Eileen M. Roscoe
Richard B. Graff, William V. Dube
Date of Award
Master of Applied Behavior Analysis
Department or Academic Unit
Bouvé College of Health Sciences. Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology.
psychology, behavioral, current practices, functional assessment, Function-based assessment, survey
People with disabilities - Functional assessment
There has been an emphasis placed on conducting function-based assessments (FBA) prior to selecting treatment for challenging behaviors for individuals with developmental disabilities (IDD). Research has demonstrated that treatment that first identifies the function of behavior is more effective for reducing challenging behavior than treatment not based on FBAs. There is little information regarding whether the practitioners responsible for behavior modification are employing FBA in applied settings. The purpose of the current study was to distribute a survey to assess the degree to which FBA are implemented in agencies serving IDD in the state of Massachusetts. The survey asked practitioners to indicate their perception about and use of the various categories of functional assessment (e.g., indirect assessment [IA], descriptive analysis, and functional analysis [FA]). From the 275 responses, the most frequently used FBA was descriptive assessments, which involves direct observation of behavior but no manipulation of environmental events. Results suggest that even though the majority (68.2%) of practitioners believe FA to be the more informative assessment tool for selecting behavioral treatment, only 26.1% of respondents indicate that they typically use FA (alone or in combination with IA or DA) to inform the development of a behavior plan. Board certified behavior analysts (BCBA) were no more likely to use FAs than were individuals without BCBA-certification. In fact, contrary to published research questioning the validity of DA for identifying function, 52.8% of BCBAs believe that descriptive assessments alone are sufficient for determining behavior function. Barriers to conducting FAs are discussed.
Katurri M. Phillips
Phillips, Katurri M., "Assessing the use of function based assessments in Massachusetts among professionals working with individuals with developmental disabilities" (2011). Applied Behavioral Analysis Master's Theses. Paper 72. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20001176
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