Assessment and treatment of ventilator tube disconnection exhibited by a toddler

Patricia F. Kurtz, Michelle D. Chin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This report describes the behavioral assessment procedures and treatment developed for a ventilator-dependent, 2-year-old male with severe developmental delays who displayed life-threatening behavior in the form of ventilator tube disconnection. An evaluation of possible environmental variables that served to maintain this behavior was conducted utilizing functional analysis methodology [Iwata, B. A., Dorsey, M. F., Slifer, K. J., Bauman, K. E., and Richman, G. S. (1982, 1994). J. Appl. Behav. Anal. 27: 197-209]. Results of the functional analysis of ventilator tube disconnection were undifferentiated. A treatment program consisting of the provision of a foam-padded bib and access to high preference toys was effective in eliminating ventilator tube disconnection; increased rates of toy engagement were also observed. While use of behavior analytic procedures is common with developmentally disabled children who display self-injury or aggression, similar procedures can be applied in pediatric settings to manage behavior problems specific to ventilator-dependent children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-161
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Behavior problems
  • Functional analysis
  • Tube disconnection
  • Ventilator-dependent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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