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Dev Neurorehabil. 2012;15(2):91-104. doi: 10.3109/17518423.2011.651537.

Functional analysis and functional communication training in individuals with Angelman syndrome.

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  • 1Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



To assess the functions of challenging behaviour in four children with Angelman syndrome (AS) and to study the effects of functional communication training (FCT) with precursor-based prompting. This study builds on and extends the study of Allen et al.


Experimental functional analysis assessed behavioural functions. FCT was implemented within an ABAB design and effect sizes were calculated. Burst analyses depict tendencies in (precursor) behaviours surrounding target behaviours.


Results show challenging behaviour to be aimed at receiving attention, tangibles or escape. Burst analysis designated physical and eye contact and reaching for tangibles as precursors. Effects of FCT ranged from small to large.


Behavioural functions for challenging behaviour were found and FCT was effective in reducing its frequency, when precursors were used as the onset of prompting. Functional equivalence between challenging and communicative behaviour was found. Implementing treatment for challenging behaviour based on precursors is advised.

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