Chad’s Functional Assessment Report

Running head: CHAD’S FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT REPORT 1

CHAD’S FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT REPORT 9

Chad’s Functional Assessment Report

Introduction

Behavior analysts use a functional assessment to identify specific targeted behavior, the function of the behavior, and what factors maintain a behavior (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2020). A functional assessment includes indirect and direct assessments to collect information and data on the identified targeted behaviors. Indirect assessments are gathering information through interviews, questionnaires, rating scales, and checklists, and direct assessments are direct observations for collecting antecedent, behavior, and consequence data to identify the function of the behavior (Chandler & Dahlquist, 2015). Once a behavior analyst establishes a hypothesis for the function of the targeted behavior, a functional analysis (FA) is conducted to manipulate events to prove why the behavior is occurring. Functions of behavior can either be attention-seeking, escape/avoidance, access to tangible items, or sensory stimulation. This paper is a functional assessment report that will discuss the antecedent, behavior, and consequence (ABC) data, the hypothesis, the FA conditions, and the type of results expected from the FA for an eight-year-old boy named Chad.

Summary of Chad’s Case

Chad is diagnosed with a seizure disorder, speech and language disorder, and emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD), and receives speech and language therapy, social work, occupational therapy, one-aide-to-two children assistance, and small-group instruction from a resource teacher (Chandler & Dahlquist, 2015). Chad does have many strengths, such as good social skills with adults, willingness to work with his peers in small groups, fine-motor writing skills, and a desire to do well. Chad’s behaviors included shouting to the teacher, tapping a pencil, and falling out of his chair to gain the attention of his teacher. The teacher said he was exhibiting oppositional and noncompliance behavior, poor social skills, disruptive behavior, and does not attend well to academic tasks (Chandler & Dahlquist, 2015). Chad’s teacher has requested to have a functional assessment conducted for the increase of his noncompliance behavior, oppositional behavior, and disruptive behavior he exhibits.

For a hypothesis to be established for the function of Chad’s behavior, the team will first identify contingencies through direct observations of setting events, antecedents, and consequences for his challenging behavior and appropriate behavior. The collected ABC data identified consistent antecedents that happened before his disruptive behavior. Every time the teacher left Chad’s desk or gave whole group instructions, Chad engaged in disruptive behavior such as shouting and falling out of his chair. When Chad is getting some form of attention from a small group, or demands from a teacher explicitly directed at him, Chad engages in appropriate cooperative behavior. The consistent consequence of Chad’s disruptive and appropriate behavior is attention from the teacher either in the form of reprimands or praise.

Analyzing the ABC data collection of Chad’s behavior, it is hypothesized the function of Chad’s disruptive behavior (shouting, falling out of his chair, tapping pencil, and blurting out) is positive reinforcement through teacher attention. The teacher’s attention maintains the appropriate behavior Chad exhibits. Attention seeking behavior is seeking attention from others by engaging in challenging behaviors, which is what Chad exhibits within the classroom environment (Cooper et al., 2020).

Hypothesis Justification

From the ABC data obtained through the observation, it is hypothesized that the function of Chad’s behavior is positive reinforcement through teacher attention. His behaviors are maintained by the attention he gets from the teacher after he exhibits disruptive behavior. Chad’s behavior of whining and blurting out starts in the morning during morning calendar activities, which the teacher gives him the attention to tell him to use second-grade voice and wait for his turn while raising his hand (Chandler and Dahlquist, 2015). Attention was given for both disruptive behavior and compliance behaviors. Chad was told to raise his hand, he raised his hand, and the teacher gave him attention by praising him for raising his hand and giving him a turn (Chandler and Dahlquist, 2015). All the behavior listed in the ABC data resulted in consequence of getting the teacher’s attention. An FA will determine the specific function of Chad’s behavior by testing conditions through the manipulation of antecedents and consequences for Chad’s behaviors. Based on the results from the FA, a function-based intervention would be created to address the function of Chad’s behavior.

Functional Analysis Conditions

An FA is an assessment that tests the conditions of escape/avoidance, attention-seeking, sensory stimulation, and access to tangibles to identify the functional relationship between a behavior and the environmental variables (Cooper et al., 2020). An FA tests the hypothesis of the function of behavior that was established from the functional assessment. In the case of Chad, the functional assessment hypothesized positive reinforcement through attention was the function of Chad’s behavior. A trial-based FA would be an effective FA to use to verify the function of Chad’s disruptive and compliance behavior. A trial-based FA is a series of trials, each consisting of two components (test condition and control condition) spread throughout a student’s school day using (Ruiz & Kubina, 2017). A test condition includes introducing the establishing operation and contingencies for the problem behavior, and a controlled condition removes the manipulation of contingencies included in the test trial (Fahmid, Iwata, Querim, & Harper, 2013). The trial-based FA procedure for Chad’s case would include direct observation, ABC recording, and an interobserver agreement (IOA) data collection from the behavior analyst and classroom teacher. An IOA is when two or more observers collect and report the same observed data after collecting data on the same event (Cooper et al., 2020). First off, the teacher would have to be taught how to collect the data to complete the IOA procedure. The direct observations would be conducted throughout the school day in Chad’s natural environment.

Using a trial-based FA to test the hypotheses of Chad’s behavior, the trials would include an attention trial with a test and control condition, and a demand (escape) trial with a test and control condition, equaling four conditions. Attention trial would be included because the ABC data collected during the functional assessment identified that when Chad exhibits challenging behaviors, he is positively reinforced with attention from the teacher. A demand trial would be included because the teacher said that he does not attend well to tasks, which means he could be trying to avoid doing the assigned tasks.

During the test trial for the attention-seeking condition, the teacher would give the group instructions and only provide Chad with the attention of reprimanding him if the disruptive behavior occurred for only ten seconds then the trial ended. For example, the teacher gives group attention (antecedent), Chad whines and blurts out (behavior), which immediately leads the teacher to remind him to use a second-grade voice and raise his hand (consequence). The test trial is followed by an attention control trial where Chad would be given teacher attention delivered every five seconds for one minute without any demands placed on Chad, but the attention would be removed if Chad exhibits disruptive behavior during the control trial. For example, the teacher is given Chad her full attention helping him on task, but if Chad exhibits disruptive behavior, then the teacher would remove themselves. The test and control conditions would be conducted five times for the attention condition. If the behavior occurs most frequently during the test trial of attention condition, then it would be evident that Chad’s behavior is maintained by attention.

For the demand condition, an escape test trial would consist of the teacher presenting Chad with demands, and if the disruptive behavior occurs, the demands will stop for ten seconds. For example, the teacher tells Chad to complete his work (antecedent), Chad taps his pencil and is not on task (behavior), the demands stop immediately after he exhibits the targeted behavior for ten seconds. The test trial is followed by an escape control trial where the teacher provided Chad with a one-minute break with no attention and demands. If Chad exhibits the targeted behavior during the escape/avoidance control trial, then whatever he is engaged in during that free time would be removed. For example, if chad was playing a game on an iPad during the escape control trial and he exhibits shouting because he lost the game, his free time would end as soon as the shouting occurred. The test and control trials would be conducted five times for the escape/avoidance conditions. If the targeted behavior occurs most frequently during the escape/avoidance test trail, then it would be evident that Chad’s behavior is maintained by escape/avoidance.

After the trial-based FA trials were conducted, the teacher and behavior analyst would compare data (IOA) of all trials to determine which function maintains Chad’s behavior. If the targeted behaviors occurred more frequently in the test condition for the attention trial compared to the targeted behaviors occurring during the test trial of escape/avoidance condition, then Chad’s behavior is maintained by attention. Vice versa, if Chad’s behavior occurred most frequently during the test trial of escape/avoidance condition compared to the targeted behavior occurring in the test trial for attention-seeking condition, then it is evident Chad’s behavior is maintained by escape/avoidance.

Functional Analysis Predicted Results

Hypothetically, the trial-based FA conducted to address Chad’s targeted behaviors would indicate that Chad’s behaviors are maintained by attention. Chad seeks attention from the teacher and engages in these behaviors to get the teacher’s attention. Hypothetically, Chad’s behaviors were not maintained by escaping/avoiding tasks because as soon as he would get the teacher’s attention, he would get back on task. Below is the hypothetical graph that demonstrates the expected results based on the IOA data collection during the trial-based FA procedure.

Figure 1. Trial-based FA results on the frequency of Chad’s targeted behavior occurring during the attention test and

control conditions and escape/avoidance tests and control conditions.

The hypothetical graph indicates that the function of Chad’s behavior is maintained by attention. Chad showed near to no behaviors during the control trial of the attention condition, and near to no targeted behavior occurring during the test and control trials of the escape/avoidance conditions. This graph also coincides with the ABC data provided in Chandler and Dahlquist’s (2015) textbook, as most of his behaviors were socially positively reinforced with the teacher giving him attention. Even when he was taping his pencil and making noises and not on task, the teacher walked over to his desk and told him to keep working. Based on the ABC data and the trial-based FA results, the function of Chad’s targeted behavior is attention-seeking. With these results, a functional-based intervention could be created and implemented to decrease his behaviors.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a functional assessment would be ideal for conducting on the challenging behaviors Chad exhibits. A functional assessment will identify the potential functions of Chad’s behavior, but a functional analysis will specify precisely the function of his behavior by implementing different conditions. The functional assessment indicated that the function of Chad’s behavior could be either attention-seeking or escape/avoidance. After conducting a hypothetical trial-based FA, the results indicated that the function of Chad’s behavior was attention-seeking. A functional-based intervention could be created based on the results from the trial-based FA for addressing Chad’s behavior that is maintained by attention.

References

Chandler, L. K., Dahlquist, C. M. (2015). Functional Assessment: Strategies to Prevent and Remediate Challenging Behavior in School Settings. [Capella]. Retrieved from https://capella.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781323000779/

Cooper, J.O., Heron, T.E., & Heward, W.L. (2020). Applied behavior analysis. (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.

Fahmie, T. A., Iwata, B. A., Querim, A. C., & Harper, J. M. (2013). Test‐specific control conditions for functional analyses. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 46(1), 61-70. doi:10.1002/jaba.9

Ruiz, S., & Kubina, R. M., Jr. (2017). Impact of trial-based functional analysis on challenging behavior and training: A review of the literature. Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice, 17(4), 347–356. https://doi-org.library.capella.edu/10.1037/bar0000079