Center for Autism and Related Disorders Research Team Publishes Article in Current Issue of the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities

The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD), one of the world’s leading organizations effectively treating children with autism, has published “Comparing Indirect, Descriptive, and Experimental Functional Assessments of Challenging Behavior in Children with Autism” in the latest edition of the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. Collaborators on the article include CARD Research Director Dr. Jonathan Tarbox, PhD, BCBA-D, and other members of the research team: Arthur E. Wilke, Dr. Adel C. Najdowski, PhD, BCBA-D, Susie Balasanyan, MA, Amy C. Caveney, MA, Vardui Chilingaryan;, MA, Deidra M. King, MS ED, Sarah M. Niehoff, Kelly Slease, MA, and Betty Tia, MA.

The study compares indirect, descriptive, and experimental functional assessments, across seven children with autism, representing a range of ages and topographies of challenging behavior. Overall, descriptive assessments often did not produce conclusive results, whereas the indirect and experimental assessments generally did. Concurrence across the three types of functional assessments was found in only one case. Implications for clinical and educational practice are discussed.

Current standards of practice in psychological and educational services dictate the need for ascertaining the function of challenging behaviors before treating them and for behavioral interventions to be based on the function of behavior. At least three broad categories of functional assessments have been developed, including indirect, descriptive, and experimental procedures. Although experimental functional analyses are common in empirical research on behavioral intervention, indirect and descriptive functional assessment procedures may be more commonly used in clinical and educational practice. Little previous research has systematically compared indirect, descriptive, and experimental functional assessments in children with autism.
To read a preview of the current article,

Or visit www.centerforautismcom/autism_research.

Questions regarding this study should be directed to Dr. Jonathan Tarbox, CARD Director of Research at or 818.345.2345.

About the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD):
CARD is committed to science as the most objective and reliable approach to evaluating treatment for autism. CARD’s mission is to conduct empirical research on the assessment and treatment of autism and to disseminate CARD’s research findings and derived technology through publication and education of professionals and the public.

While the primary focus of CARD’s research is ABA‐based methods of assessment and treatment, CARD’s overall approach to research includes any topic which may hold promise for producing information that could improve the lives of individuals with autism. In addition, CARD maintains a reputation as one of the world’s largest and most experienced organizations effectively treating children with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD‐NOS, and related disorders. Following the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), CARD develops individualized treatment plans for children worldwide. For more information about CARD, visit

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