Date of Award

12-2018

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Applied Behavior Analysis: M.S.

Department

Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy

College

School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Michele Traub

Second Advisor

Benjamin Witts

Third Advisor

Kimberly Schulze

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Functional Communication Training, Chained Schedules, Schedule Thinning, Compliance, Feeding, Problem Behavior

Abstract

Functional communication training (FCT) is a popular intervention for reducing problematic behaviors and promoting communication for individuals with developmental disabilities. The present study investigated the application of a chained schedule arrangement to increase compliance for academic instruction and food acceptance within an FCT context for two individuals, and evaluated an expedient thinning procedure for achieving practical response rates. Participants were taught functionally communicative responses (FCRs) to replace problem behaviors. Demands were presented to either complete academic tasks or accept bites of food. Schedules were thinned to increase the number of demands presented per session. Results showed that for both participants, compliance for demands across both skill domains increased, and problem behavior decreased, relative to baseline. The schedule was successfully thinned and terminal criteria were met for one skill for each participant. Treatment effects were generalized to parents for one skill for each participant. Implications of the results are discussed.

Comments/Acknowledgements

I would like to thank my advisor and committee chairperson, Dr. Michele Traub. Your advice has been invaluable throughout this process and you have been an important source of positive reinforcement. I truly appreciate all the time you spent brainstorming and problem-solving with me, as well as reading my countless emails and drafts. I would also like to thank my committee members, Dr. Ben Witts and Dr. Kim Schulze, for your constructive feedback and assistance in realizing my goals. The skills I have developed under the guidance of the committee will no doubt carry forward and benefit me throughout my career.

I would like to thank Stephen Chinn, Joanna Chinn, and Sarah Gentile. Your roles as BCBAs and supervisors have been extremely influential to the work and to myself. I could not ask for better mentors and role models.

I would like to thank my parents and extended family. This work was made possible by your endless support and encouragement. Thank you for pushing me and continuing to help me reach my potential. Dad, thank you for instilling in me a thirst for knowledge, and a love for reading. Mom, thank you for supporting my ambitions and aspirations, no matter what they are.

Thank you to my friends for understanding my absence from the social arena in recent years, and for never failing to make me laugh.

Finally, I dedicate this thesis to my partner, Natasha. You have been with me every step of the way, keeping me grounded when I was up, and carrying me when I was down. You have made enormous sacrifices throughout this process, and have never hesitated to prioritize your support for me. Your love and loyalty is unwavering, and this accomplishment is possible because of you. Thank you.

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