Effectiveness of teacher-implemented function-based interventions versus non-function-based interventions for preschoolers

Katherine Marie Bellone, University of Southern Mississippi

Abstract

Disruptive behaviors occur frequently in preschool classrooms. Children who exhibit early-onset behavioral concerns in educational settings are at greater risk for negative developmental outcomes than their peers. In order to address problem behaviors in the classroom, practitioners may use functional assessment methodology to design an individualized intervention tied to the function of the behavior. Alternatively, practitioners may choose to use an evidence-based practice, not tied to behavioral function, shown to be beneficial through research. Though much research states the need for empirical comparisons between function-based interventions and non-function-based interventions, past comparisons have often been unbalanced, such that the interventions included for comparison were not matched in terms of strength. Therefore, the current study sought to directly compare function-based interventions developed following a teacher-implemented brief functional analysis to an evidence-based practice, the Mystery Motivator to improve behavioral outcomes for four preschool children attending Head Start. By comparing these two interventions, a better understanding of the treatment utility of functional assessment methodology for typically-developing children in traditional educational settings can be determined.