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 Under the 1997 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, schools have a legal obligation to conduct functional behavior assessments (FBAs) when developing intervention plans for
students with disabilities whose behaviors lead their individualized education program teams to consider a change in educational placement, including suspension and expulsion. However, FBA also holds significant promise as a procedure to be used proactively with students with behavioral challenges who are educated in part, or wholly, in general education classrooms. Unfortunately,
current conceptualizations of FBA as a methodologically rigorous procedure pose significant and possibly insurmountable barriers to proactive implementation in general education settings. The authors analyze these barriers through a targeted review of the literature, an examination of how the characteristics of general education settings promote the use of less demanding FBA methodologies, and a consideration of situations in which certain FBA procedures generally are contraindicated. Finally, they advocate an active research agenda that is responsive to the particular challenges of public school settings and FBA students with and at risk for mild disabilities.

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In this study, written task analyses with self-monitoring were used to teach functional skills and verbal interactions to two high-functioning students with autism in social settings with peers. A social script language intervention was included in two of the activities to increase the quantity of verbal interaction between the students and peers. Analysis of the results leads to the conclusion that the intervention package increased independent task completion, peer-directed verbal interaction, and activity engagement for the students with autism during social, game, and cooking activities. Improvements in task
completion persisted after the written task analyses were faded. The percentage of intervals with appropriate language use remained consistent as the social scripts were faded during the game activities.

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This study comprised of two experiments was designed to teach complex social sequences to children with autism, Experimental control was achieved by collecting data using means of within-system design methodology. Across a number of conditions children were taken to a room to view one of the four short videos of two people engaging in a simple sequence of activities. Then, each child’s behavior was assessed in the same room. Results showed that this video modeling procedure enhanced the social initiation skills of all children. It also facilitated reciprocal play engagement and imitative responding of a sequence of behaviors, in which social initiation was not included. These behavior changes generalized across peers and maintained after 1- and 2- month follow-up period.
 

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We examined the effects of a video modeling intervention on social initiation and play behaviors with 3 children with autism using a multiple baseline across subjects design. Each child watched a videotape showing a typically developing peer, and the experimenter engaged in a simple social interactive play using one toy. For all children, social initiation and reciprocal play skills were enhanced, and these effects were maintained at 1- and 3- month follow-up periods.

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Many teachers have difficulty supporting students with challenging behavior. Students who shout out, are frequently off task, have a tantrum, or don’t follow directions can be disruptive and bring a teacher’s lesson to a halt. Other students may struggle to communicate their needs. As a result, these students may engage in challenging behavior to get what they want or to escape unpleasant environments or activities. Fortunately, there are evidenced-based practices for addressing challenging behavior. Some interventions help teachers stop problem behavior before it starts.

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Behavior analysts have implemented and evaluated several antecedent strategies for treating pediatric feeding problems. The extent to which antecedent interventions are beneficial, however, is not yet
clear. This review examines recent research in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (2000–2012) that evaluated antecedent interventions. We found that the feeding diagnosis (food refusal vs. food
selectivity) and presence of feeding-related medical conditions were related to the differential implementation of antecedent interventions.

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Functional analysis methodology focuses on the identification of variables that influence the occurrence of problem behavior and has become a hallmark of contemporary approaches to behavioral assessment. In light of the widespread use of pretreatment functional analyses in articles published in this and other journals, we reviewed the literature in an attempt to identify best practices and directions for future research. Studies included in the present review were those in which (a) a  retreatment assessment based on (b) direct observation and measurement of (c) problem behavior was conducted under (d) at least two conditions involving manipulation of an environmental variable in an attempt (e) to demonstrate a relation between the environmental event and behavior. Studies that met the criteria for inclusion were quantified and critically evaluated along a number of dimensions related to subject and setting characteristics, parametric and qualitative characteristics of the methodology, types of assessment conditions, experimental designs, topographies of problem behaviors, and the manner in which data were displayed and analyzed.

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It is generally agreed that serious misbehavior in children should be replaced with socially appropriate behaviors, but few guidelines exist with respect to choosing replacement behaviors. We
address this issue in two experiments. In Experiment 1, we developed an assessment method for identifying situations in which behavior problems, induding aggression, tantrums, and self-injury,
were most likely to occur. Results demonstrated that both low level of adult attention and high level of task difficulty were discriminative for misbehavior. In Experiment 2, the assessment data
were used to select replacements for misbehavior. Specifically, children were taught to solicit attention or assistance or both verbally from adults. This treatment, which involved the differential
reinforcement of functional communication, produced replicable suppression of behavior problems across four developmentally disabled children. The results were consistent with an hypothesis stating
that some child behavior problems may be viewed as a nonverbal means of communication. According to this hypothesis, behavior problems and verbal communicative acts, though differing
in form, may be equivalent in function. Therefore, strengthening the latter should weaken the former.

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This study describes the use of an operant methodology to assess functional relationships between self-injury and specific environmental events. The self-injurious behaviors of nine developmentally
disabled subjects were observed during periods of brief, repeated exposure to a series of analogue conditions. Each condition differed along one or more of the following dimensions: (1) play materials (present vs absent), (2) experimenter demands (high vs low), and (3) social attention (absent vs noncontingent vs contingent). Results showed a great deal of both between and within-subject
variability. However, in six of the nine subjects, higher levels of self-injury were consistently associated with a specific stimulus  condition, suggesting that within-subject variability was a function of
distinct features of the social and/or physical environment. These data are discussed in light of previously suggested hypotheses for the motivation of self-injury, with particular emphasis on their implications for the selection of suitable treatments.

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The least-restrictive-alternative guideline for providing treatment emphasizes the use of non-aversive procedures to reduce maladaptive behaviors in individuals with intellectual disability (ID). Differential reinforcement (DR) is an excellent example of such a non-aversive, reinforcement based behavioral intervention. The purpose of this literature review was to summarize and provide a methodological analysis of studies, conducted between 1980 and 2009, using a DR contingency to reduce problem behaviors in adults with ID. A total of 31 studies were located that met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 15 reported DR to be an effective intervention when used independently. Of the remaining, 10 studies found DR to be useful as part of a treatment package, and six found a DR contingency used independently to be ineffective, and only observed treatment effects when an aversive component was added. Very few studies assessed the use of DR in older adults and in individuals with mild ID; these reflect areas of future research. A methodological analysis found that several studies did not report information on key methodological variables; for example, conducting a functional analysis and a stimulus preference assessment to guide choice of treatment and reinforcers, thinning very dense DR schedules, assessing collateral behaviors, generalization of behavior change across settings and implementers, and following up treatment outcomes over time. The overall positive findings about the effectiveness of DR are encouraging; however, more methodologically robust studies would serve to make such findings more conclusive and practically relevant for implementation in natural settings for adults with ID.

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Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) is one of the most common behavior analytic interventions used to decrease unwanted behavior. We reviewed the DRA literature from the past 30 years to identify the aspects that are thoroughly researched and those that would benefit from further emphasis. We found and coded 116 empirical studies that used DRA, later grouping them into categories that met APA Division 12 Task Force criteria. We found that DRA has been successful at reducing behaviors on a continuum from relatively minor problems like prelinguistic communication to life-threatening failure to thrive. DRA with and without extinction is well established for treating destructive behavior of those with developmental disabilities, and to combat food refusal.

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