Date of Award

Spring 3-19-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

L. Juane Heflin, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Second Advisor

Miles A. Irving, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Kristine Jolivette, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Elizabeth A. Steed, Ph.D.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

TECHNICAL AND APPLIED FEATURES OF FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENTS AND BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION PLANS

by

Shannon M. Hawkins

When conducted correctly, functional behavior assessments (FBAs) can help professionals intervene with problem behavior using function-based interventions. Despite the fact that researchers have shown that effective interventions are based on function, recent investigators have found that most behavioral intervention plans (BIPs) are written without regard to the function of students’ problem behaviors as documented in their FBAs. This study was conducted to examine the overall technical adequacy of FBAs and BIPs within one educational system to evaluate reliance on the outcomes of FBAs in the development of BIPs. The technical and applied features of a randomly selected sample of 134 FBA/BIPs of students with disabilities, ages 3-21 years, who were receiving services due to their severe emotional and behavioral disorders (SEBD) or autism spectrum disorders (ASD) within the Georgia Network of Educational and Therapeutic Services (GNETS) were analyzed. In addition, similarities and differences between function-based strategies specified in BIPs were examined. Logistic regression was used to reveal the probability that a given behavioral function can predict which intervention(s) might be chosen. A series of chi-square tests of independence and a multinomial logistic regression model were used to examine how BIP component variables, demographic variables, behavioral function variables, and behavioral intervention variables related to each other statistically. Components described as critical in research literature for conducting FBAs and developing BIPs were absent from a significant number of the student files. Results suggest few of the prescribed interventions were likely to be related to function. The findings extend research on FBAs and BIPs, particularly as they are used with students with SEBD and autism, documenting that a significant number of BIPs are developed without regard of the function of the problem behavior.

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