Chapter 23.docx

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University of Guelph
Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 3150
Michelle Preyde

Chapter 23 Functional Assessment of the Causes of Problem Behavior 4/18/2013 8:14:00 PM Functional Assessment Procedures Functional Assessment: variety of procedures for attempting to identify antecedents and consequences for problem behaviors and controlling these variables: 1. Questionnaire Assessment: -administering a questionnaire with series of questions that people familiar with the client are asked 2. Observational Assessment -Observational assessor observes/described the antecedents and immediate consequences of the problem behavior in its natural settings -Forms hypotheses about antecedent stimuli, motivational variable’s, and consequences controlled the problem behavior -Treatment plan is devised and implemented -If treatment is successful, the descriptive analysis is validated 3. Functional Analysis -Systematic manipulation of environmental events to experimentally test their role as antecedents or as consequences in controlling and maintaining specific problem behaviors Experimental functional assessment: therapist assesses the effects of potential controlling variables on the problem behavior  Eg. Susi with developmental disabilities that banged her head and slapped her face was referred to therapy Attention condition: approaching client and voice concern following instances of self-abuse  Eg. “Oh Susie, What is wrong?” Demand Condition: therapist presents educational tasks at a rate of one every 30 seconds Results: Susie was self-abusive in the demand condition but was rarely self-abusive in other two conditions  Treatment program designed where the self-injurious escape behavior was extinguished b y continued the demand when Susie engaged in self- abuse  Instead of backing off following self-abuse, therapist physically guided her to complete the educational activities o Self-abuse decreased to 0 Limitations of functional analysis 1. Many behavior problems occur at frequencies of less than one per day  functional analysis for such low-frequency behaviors require great deal of time 2. Functional analysis cannot be applied to extremely dangerous behaviors (suicide threats) 3. Expense and personnel requirements might be prohibitive Major Causes of Problem Behaviors Divided into 2 categories:  1. Operant and respondent  2. Elicited Problem Behaviors Maintained by Social Positive Reinforcement -Behavioral excesses often are developed and maintained by the social attention they evoke -Indicator’s that attention maintains the behavior include  a) whether attention reliably follows the behavior  b) whether the person looks at or approaches a caregiver just before engaging in the behavior  c) whether the person smiles just before engaging in the behavior -If functional analysis indicates that attention maintains the behavior, treatment involving social reinforcement is recommended  Eg. therapist devises a treatment using attention when the person is not engaging in the problem behavior or is engaging in some behavior that is incompatible with it o Goal is to eliminate the undesirable behavior Problem Behaviors Maintained by Self-Stimulatory Positive Reinforcement Self-Stimulation: behaviors are reinforced by the sensory stimulation they produce, and is said to be self-reinforcing  Eg. massaging ones scalp produces an enjoyable sensation, but for people with intellectual disabilities, this type of consequence might maintain extreme self-stimulatory behavior (body rocking, hand flipping, self- injuries) -Reinforcers for such behavior include sensory or perceptual feedback (visual patterns, repetitive sounds) -Self-reinforcing indicator- behavior continues persistent at a steady rate although it has no apparent effect on other people or the external environment Eg. Case of Face Scratching - illustrates functional analysis and treatment of a problem behavior maintained by sensory stimulation  4 year old child with intellectual disability scratched her face when smiling, upset, interacting with others, alone and wheter or not demands were placed on her  Behavior appeared to be maintained by self-stimulation reinforcement and NOT social reinforcement  Treatment- extinction of scratching by eliminating the tactile sensations that the scratching produced (rubber gloves) Problem Behaviors Maintained by Nonsocial External Sensory Positive Reinforcement -Some problem behavior is maintained by reinforcing sights and sounds from the nonsocial external environment -Eg. child who throws toys enjoys loud noises when the
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