Functional Communication Training

     The purpose of this research was interesting and of value as it focused on problems
that often occur when Functional Communication Training (FCT) is in use. This
study sought to find effective solutions as desired ". . .response[s] may be
weakened and destructive behavior[s] may reemerge . . ." when reinforcements
of communication are delayed or denied due to impossibility or inconvenience of
the caregiver or instructors ability to provide said reinforcement in a timely
manner. ". . .procedures are needed to increase the effectiveness of FCT in
situations in which it is impractical or impossible to deliver a given
reinforcer." Research design and design rationale: This study was broken up
into 4 phases (the fourth phase ". . .was completed with only 1 participant in
only one condition because of time limitations on the participantsí hospital
admission.") Phase 1: Functional Analyses and Descriptive Assessments.

Alternating treatment with no baseline design. "During this analysis, a test
condition . . .and a control condition were compared using a multi-element
design." Phase 2: Communication and Discrimination Training. Phase 3:

Treatment Evaluation of FCT with Discriminative Stimuli. Between series,
alternating treatment (ABAB) design was used to compare FCT + EXT vs. ACT + EXT
in two conditions for one participant (Amy) and in one condition for one
participant (Ned). Phase 4: Independent Effects of FCT and EXT. Between series,
alternating treatment and a final treatment design was used to compare FCT/ACT
(w/o EXT) vs. EXT alone with the final series being strictly FCT/ACT (w/o EXT).

The order of presentation for Amyís discrimination training were "..
.stimulus-present and stimulus-absent periods [that] were alternated every 30 s
for the duration of the 10-min session. For Ned, ". . .one SD at a time was
presented for 1 min. The order of the first three SD presentations in a given
session was randomized, without replacement; thereafter, the order remained
constant." Phase 1 was "conducted to test the hypotheses generated by the
results of. . .descriptive assessments. . .to determine whether . . .destructive
behavior was multiply maintained by both attention and access to tangible items,
but under specific stimulus conditions [for Amy]. . .[and whether] destructive
behavior was maintained by . . .attention [for Ned]," therefore this specific
phase of the test did not require a baseline. Once these results were
established, and training had incurred, the rationale for design for Phases 3
and 4 were to show contrast between the various interventions. Overall study
limitations: I think this study covered itís bases well and the only
limitation I can rightly see is one that is prone to single-subject research,
that is, the use of only two participants. It would have strengthened this study
further too if the researchers had been able to complete the final Phase 4 on
both of the participants.