Date of Award

8-1-2014

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education

Department

Educational Psychology

First Advisor

May, Michael

Abstract

Problem behavior, such as off &ndash - &ndash task behavior, is one of the most commonly cited challenges competing with school readiness skills for young children with disabilities. This study demonstrated how a functional behavior assessment can be conducted in a school setting to determine the functional relation between off &ndash - &ndash task behavior and academic engagement stimuli for three kindergarten students at &ndash - &ndash risk of academic failure. Indirect and descriptive behavior assessments were first conducted to determine the hypothesized function of off &ndash - &ndash task behavior. Two experimental functional analysis conditions were then constructed to confirm the hypothesized function. Results demonstrated that when preferred academic engagement stimuli were used during instruction, escape &ndash - &ndash maintained off &ndash - &ndash task behavior decreased substantially. Therefore, the use of preferred stimuli as an instructional support may have abolished the value of escape as reinforcement for off &ndash - &ndash task behavior. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

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