Functional Assessment Model

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The Functional Assessment Model
The functional assessment model offers a blueprint for therapists in the selection of operant interventions that are based on prior assessment information and conceptualization of a client's problem. Miltenberger (2004) describes how to deal with problem behaviors through a step-by-step functional assessment and treatment program: 1. The first step is to conduct a functional assessment to gather data about the antecedents and consequences that are functionally related to the occurrence of problematic behaviors. 2. To conduct a functional assessment, both indirect methods (behavioral interviews or questionnaires to gather information about the problem behavior) and direct observation methods are used. A functional assessment yields information about antecedent events, including the time and place of the behavior and the people present when the behavior occurs. 3. Based on the information gathered from the functional assessment, the therapist develops hypotheses about the nature of the problem behavior and the conditions contributing to this behavior. 4. Once the different functions of problem behaviors are identified, functional treatments are devised to address the antecedents and consequences hypothesized to be maintaining the problem behaviors. Functional treatments include the following techniques: * Differential reinforcement of desirable behaviors to replace problem behaviors, which may include both positive and negative reinforcement procedures * Extinction of problem behaviors by withholding the reinforcers (identified in the functional assessment process) found to be maintaining the problem * Antecedent control procedures in which antecedents are manipulated in an attempt to prevent the occurrence of problem behaviors and to promote desirable alternative behaviors to replace the problem behaviors 1. Negative punishment procedures may be used to decrease problem behaviors, but only after the...
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