The use of functional assessment and analysis to accelerate the social communication targets of children with severe multiple disabilities at home and school
Larson, Mark James, 1953-
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A hypothesis-driven functional assessment and analysis procedure was used to examine target communication behaviors of four preschool-age children with severe and multiple disabilities within the contexts of their homes. Parent reports and subsequent observations indicated that the children communicated more in their home than in their school during similar activities. Both parents and school personnel were unable to explain this discrepancy in the children's communication behaviors. The functional assessment activities included structured interviews, event-recording observations of six communication forms, and tape recorded transcriptions of sustained communication exchanges between children and parents during daily activities in the home. Examination of long versus short exchanges were used to develop hypotheses with relevant condition variables and values of adult language and context associated with occurrences of their child's communication behaviors. Two hypotheses were developed with parents: One predicted increases and the other decreases of their child's communication behaviors during activities in the home. Functional analysis analog test procedures simulated daily activities with a single-case withdrawal design in order to evaluate the validity of each hypothesis. Adult communication partners during analog tests included family members for two children; and the same non-family member was a partner for three children. Interview and observation results indicated that parents were usually able to predict their child's general communication responding during daily activities in the home. The analog test results indicated in that for three of the children their parents were able to identify relevant condition variables and values associated with increases and decreases in their child's general communication responding. However, hypotheses developed with the parents of one child resulted in opposite rates of child communication behaviors than predicted.Family members shared results with their child's classroom teacher. Individual interviews with teachers and family members were completed to assess the usefulness of the functional assessment and analysis results to inform the design of interventions aimed to accelerate the child's social communication behaviors in the school and in the home. Parents reported that the functional assessment and analysis procedures and results helped them to explain and describe their child's general communication abilities in exchanges for others to replicate. Teachers reported that the procedures and results needed to be more clearly connected with socially valued intervention outcomes. Specifically, results were desired that describe functional relationships between condition variables and values and specific child communication forms such as speech or those from an augmentative or alternative communication system.
- Education - Seattle