It is apparent from this website that a practical functional assessment includes an open-ended interview with parents or teachers followed by an analysis personalized from the interview. The analysis is referred to as an IISCA. Why this particular name?
IISCA stands for interview-informed synthesized contingency analysis and the somewhat cumbersome acronym IISCA is used because it captures two procedural commitments that differentiate it from traditional functional analyses. The first is that the specific contingencies assessed and materials used in the sessions are derived from the interviews, thus the analysis is interview informed.
Presumably all functional analyses are informed to some extent from open ended interviews, but often only the topographies of problem behavior or type of demand materials and tangible items are determined via the interview. More information from the interview is used when designing an IISCA such as: (a) the response topographies that will and will not produce reinforcement in the test sessions, (b) the specific contingencies that will and will not be assessed, (c) the extent to which the contingencies will be assessed simultaneously, (d) the specific conditions that will be arranged to evoke problem behavior, and (e) the specific materials and interactions used during reinforcement. Because the analysis is designed from an open-ended interview, qualitatively rich and often unique contingencies are assessed in an IISCA (e.g., escape from instructions to access ritualistic behavior and preferred conversations).
After hundreds of interviews and observations of problem behavior, we have come to realize that reinforcement contingencies are rarely delivered in isolation in homes and schools. When the interviews suggest that the contingencies are experienced simultaneously, we simply arrange for them to be experienced simultaneously in our analyses, thus the emphasis on synthesized contingencies.
Finally, because an IISCA involves the rapid alternation of two conditions, one in which the synthesized contingency suspected of influencing problem behavior is arranged (referred to as a test condition) and one in which it is not (referred to as a control condition), it is indeed an analysis (Hanley, Iwata, & McCord, 2003).