Function-based social skills and replacement behavior interventions for students with challenging behavior
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Students with persistent challenging behaviors are associated with negative school, community, and transition outcomes. The presence of challenging behavior is due in part to social skills deficits that are in need of remediation. Although social skills interventions are commonly provided to this student population, they are often ineffective at promoting behavior generalization and maintenance, which is necessary for improving social outcomes and developing social competency. Social skills interventions also fail to consider the individual characteristics of social skills deficits when they are conceptualized. Function-based social skills and replacement behavior interventions may be effective at addressing these concerns. This dissertation study investigated the effects of function-based social skills and replacement behavior interventions on the problem behavior of three students who attended a public elementary school in rural Central Texas. Results show an experimental effect for two of the three participants when observation data on challenging behaviors for baseline and treatment phases were compared. Generalization of behavior change was also measured for all three participants, with analysis of observation data indicating a positive effect for two of the three participants. vi Maintenance of behavior change was strong for two participants. The limited effectiveness of the intervention for one participant may be explained in part by the absence of intervention components that may have been critical to student success. Lower levels of implementation fidelity also may explain the limited effectiveness of the intervention. A social validity measure indicated that participating teachers and an assistant teacher viewed the interventions positively. A comparison of pre and post intervention scores on the teacher report form of the Behavior Assessment Scale for Children show some improvement in student composite scores, particularly Externalizing Behaviors. However, student composite scores still fell in the Clinically Significant or At-Risk range.