Parent-Implemented Functional Communication Training for Children with Developmental Disabilities
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Children with developmental disabilities (DD) are at an increased risk of engaging in chronic challenging behaviors that can affect both the child and the child’s caregivers. Functional communication training (FCT) is a well-researched method for reducing challenging behavior and increasing communication in children with DD. Training parents in FCT may result in additional benefits, such as increased access to intervention and less reliance on professionals. This dissertation contains two studies related to parent-implemented FCT. The first study is a systematic review and evaluation of the quality of published research in parent-implemented FCT. The systematic review yielded 38 studies related to parent-implemented FCT, many of which were conducted with young children with developmental disabilities. The included studies met many of the field’s current single-case research standards, but there is a need for more research with high-quality experimental designs. Strengths of the current literature base and directions for future research are discussed. The purpose of the second study was to evaluate the efficacy of parent training in improving parents’ implementation of FCT. The study included three young children with developmental delays ranging in age from 25 to 33 months old. Two mothers and one father participated as the implementer throughout the study. A multiple-baseline across parent-child dyads design was used to evaluate the impact of parent training on FCT implementation fidelity. Parent training consisted of instructions and performance feedback. Implementation fidelity in the trained routine and in a generalization routine was assessed during the baseline phase and a performance feedback phase. A self-monitoring phase was added if the data indicated the parent did not generalize accurate implementation to the novel routine. Instructions and performance feedback increased accurate implementation in the training routine for all three parents. One of the parents implemented the intervention accurately in the generalization routine without any additional training. One parent participant required self-monitoring training to implement the intervention accurately in the generalization routine. The third parent-child dyad dropped out of the study before the completion of the generalization assessment. Child challenging behavior decreased and child communication increased following accurate implementation of the intervention.
Gerow, Stephanie Lynn (2016). Parent-Implemented Functional Communication Training for Children with Developmental Disabilities. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from