Graduation Date

Spring 5-4-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Behavior Analysis

First Advisor

Tara Fahmie


Behavior analysts typically assess and treat challenging behavior after it occurs regularly and at high severity. Although effective, this reactive approach is quite costly and resource intensive. A growing body of literature supports an alternative preventive approach, the first step of which involves conducting sensitivity tests to screen the emergence of lower-severity challenging behavior and functional skills (e.g., Fahmie et al., 2020). Research on sensitivity tests has shown that information on the function of emerging challenging behavior can be acquired in a relatively short period of time. Despite the potential value of sensitivity tests, their validity has not yet been established. This study measures the correspondence between sensitivity tests and standard functional analyses. Participants included ten young autistic learners who were referred for the presence of low-severity challenging behavior. Data show generally high correspondence between both assessment outcomes.


2024 Copyright, the authors

Available for download on Saturday, April 26, 2025