WS Hanley 2018. - Part 1
WS Hanley 2018.
Part 1
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Part 1


Behavioral intervention can be effective for addressing problem behavior like meltdowns, self-injury, and aggression, especially when a functional assessment of the problem is conducted to determine why the problem behavior is occurring. A number of myths regarding the functional assessment process, which appear to be pervasive within different research and practice communities, will be reviewed in the context of a series of empirical evaluations demonstrating the effectiveness and social validation of a particular functional assessment process. Through lecture, interactive discussion, role play, and authentic application, attendees should be able to conduct interviews to discover reinforcement contingencies that may be influencing problem behavior and then design and implement safe, fast, and effective functional analyses from the interviews to determine the legitimacy of suspected reinforcement contingencies. An iterative interview/analysis process will also be reviewed for situations in which initial analyses do not yield sufficient information to proceed to treatment.



1. An attendee should be able to describe the conditions under which the different types of functional assessment (closed and open-ended indirect assessments, formal and informal descriptive assessments, functional analyses) should and should not be used when attempting to understand why problem behavior is occurring.

2. An attendee will be able to describe multiple tactics to improve the safety and efficiency of the functional assessment process, especially the functional analysis part of the process.

3. An attendee should be able to describe the primary objectives of an open-ended functional assessment interview and the interview tactics for achieving these objectives.

4. An attendee will be able to describe various tactics for efficiently determining whether different topographies of problem behavior are influenced by the same reinforcing contingency.

5. Given the results of an open-ended interview, the attendee should be able to design an efficient, individualized (non-standardized) and synthesized functional analysis.

6. Given an undifferentiated initial analysis, the attendee should be able to describe different tactics allowing for the successful redesign of the analysis.


Relevant Readings:

Hanley, G. P. (2012). Functional assessment of problem behavior: Dispelling myths, overcoming implementation obstacles, and developing new lore. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 5, 54-72.

Hanley, G. P., Jin, C. S., Vanselow, N. R., & Hanratty, L. A. (2014). Producing meaningful improvements in problem behavior of children with autism via synthesized analyses and treatments. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47, 16-36.

Jessel, J., Hanley, G. P., & Ghaemmaghami, M. (2016). Interview-informed synthesized contingency analyses: Thirty replications and reanalysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/jaba.316

Santiago, J. L., Hanley, G. P., Moore, K., & Jin, C. S. (2016). The generality of interview-informed functional analyses: Systematic replications in school and home. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46, 797-811.

Slaton, J. & Hanley, G. P., Raftery, K. (2017). Interview-informed functional analyses: A comparison of synthesized and isolated variables. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Strand R. C. W., Eldevik S. (2017). Improvements in problem behavior in a child with autism spectrum diagnosis through synthesized analysis and treatment: A replication in an EIBI home program. Behavioral Interventions, 1–10.