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Functional Behavioral Assessment. Outcomes. By the end of this presentation participants will have: Heard about the basic principles of functional behavioral assessment, Engaged in hands-on practice with two FBA tools, and Applied all presentation concepts to a case study.

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  • By the end of this presentation participants will have:
    • Heard about the basic principles of functional behavioral assessment,
    • Engaged in hands-on practice with two FBA tools, and
    • Applied all presentation concepts to a case study
have you ever seen
“Have you ever seen….”
  • “Lantana, you skipped 2 school days, so we’re going to suspend you for 2 more.”
  • “Trang, I’m taking your book away because you obviously aren’t ready to learn.”
  • “You want my attention?! I’ll show you attention,…let’s take a walk down to the office & have a little chat with the Principal.”

Functional Approach?

functional behavior assessments
  • “Children are not born bad or with bad behavior, they learn it!”
  • We know that children who exhibit unacceptable and/or inappropriate behavior have learned this behavior from someone and/or somewhere, and display the behavior for a specific reason.
  • Our task as educators is to figure out why they are displaying the behavior and how we can assist the child in changing the inappropriate behavior to more acceptable and appropriate behavior.
  • A Functional Behavior Assessment is a strategic tool that we utilize in order to assess the possible causes of the behavior, and to assist us in deriving strategies to correct and/or eliminate the inappropriate behavior.
what is fba
What is FBA?
  • Problem-solving process for addressing student problem behavior
  • Varied techniques & strategies to identify the purposes (function) of specific behavior
  • Used to help problem solving teams select interventions to address the problem behavior
what is fba6
What is FBA?

A systematic process for developing statements about factors that

  • contribute to occurrence & maintenance of problem behavior, &
  • more importantly, serve as basis for developing proactive & comprehensive behavior support plans.
why fba
Why FBA?
  • Looks beyond the behavior and its overt topography to focus on identifying biological, social, affective, and environmental factors that initiate, sustain, or end the behavior in question.
  • Identifying underlying cause(s) of a student’s behavior, or “what a student gets or avoid” can provide valuable diagnostic information that is essential in developing proactive interventions and instructional strategies.
  • Although children’s behaviors may look alike and/or sound alike, the causes or functions are very different.
  • A Functional Behavior Assessment is a total team effort from any and everybody involved in the life of a student, ranging from parents to teachers to counselors to paraprofessionals.
  • In conducting a FBA and developing a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP), education personnel should draw upon a range of communication and interpersonal skills. As with other collaborative efforts, building level administrative and collegial support is essential to a successful outcome.
who conducts functional behavioral assessments
Who Conducts Functional Behavioral Assessments?
  • The SST is responsible for conducting an FBA for students for whom the school has behavioral concerns.
conducting fba
Conducting FBA
  • Amendments to IDEA advise a functional behavioral assessment approach (which could determine specific contributors to behavior), not a specific technique or strategies to use when assessing that behavior.
  • There are a variety of techniques available to conduct a functional behavioral assessment.
problem topography
Problem Topography
  • Focusing only on the topography will usually yield little information about effective interventions
  • Identifying the underlying cause(s) of a student’s behavior, however, or, more specifically, what the student "gets" or "avoids" through the behavior, can provide diagnostic information necessary to develop proactive instructional strategies

When Sequoia misses her 12:30 medication & teachers present multiple task demands, she makes negative self-statements & writes profane language on her assignments. Teaching staff typically send her to the office with a discipline referral for being disrespectful.

Avoid difficult tasks

What function?

Setting event




Sequoia makes

negative self-

statements &

writes profane


Teacher sends

Sequoia to

office for being


Misses 12:30





task demands


Caesar has dyed his hair three colors & is teased several times by his friends before class. When he enters the class, his teacher stares at his hair. Caesar immediately says “what are you staring at?” His teacher immediately sends him to in-school detention.

Escape adult &

peer attention

What function?

Setting event




Caesar is

teased several

times about his

hair by his

friends before


His teacher

stares at his

hair in class

Caesar asks

his teacher

what she’s

staring at

His teacher

sends him to




Cleo is new to the 6th grade, & English is her second language. When another student approaches & says something to her in English, Cleo turns away. The other student walks away. This happens several times during the day.

Escape peer attention

What function?

Setting event




New student


approaches &

speaks in


Cleo turns



student walks



When his teacher asks him what the capitol city of a country is, Napoleon gives the correct answers. His teacher praises his correct answer, & tells him he may work by himself or a friend on the rest of the assignment.

Access peer &

adult attention

What function?

Setting event




Teacher asks

what capitol

city of country



give correct


Teacher gives

verbal praise

& time to work

with a friend



As Veloce is walking, other kids look at him & say “what’s up?” He looks back and says: “Who ya lookin’ at?!” “Ya want some of this?!” “Ya talkin’ to me?!” Kids shake their heads & call him “weirdo.”

Access peer attention

What function?

Setting event





Look at him.

“What’s up!”

“Who ya

lookin’ at?”

“Ya want

Some?” “Ya

talkin’ to me?

Kids shake

heads &

call him


fundamental rule
Fundamental Rule

“You should not propose to reduce a problem behavior without also identifying alternative, desired behaviors person should perform instead of problem behavior”(O’Neill et al., 1997, p. 71).


What is the







Summary Statement

What is likely

to be the

result or consequence?

What is the


What happened

immediately before

the PB?

What is the



Setting Events







What is

the result?

What happens?

What is an





case studies identifying functions
Case Studies: Identifying Functions
  • Juan, a 16 year old who reads at a second grade level, throws his reading book across the room and uses inappropriate language to inform the teacher that he does not intend to complete his homework. Often Juan’s tantrums escalate and he leaves the classroom.
  • Sumi, an eight year old who reads novels for recreation, finds her classroom reading assignments boring. She shoves her book and workbook to the floor when the teacher starts reading instruction or comments on her lack of progress. The teacher often praises the other students who are following school rules in an attempt to get Sumi to read with the class.
case studies identifying functions21
Case Studies: Identifying Functions
  • Maurice, a 10 year old who finds multiplication of fractions difficult, throws tantrums when asked to complete worksheets requiring him to multiply fractions. Generally the teacher provides him with one-on-one assistance in order to get him back on track.
  • Kerry, a 12 year old who has problems paying attention, sits near the window in the back of the classroom. She frequently slams her text shut and loudly declares that she cannot work. The teacher uses sarcasm or humor to get Kerry re-engaged in the lesson several times during the class period.
6 steps of fba
6 Steps of FBA
  • Identify the Problem
  • Collect Data using Multiple Assessments
  • Analyze the Data
  • Make Determinations & Hypotheses
  • Develop & Implement a Behavior Implement Plan
  • Evaluate Progress & Follow-up as Necessary
step 1 identifying the problem
Step 1: Identifying the Problem
  • Pinpoint the behavior causing learning or discipline problems, and define that behavior in concrete terms that are easy to communicate and simple to measure and record
  • Identify and define the behavior in a broad sense
        • “Marco uses inappropriate language at school.”

B. Identify and define the behavior in specific terms

        • “During outside play and/or free time with classmates, Marco uses inappropriate language.”
case study identifying the problem
Case Study: Identifying the Problem
  • Define these problems more concretely.
    • DeWayne is disruptive.
    • LaDane is disrespectful.
    • Kendra is slow.
skill deficits vs performance deficits
Skill Deficits

The students does not know how to perform the desired skill.

Performance Deficits

The student knows the desired skill but is unable to perform the skill on a consistent basis.

Skill Deficits vs. Performance Deficits
identifying the problem important question is the problem behavior linked to a skill deficit
Identifying the Problem: Important QuestionIs the problem behavior linked to a skill deficit?
  • Is there evidence to suggest that the student does not know how to perform the skill and therefore cannot?
  • Does the student understand the behavioral expectations for the situation?
identifying the problem important question does the student have the skill
Identifying the Problem: Important QuestionDoes the student have the skill?
  • Sometimes it may be that the student can perform a skill, but, for some reason, does not use it consistently (e.g., in particular settings).
  • Is it possible that the student is uncertain about the appropriateness of the behavior (e.g., it is appropriate to clap loudly and yell during sporting events, yet these behaviors are often inappropriate when playing academic games in the classroom)?
addressing skill and performance deficits
Addressing Skill and Performance Deficits
  • Recognize the physical signs that the student is becoming angry.
  • Use relaxation skills
  • Apply problem solving skills
  • Practice communication skills
  • Modify curricular and/or environment
  • Utilize support staff:
        • School counselor
        • School psychologist
step 2 collect data using multiple assessments
Step 2: Collect Data Using Multiple Assessments
  • Indirect Assessment
    • This type of assessment relies heavily on interviews with teachers and other adults who have direct contact with the student.
    • Indirect assessments may also include interviews with the child as well.
    • It is very useful to compare the interviews of the adults who have direct contact with the child and the child him/herself, in order to gain perspective on those things that may be similar in nature.
indirect assessment important interview questions
Indirect Assessment: Important Interview Questions
  • In what settings do you observe the behavior?
  • Are there any settings where the behavior does not occur?
  • Who is present when the behavior occurs?
  • What activities or interactions take place just prior to the behavior?
  • What usually happens immediately after the behavior?
step 2 collect data using multiple assessments31
Step 2: Collect Data Using Multiple Assessments
  • Direct Assessment
    • A direct assessment consists of observing the problem behavior and describing the conditions that surround the behavior.
      • Antecedent – what occurs right before the problem behavior occurs.
      • Consequence – what occurs right after the behavior occurs.
the value of assessment
The Value of Assessment
  • The utilization of direct and indirect assessments together and a collaborative of all persons who have contact with the student displaying the problem behavior(s) provides an essential tool for formulating Behavior Intervention Plans.
step 3 data analysis
Step 3: Data Analysis

Carefully consider and examine what you have learned about the behavior and its context.

  • Compare & Analyze
  • Identify Patterns
  • Revise Assessment Plan if Necessary
step 4 make determinations establish hypotheses
Step 4: Make Determinations & Establish Hypotheses
  • Make determinations about what to do next, using the information and looking at the antecedents and the consequences as well as the reaction to the consequences
  • Establish Hypotheses regarding function of behavior
  • Test Hypotheses
    • Example: Daryl calls out during instruction. A functional behavioral assessment might reveal the function of the behavior is to gain attention (e.g., verbal approval of classmates), avoid instruction (e.g., difficult assignment), seek excitement (i.e., external stimulation), or both to gain attention and avoid a low-interest subject.
step 5 make implement behavior intervention plan
Step 5: Make & Implement Behavior Intervention Plan
  • As a team, develop the Behavior Intervention Plan to address the behavior, using the information gathered and summarized in your Functional Behavior Assessment.
  • Implement Plan
    • Manipulate the antecedents and/or consequences of the behavior
    • Teach more acceptable replacement behaviors that serve the same function as the inappropriate behavior
    • Implement changes in curriculum and instructional strategies
    • Modify the physical environment.
Behavior Intervention Plans must be monitored and data collected and recorded on a regular basis.
  • Decisions must be made by the team as to what is working and what is not working.
    • For those strategies that are not working, the team must modify and/or change the plan to try something else.
step 6 evaluation progress follow up as necessary
Step 6: Evaluation Progress & Follow-up as Necessary
  • Evaluate the faithfulness with which the plan was implemented
  • Evaluate the changes in student behavior
  • Modify plan if needed
  • Continue plan if warranted and develop phase out program as appropriate
6 steps of fba39
6 Steps of FBA
  • Identify the Problem
  • Collect Data using Multiple Assessments
  • Analyze the Data
  • Make Determinations & Hypotheses
  • Develop & Implement a Behavior Implement Plan
  • Evaluate Progress & Follow-up as Necessary
case study
Case Study
  • Using the six steps of FBA, please identify possible interventions for each step. Please be a specific as possible.
    • Jaron is failing three classes. He does not complete his homework and rarely participates in class discussions. Jaron is not outspoken, but he tends to get verbally aggressive when his teachers ask him about his work or when he is confronted by peers. Jaron’s mother reports that he is helpful at home and that he has always been a “quiet child.”

Functional Behavior Assessment is a tool used to make decisions about why behaviors are occurring.

It is necessary in order to change behavior to develop appropriate Behavior Intervention Plans and utilize those plans on a consistent basis over a reasonable amount of time.