L. Neely, E. Garcia, B. Bankston & A. Green.




Research in Developmental Disabilities

Functional communication training (FCT) is considered an evidence-based practice for treating problem behavior in individuals with developmental disabilities (e.g. autism, intellectual disabilities, down syndrome, etc.). However, there is little known on how to sustain behavioral change following FCT interventions. This systematic and quality review synthesizes the current literature base evaluating the maintenance and generalization of behavioral effects following FCT.
A systematic review identified 37 studies that met the pre-set inclusion criteria. Those studies were summarized in terms of: (a) generalization dimension, (b) generalization assessment design, (c) maintenance assessment design, (d) maintenance and generalization teaching strategy, and (e) latency to maintenance probes. All studies employed single-case research designs and were evaluated using the What Works Clearinghouse pilot single-case research standards (Kratochwill et al., 2013) as adapted by Maggin, Briesch, and Chafouleas (2013). Maintenance and generalization data were evaluated using a researcher-developed rubric based on the WWC standards.
Results indicate that 30 studies met standards or met standards with reservations while only six studies also met all of the maintenance and generalization standards. Of the six studies, five did not implement any additional strategies beyond the contacting natural contingencies that is inherent in the FCT intervention. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

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