At Center for Behavioral Sciences, we’re proud to be on the cutting-edge of behavior analysis, as scientific contributors as well as practitioners.   So we’re excited to announce the most recent peer-reviewed publication by Dr. Fahad Alresheed of CBS’ Orange County team, entitled, “Thinning Schedules of Reinforcement Following Functional Communication Training for Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: A Meta-Analytic Review.”  It’s available now in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders—a medical journal focused on all aspects of autism spectrum disorders and related developmental disabilities.

This new study addresses functional communication training (FCT), which is an evidence-based practice for decreasing challenging behavior and increasing appropriate functional communicative responses (FCR) among children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).   In practice, FCT is often not possible in natural settings because it requires caregivers/teachers to reinforce every FCR emitted by the child.

To improve maintenance in natural settings, researchers have followed FCT with schedule-thinning procedures (reducing the schedule of reinforcement).   The goal of these procedures is to bring the FCR to a practical level while maintaining low levels of challenging behavior.

Dr. Alresheed’s study analyzed 28 single-case studies of thinning reinforcement schedules following FCT in children with IDD under the age of eight.   The results demonstrate overall moderate effect sizes for both challenging behavior and FCRs.  The findings suggest thinning procedures are most effective for children who have stronger communication repertoires.

You can find Dr. Alresheed’s most recent publication, including a discussion of the results and suggestions for future research and practice, here.  You can also contact us for more information about the CBS team and our services.

Dr. Alresheed earned his Ph.D. at the University of Oregon, and his Master of Science in Special Education at Texas A&M in 2013.   Dr. Alresheed has been a frequent contributor at ABA conferences and his research is published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Journal of Special Education Technology, Behavioral Interventions, Journal of Special Education and Rehabilitation, and Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship.  A partial compendium of Dr. Alresheed’s presentations and publications is available here.


Disclaimer: This article is for general information only, and is not intended (nor should it be relied upon) as health care or other advice regarding your specific circumstances.  Individual circumstances and outcomes vary, and the statements or recommendations in this article may not apply to you. Please contact your health care provider regarding any specific issue or problem.   The opinions expressed in this post are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of CBS.

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