Functional Communication Training using Concurrent and Chained Schedules of Reinforcement in Public Elementary School Classrooms
Torelli, Jessica N
Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) frequently engage in escape-maintained problem behavior, which can limit their access to academic instruction and lead to placement in more restrictive educational settings. While there are function-based interventions to treat escape-maintained problem behavior, these interventions have primarily been evaluated in clinic settings using procedures, such as extinction, that are not feasible for teachers to implement in classroom settings. The goal of this study was to evaluate a multi-component intervention that did not include extinction to treat escape-maintained problem behavior for two children with IDD. Functional analyses indicated each participant’s problem behavior was maintained by multiple sources of reinforcement, including escape. Functional communication training + concurrent schedules reduced problem behavior for one of two participants and increased functional communicative responses for both participants. Chained schedules were implemented with one participant; results showed work completion and some types of functional communicative responses came under stimulus control, but rates of problem behavior showed an increasing trend. While I was unable to fully address the research questions, results suggest continued evaluation of chained and concurrent schedules following FCT is warranted. In future studies, I plan to evaluate methods for addressing multiply maintained problem behavior using FCT and chained schedules. These methods might include individualizing manipulations of reinforcement parameters and altering the sequence in which functions of problem behavior are addressed.