J Appl Behav Anal 1999 ;32(4):495-513
School Psychology Program, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611-7047, USA.
We evaluated a methodology for identifying the range of stimulus features of antecedent stimuli associated with aberrant behavior in demand contexts in natural settings. For each participant, an experimental analysis of antecedents (Phase 1) was conducted to confirm the hypothesis that task instructions occasioned increases in aberrant behavior. During Phase 2, specific stimulus features associated with the presentation of task instructions were assessed by evaluating the child's behavior across two distinct settings, therapists, and types of tasks in a sequential fashion. Aberrant behavior occurred immediately across settings and therapists, presumably because the presence of a discriminative stimulus for escape-maintained behavior (the delivery of a task instruction) occasioned aberrant behavior. However, aberrant behavior decreased initially across tasks, suggesting that familiarity with the task might be a variable. During Phase 3, an experimental (functional) analysis of consequences was conducted with 2 participants to verify that aberrant behavior was maintained by negative reinforcement. During Phase 4, a treatment package that interspersed play with task instructions was conducted to disrupt the ongoing occurrence of aberrant behavior. Immediate and durable treatment effects occurred for 2 of the 3 participants.