Implementation Assistance

Interested in scheduling trainings to build organizational capacity to implement the practical functional assessment & skill-based treatment processes? Click here.

Recent videos of Dr. Hanley describing the practical functional assessment process and the skill-based treatment process are also freely available. These were recorded at the Penn State National Autism Conference on August 8, 2018. The related handouts for each are also available by clicking here (for assessment) and here (for treatment).

Please see below for new links to materials that may be helpful for implementing the processes detailed in trainings.

Practical Functional Assessment Process

Hundreds of successful applications of the Practical Functional Assessment (PFA) process have been published; hundreds more have been successfully conducted by practitioners. Please see the links below for materials that may be helpful for implementing the PFA process in your program or practice.

The Interview

Socially meaningful treatment outcomes have only been demonstrated when reinforcing contingencies are personalized. Personalized analyses of problem behavior are designed from open-ended interviews.

Click the links below for the interview form.

  • English form: word  or pdf    -Thanks to Sandy Jin for the write-in pdf version.
  • Italian form                               -Thanks to Elena Clo for this translation.
  • French form                              -Thanks to Charlotte Escane & Delphine Roux for this translation.
  • Spanish form                            -Thanks to Rocio Nunez for this translation.
  • Portuguese form                       –Thanks to Paula Braga-Kenyon for this translation.
  • Arabic form                               –Thanks to Faisal Alnemary, Rogaiyah Hamidaddin, and                                                                                                   Fahad Alnemary for this tranlsation

Tips for conducting an open-ended interview can be found here.


The IISCA is an acronym for an interview-informed synthesized contingency analysis, which is a type of functional analysis that quickly, safely, and usually reveals sensitivity of classes of problem behavior to ecologically-relevant reinforcement contingencies. A successful IISCA serves as an effective baseline context to treat problem behavior and develop important social repertoires.

A form for designing the IISCA from a completed interview can be found here.

Tips for designing and implementing a successful IISCA can be found here.

A step-by-step protocol for implementing an IISCA can be found here.

A data sheet for recording problem beh. during the IISCA can be found here.

An updated list of peer-reviewed publications showing the effectiveness and treatment utility of practical functional assessment processes can be found hereRely on these articles to support your implementation of the PFA process.

The Skill-Based Treatment Process

Following an effective PFA process, treatment almost always involves teaching the child to obtain the same outcomes in the same contexts with another, more appropriate, behavior. This is often called functional communication training or FCT. During the initial stage of FCT, each communication response (e.g., “My way, please”) is reinforced immediately with the same reinforcers that were shown to be maintaining problem behavior, and problem behavior is no longer reinforced. More developmentally appropriate communication responses are then shaped (The child says, “Excuse me” to obtain a listener’s attention, waits for acknowledgement from the listener, and then says, ” May I have my please”) and intermittent delays or denials of requested reinforcers are introduced. The child is next taught an effective response to delays and denials (e.g., taking a deep breath and saying, “Okay, no problem”). Delay tolerance is strengthened by providing the maintaining reinforcers directly following these responses. Variable behavioral expectations during delays are then introduced; meeting those expectations is then reinforced. The skills of functional communication, delay and denial tolerance, and compliance with reasonable adult expectations result from this process.  Use the materials below to implement this process.

A form for designing treatment from a successful IISCA can be found here.

Tips for designing and implementing treatment can be found here.

A step-by-step protocol for implementing treatment can be found here.

Data sheets for recording problem behavior during the treatment process can be found here. These documents also serve as guide for implementing the shaping process (i.e., they include criteria for escalating response requirements) and for arranging for intermittent and unpredictable reinforcement of skills.

Because the behaviors that result from the treatment process are life skills, shown to both replace problem behavior and prevent the development of problem behavior, it is essential that each skill persists, so treatment is arranged so that each behavior is reinforced immediately some of the time. The treatment that is transferred into homes, classrooms, and communities basically involves the unpredictable and intermittent reinforcement of the three life skills of functional communication, delay tolerance, and compliance. Click the following for a visual representation of the treatment: schematic. The treatment looks complicated when diagrammed on the schematic, but the variable durations of reinforcement and the variable and unpredictable responses requirements are easy to implement with randomizer apps like Roundom or Namesinahat.

Here are pictures of Roundom customized for a function-based treatment. Roundom allows for random selection of both response requirements and reinforcer durations and does so while replacing previously selected options. Thanks to Jessica Slaton for identifying this useful program.


Here are pictures of NamesinaHat customized for a function-based treatment. NameinaHat allows for random selection of both response requirements and reinforcer durations as well but does so without replacing previously selected options. This program also provides a list view of randomized response requirements or reinforcer durations. Thanks to Kara Verseckes for alerting us to this useful program.


Prevention of Problem Behavior

  • Click here for an instrument used to detect the skills that prevent the development of problem behavior. This indirect assessment of life skills was shown to be significantly correlated with direct measures of life skills and sensitive to the effects of a class-wide program for teaching these skills (Hanley et al., 2007)
  • Click here for a manual to assist teachers in implementing the preschool life skills curriculum shown to prevent the development of problem behavior.
    • For publications showed the efficacy of the PLS curriculum in teaching skills essential for preventing problem behavior, click here.

Prevention, Assessment, and Treatment of Sleep Problems

An open-ended interview may be used to design personalized treatments addressing sleep problems of children. The interview is call the Sleep Assessment and Treatment Tool or SATT. 

Click the links below for this interview form.

  • English form
  • Italian form                           -Thanks to Elena Clo for this translation.
  • French form                          -Thanks to Charlotte Escane & Delphine Roux for this translation.
  • Spanish form (coming soon)

Click here for a two-page handout describing evidence-based strategies for promoting good sleep. For Italian translations, click here and here.

7 thoughts on “Implementation Assistance

  1. Hi – I heard Dr. Hanley at the Long Island Behavior Analysis Conference and was so excited to hear about strategies that a) match most closely what is actually happening in field work and b) that I could replicate immediately in my work.

    I spend the bulk of my time doing school consultation, and there was one student who I couldn’t get a handle on. He had high rates of SIB and negative vocalizations across the day, even when on the way to preferred activities (or what we thought were preferred activities).

    After hearing Dr. Hanley, I immediately put a new program in place – 1) immediate and constant reinforcement of communication (pictures), and 2) gradual introduction of delay. We’re still early in the program, and progress is slow (probably due to the challenge of clean implementation across multiple school staff). Once we’ve gotten the SIB down in both immediate and delayed conditions, we’ll introduce some self-calming strategies. Staff are a little skeptical, but no one can deny that both the SIB and precursor (whining) are way down.

    THANKS so much!


  2. Pingback: New Implementation Supports | Practical Functional Assessment

  3. I attended a day-long presentation by Dr. Hanley and was impressed with both the IISCA and the FCT/delay tolerance response training. I particularly find valuable the idea that being able to “turn off” a precursor behavior, indicates it’s function. Additionally, the intermittent reinforcement protocol for tolerance training is infinitely better than any wait or compliance training commonly practiced. I have used your protocol with success and am grateful that you have provided tools for implementation. Thank you so much for the fantastic resources!


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