One of the specific assessment measures that were applied in this study includes the attention condition. In this assessment measure, the participant was presented with leisure activities and work materials. The paraprofessional denied the participant attention by reading a book with the back turned to him. Unless tantrum behavior was demonstrated by the participant, the paraprofessional continued to deny him attention. In an instance where the participant demonstrated tantrum behavior, the paraprofessional gave a reprimand (Mueller & Sterling-Turner, 2005).
The other specific measure used was he escape condition where the paraprofessional gave task demands involving handwriting activities. A procedure containing three prompts which included the gestural, verbal and physical prompts was designed. In the case the tantrum behavior was demonstrated, the professional was tasked with removing the task materials and turning away from the participant for twenty seconds. After the period of twenty seconds, the paraprofessional gave another task demand (Mueller & Sterling-Turner, 2005).
The third specific assessment measure used in the study was the control condition. In this measure, the participant was left in the play area on the floor and had access to leisure material and attention without any contingencies. The paraprofessional was tasked with engaging the participant in the typical play activities. These specific measures were used in order to determine the effect of attention and the withdrawal of attention on the participant. Through these specific measures, the researcher was able to determine how the escape and attention conditions compared to the control condition (Mueller & Sterling-Turner, 2005).
Using the specific measures, the researcher found that the tantrum behavior as only demonstrated by the participant in the escape condition. In the escape-to-attention condition, the participant showed a significantly higher proportion of intervals where problem behavior was demonstrated when compared to the control condition (Mueller & Sterling-Turner, 2005).
There was only one participant in this study, a six-year-old boy called Bob. This boy was diagnosed with autism. The attended both general and special education classes at the kindergarten level. The boy attends a public school which is located in a rural county which is native to a southeastern state (Mueller & Sterling-Turner, 2005).
Type of IOA
The study calculated the procedural integrity estimates in order to determine the procedural integrity of the data collected. This was achieved through the assessment of the data sheets which were used during the analysis and the calculation of the frequency in which a specific consequence was recorded as it was intended. A procedural integrity estimate of 100% was used (Mueller & Sterling-Turner, 2005).
Type of Design Used
The study employs the reversal design. This is a single-case design where the researcher examines the effect that treatment has in a behavior using a single participant. This is done by measuring the participant’s behavior repeatedly during the initial phase, commonly known as the baseline phase (Mueller & Sterling-Turner, 2005).
Two people were used predominantly in this study. A behavioral consultant who was based in the rural public school in which the participant studied was used to collect the data about Bob. The analysis of the data collected by the behavioral consultant was conducted by a paraprofessional (Mueller & Sterling-Turner, 2005).
Weaknesses of the Study
One of the weaknesses of the study is that there was only one participant recruited for the study. This affects the credibility of the results. In fact, the results can only be referred as tentative, and as such cannot be generalized to other populations. Additionally, the design used by the consultant was not aimed at evaluating a set of research questions. The fact that there were no multiple observers means that any bias of the consultant is propagated into the results (Mueller & Sterling-Turner, 2005)
The results showed that the tantrum behavior in the participant was only shown in the escape condition. In the escape-to-attention condition, the participant showed a significantly higher proportion of intervals where problem behavior was demonstrated when compared to the control condition (Mueller & Sterling-Turner, 2005).
Applying the Study
In applying this study to a client, I would ensure more participants and observers in order to generate more results that have more significance that the tentative purpose of this study (Mueller & Sterling-Turner, 2005).
The measure used in this measure is part of an indirect assessment used in the functional behavior analysis. More precisely, the measure is the motivation assessment scale, a variant of rating skills. This measure has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages is that the measure is easy to use, very efficient and also a good starting point. Its relative ease of use and its efficiency is particularly important during the data collection phase (Virues-Ortega et al., 2011).
As a starting point, the measure is very important when collecting tentative information that can serve as a baseline upon which the results at the endpoint can be compared. Even with these advantages, the motivation assessment scale has some inherent disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is that the accuracy and reliability of the motivation assessment scale are a bit questionable. This disadvantage is very significant, especially when this measure is used as part of a study (Spielberger, 2004).
Another indirect assessment that can be used is the use of interviews. This method entails collecting subjective verbal reports regarding the behavior of the participant under naturalistic conditions. This indirect method can be used to assess the source of reinforcement for a particular behavior. This is achieved by asking the people who are a constant in the life of the participant their thoughts on the probable function of the behavior. Through interviews, one can assess the consequences, behaviors, events, settings and antecedents to the challenging behavior (Spielberger, 2004).
Some of the individuals to whom this indirect method can be used include parents, teachers, instructional aides as well as the students who share a class with the participants. While interviewing the students gives insights into the challenging behavior, the input of the student is excluded from the analysis process (Spielberger, 2004).
Mueller, M., & Sterling-Turner, H. (2005). Towards developing a classroom-based functional analysis condition to assess escape-to-attention as a variable maintaining problem behavior. School Psychology Review, 34: 425-431
Spielberger, C. D. (2004). Encyclopedia of applied psychology: Volume 1. Oxford: Academic.
Virues-Ortega, J., Segui-Duran, D., Descalzo, A., Carnerero, J. and Martin, N. (2011). Caregivers’ agreement and validity of indirect functional analysis: A cross cultural evaluation across multiple problem behavior topographies, Journal of Autism Development Disorder, 41: 82-91