the levels of property destruction arehigh during this condition the behavior is producing its own reinforcement During the attention condition, theparticipant will have full access to preferred activities or toys, while histeacher and other staff members withhold attention from him and focus on theother students, grading papers, making lesson plans, etc. This condition istesting for deprivation of attention. If the participant engages in propertydestruction during this condition the consequence will be for the teacher togive him attention for 30-seconds, or give verbal reprimand. If the levels ofproperty destruction are high during this condition the behavior is beingmaintained by social positive reinforcement. During the demand condition, theteacher will provide the participant with a work demand. If the participantdoes not engage in the activity within 30-seconds of the teacher will use aleast-to-most prompt to engage the participant. If the participant engages inproperty destruction the consequence will be to immediately remove thedemand. If the levels of propertydestruction are high during this condition the behavior is maintained by escapefrom demand.
During the play (control) condition, the participant has fullaccess to preferred activities and toys, his teachers are providingnon-contingent social attention every 30-seconds, and no demands are in place.If the participant engages in property destruction the consequence will be to wait3-seconds, then give the participant attention. If levels of propertydestruction are high during this condition the problem behavior is beingmaintained by its own reinforcement. Results The results of the functional analysis were conclusive withthe hypothesis of function of behavior determined by the descriptiveassessment.
The results of both the descriptive assessment and functionalanalysis suggested that property destruction was maintained by escape fromdemands. The functional analysis tested each of the four conditions five times eachfor 20-sessions. The results are displayed in a multi-element design in figure1. Each condition has five data pointsto represent the frequency of property destruction during each session.
Thefrequency of property destruction during the alone condition ranged from 0instances to 2 instances. The frequency of property destruction attentioncondition ranged from 0 instances to 2 instances. The frequency of propertydestruction the play (control) condition ranged from 0 instances to 2 instances.The frequency of property destruction the demand(escape) condition ranged from12 instances to 15 instances.
The demand (escape) condition yieldedsignificantly higher instances of property destruction than any of the otherconditions. Discussion The outcomes of the functional Analysis were conclusive withthe descriptive assessment. The function/hypothesis of property destruction wasbeing maintained by escape from demand. During the escape condition thefrequency of property destruction was much higher than it was in any of theother conditions. The confounds/limitations to conducting a functional analysisis it is a time consuming assessment.
To prevent confounds and limitations of afunctional analysis it is important to first pick the correct functionalanalysis procedure for the participant, whether it is the brief-functionalanalysis or latency-based functional analysis. A treatment recommendation basedon the results of the functional analysis is to implement a non-contingentescape procedure to decrease the frequency of escape from work demands.