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A SIMPLIFIED METHODOLOGY FOR IDENTIFYING THE FUNCTION OF ELOPEMENT

Authors


  • This research was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MA degree for the first and third authors at the University of Houston–Clear Lake. Robert Lehardy is now at Texana Center, Lindsay Evans is now at Spectrum of Hope, and Daniel LeSage is now with One Step at a Time Behavioral Services, LLC.

Address correspondence to Dorothea C. Lerman, University of Houston–Clear Lake, 2700 Bay Area Blvd., MC 245, Houston, Texas 77058 (e-mail: lerman@uhcl.edu).

Abstract

Functional analyses of elopement (i.e., leaving a specific area without permission) are challenging to conduct because clients must have repeated opportunities to elope from one room (or area) to another safely. These analyses often require two or more adjoining rooms and retrieval of the client following each instance of elopement (e.g., Piazza et al., 1997). These room arrangements may be impractical in some settings, and therapist delivery of attention or demands during retrieval may confound the results. To address these issues, we evaluated the viability of conducting a functional analysis (FA) of elopement within a single room. Participants were 2 children and 2 adults with developmental disabilities who eloped from rooms at their day programs. Results of the single-room assessments were compared to those of a second FA that was conducted using methods similar to those described in previous studies. Function-based treatments were implemented for each participant. Results suggest that the single-room assessment may be a viable alternative for identifying the function of elopement.

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