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The Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)

The Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA). “Have you ever heard….”. “Larissa, you skipped 2 school days, so we’re going to suspend you for 2 more.” “Trent, I’m taking your book away because you obviously aren’t ready to learn.”

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The Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)

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  1. The Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)

  2. “Have you ever heard….” • “Larissa, you skipped 2 school days, so we’re going to suspend you for 2 more.” • “Trent, I’m taking your book away because you obviously aren’t ready to learn.” • “You want my attention?! You have it! Let’s take a walk down to the office and talk with the principal.”

  3. Manifestation vs. Cause Traditionally schools have used various kinds of negative consequences (e.g., verbal reprimand, timeout, suspension, etc.) to reduce or eliminate problem behaviors. Experience shows that “reactive approaches” for dealing with inappropriate behaviors, such a punishment, do not help teachers or the student achieve more acceptable behaviors.

  4. A Better Approach …looking beyond the misbehavior …uncovering its underlying cause

  5. What is an FBA? • An FBA is the process of determining the cause (or function) of behavior before developing an intervention or strategies to correct and/or eliminate the inappropriate behavior. • The intervention must be based on a hypothesis or statement about factors that contribute to the occurrence and maintenance of the problem behavior. • An FBA serves as the basis for developing a proactive and comprehensive Behavior Intervention Plan or BIP.

  6. “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. • The task of a child’s team 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. • An FBA is a strategic tool that can be utilized to assess the possible causes of the behavior, and to assist in deriving strategies to replace and/or eliminate the inappropriate behavior.

  7. Basic Concepts • An FBA is a problem-solving process • An FBA uses varied techniques and strategies to identify the purposes (or function) of specific behavior • An FBA is a tool to select strategies, interventions and supports to address problem behavior

  8. Key Point A child will change his or her behavior only when it is clear that a different response will accomplish the same things more effectively and efficiently.

  9. The Logic of an FBA 1. All behavior serves a purpose or a number of purposes: • To get something desirable (e.g., attention, desired events or activities) • To escape or avoid demands or some other undesired events/activities • Because of sensory consequences (relieves pain, feels good, etc.)

  10. The Logic of an FBA 2. All Behavior Occurs with a Context: • In certain settings (e.g., cafeteria) • Under certain conditions (e.g., only when there is a substitute teacher) • During different types of activities (e.g., art)

  11. Why Do an FBA? • Looks beyond the behavior to focus on identifying biological, social, affective, and environmental factors that initiate, sustain, or end the behavior in question. • Although children’s behaviors may look alike and/or sound alike, the causes or functions are very different.

  12. Fundamental Rule:Seek Replacement Behaviors You should not propose to reduce a problem behavior without also identifying alternative, desired behaviors that the person should perform instead of the problem behavior.

  13. Who Conducts an FBA? • An FBA is a total team effort including parents, teachers, paraprofessionals and anybody involved with the student in his or her educational environment (including recess, the cafeteria, the bus, etc.) • In conducting an FBA, the support of local level administration and collaboration among staff and other service professionals are essential.

  14. When is an FBA required? FEDERAL REQUIREMENT (IDEA 2004) – when a “Manifestation Determination Review” (MDR) finds a child’s behavior was a “manifestation of the child’s disability.” An MDR is required “within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a child with a disability because of a violation of a code of student conduct.”

  15. When is an FBA required? STATE REQUIREMENT (VA Regs) – add that “in the event that the child’s behavior impedes the child’s learning or that of others,” the IEP team “shall consider either developing goals and services specific to the child’s behavioral needs or conducting an FBA.” An FBA is also recommended for a student with a disability who is subject to long-term removal (more than 10 consecutive school days).

  16. Right to an IEE Under IDEA parents have a right to an “independent educational evaluation” (IEE) at public expense if they disagree with the evaluation conducted by the school. In Virginia, this includes FBAs if the FBA included new testing and was not merely a review of existing data.

  17. 6 Steps of an 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

  18. Step 1: Identify 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 “Mark uses inappropriate language at school.” • Identify and define the behavior in specific terms “During outside play and/or free time with classmates, Mark uses inappropriate language.”

  19. 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

  20. Is 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?

  21. Does 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)?

  22. Addressing Skill and Performance Deficits • Recognize the physical signs that the student displays when becoming angry. • Use relaxation skills • Apply problem solving skills • Practice communication skills • Modify curricular and/or environment • Utilize support staff: • School counselor • School psychologist • Behavioral Intervention Specialist

  23. Step 2: Collect Data Using Multiple Assessments The utilization of direct and indirect assessments provides the data essential for formulating a hypothesis for the behavior.

  24. 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.

  25. 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?

  26. Direct Assessments – The ABCs of Behavior 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 Behavior – what the behavior is Consequence – what occurs right after the behavior occurs

  27. 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 Antecedent Response Consequence Caesar is teased several times in class about his hair His teacher stares at his hair in class Caesar asks his teacher what she’s staring at His teacher sends him to in-school detention

  28. As Victor is walking, other kids look at him & say “What’s up?” He looks back and says: “Who’re you lookin’ at?!”; “You want some of this?!”& shakes his fist. Kids shake their heads & call him “weirdo.” Access peer attention What function? Setting event Antecedent Response Consequence Victor walks by his peers Other kids look at him and say, “What’s up!” “Who’re you lookin’ at?” “You want Some of this? Kids shake heads & call him “weirdo”

  29. When Sara misses her 12:30 pm 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 Antecedent Response Consequence Sara makes negative self- statements & writes profane language Teacher sends Sara to office for being disrespectful Misses 12:30 pm medication Teachers make multiple task demands

  30. Step 3: Data Analysis Consider and examine what you have learned about the behavior and its context. • Compare & Analyze • Identify Patterns • Revise Assessment Plan if Necessary

  31. Step 4: Establish & Test the Hypothesis • Establish a hypotheses regarding the function of the behavior. The hypothesis statement is a concise summary of information collected during the assessment phase and represents the “best guess” regarding the reason(s) for the behavior. • Test the hypotheses. Systematically manipulate certain variable to determine whether the team’s assumptions regarding the likely function of the behavior are correct.

  32. Step 5: Develop and Implement the BIP • The IEP team will develop a BIP to address the behavior, using the information gathered and summarized in the hypothesis of the FBA. • The BIP may include strategies to: • 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.

  33. BIPs 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.

  34. Step 6: Evaluate Progress & Follow-up • Evaluate the faithfulness with which the plan was implemented • Evaluate the changes in student behavior • Modify the plan if needed • Continue plan if warranted and develop phase out program as appropriate

  35. 6 Steps of an 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

  36. Summary An FBA is a tool used to make decisions about why behaviors are occurring. Understanding the function of behavior is necessary in order to develop an appropriate BIP and utilize those plans on a consistent basis over a reasonable amount of time to ensure its effectiveness.

  37. RESOURCES • Functional Behavioral Assessments, Behavioral Intervention Plans, and Positive Intervention and Supports: An Essential Part of Effective Schoolwide Discipline in Virginia, VDOE, 2nd ed. 2005-2006 http://www.doe.virginia.gov/support/student_conduct/monograph.pdf • Appendix A - Additional Information/References http://www.doe.virginia.gov/support/student_conduct/appendices.pdf • Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy (VOPA): Information About Functional Behavioral Assessments http://www.vopa.state.va.us/Publications/Special%20Education%20Publications/FBAs%20-%2006-09.pdf

  38. RESOURCES (cont.) • Suspending Disbelief: Moving Beyond Punishment to Promote Effective Interventions for Children with Mental or Emotional Disorders. (May 2003) http://www.bazelon.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=mdLYu8-RGuU%3D&tabid=104 • FAPE: An IEP Team's Introduction to Functional Behavioral Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plans (2nd edition) http://www.fape.org/idea/what_idea_is/osher/main.htm ALSO SEE: • Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia http://www.doe.virginia.gov/special_ed/regulations/state/regs_speced_disability_va.pdf

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