Effectiveness of functional communication training paired with a chained schedule of reinforcement in the reduction of challenging behavior
[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] To best meet the needs of elementary-aged students with Autism Spectrum Disorder who engage in challenging behaviors in the classroom, identifying a practical and feasible function-based intervention to both reduce problem behaviors and increase appropriate behaviors is optimal (Koegel, Matos-Freden, Lang and Koegel, 2012). The purpose of the current study is to extend previous research suggesting that Functional Communication Training (FCT) is an effective intervention to increase appropriate communication responses, and in turn decrease instances of problem behavior, when it is integrated with a chained schedule of reinforcement and programmed schedule-thinning (Zangrillo, Fisher, Greer, Owen, DeSouza, 2016). In addition to assessing intervention effectiveness and feasibility of teacher implementation, this study also assesses the extent to which applying mitigating strategies throughout the intervention would impact the likelihood of treatment relapse (Mace et al., 2010). Findings suggest that challenging behavior decreased throughout intervention, and functional communication and time on-task increased. Additionally, the data suggest that relapse did not occur. Implications for practice in the classroom are discussed.
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