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Volume 30, Issue 4 (2001)

Descriptive Assessment Method to Reduce Overall Disruptive Behavior in a Preschool Classroom

pp. 548—567

Abstract. Legal mandate and limited resources provide an impetus to increase the utility of functional assessment. Studies have demonstrated the utility of descriptive analysis-based interventions on an individual level (Lalli, Browder, Mace, & Brown, 1993; Mace & Lalli, 1991). The goal of this study was to develop a brief assessment that could be conducted in the natural setting to identify naturally occurring,high-frequency subsequent events that may serve as maintaining consequences for disruptive behavior using the entire class as the unit of analysis. Procedures were conducted in two early childhood classrooms during regularly scheduled classroom activities. Descriptive analyses were conducted by rotating among students every 90 s. Conditional probabilities from the aggregate class data were calculated to identify the most frequently occurring subsequent event(s) for disruptive behavior in each classroom. Following the descriptive analysis, the identified subsequent event was manipulated in an alternating treatments design (contingent delivery of the subsequent event and contingent withholding of the subsequent event) to validate the results of the descriptive analysis. In both classrooms,the descriptive analysis-based contingency reversal treatment more successfully suppressed disruptive behavior than a contraindicated treatment.

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