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Increasing the Function of FBAs and PBSPs. Jennifer Briggs-Russell, LMSW, ASD/Behavior Consultant Stacie Hopkins-Schrumpf, LMSW, Behavior Consultant Muskegon Area Intermediate School District. August 12, 2014. MAISD Timeline.

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Increasing the function of fbas and pbsps

Increasing the Function of FBAs and PBSPs

Jennifer Briggs-Russell, LMSW, ASD/Behavior Consultant

Stacie Hopkins-Schrumpf, LMSW, Behavior Consultant

Muskegon Area Intermediate School District

August 12, 2014

Maisd timeline
MAISD Timeline

  • Summer 2013 – MAISD Consultants research & develop new FBA & PBSP Forms

  • Fall 2013

    • present new forms to local directors

    • establish pilot group, prior to “forms training”

    • attend Illinois PBIS Conference, attend breakout with Horner, Loman et. al.

    • present changes to training component

      to local directors

  • Scheduled Four, ½ Day Training Series

Why change the forms process
Why change the forms/process?

  • Functionality

  • Reliance on checkboxes

  • Systematic process to tie the FBA to the PBSP

  • Place for a summary (day to day operations)

  • Action plan and clear assignment of roles & responsibilities

  • Place to document data review meetings, changes and next steps


  • “Developing Effective Behavior Intervention Plans: Suggestions for School Personnel,” Killu, K., Intervention in School and Clinic, Vol. 43 No.3, 1/08

  • Michigan Department of Education School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports Implementation Guide, 2010

  • Building Positive Behavior Support Systems in Schools: Functional Behavioral Assessment, Crone, D. & Horner, R., 2003

Interventions based on an FBA

result in significant change

in student behavior.

(CARR et al., 1999, INGRAM, LEWIS-PALMER, & SUGAI, 2005)

  • FBA is a systematic, evidence based process for assessing the relationship between a behavior and the context in which that behavior occurs.(BLAIR, UBRIET, & BOS, 1999; CARR et. al., 1999)

  • FBA is a proactive response that can be used at the first signs of difficulty. (SCOTT et al., 2003; SUGAI et al., 2000)


  • Sheldon Loman, Ph.D.; M. Kathleen Strickland-Cohen, Ph.D.; Chris Borgmeier, Ph. D., Robert Horner, Ph.D.




  • Loman, S., Strickland-Cohen, M.K., Borgmeier, C., & Horner, R. (2014) Examining the Efficacy of a Basic Functional Behavioral Assessment Training Package for School Personnel,Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.

The Basic FBA to PBSP Process

1. Define the Problem Behavior

2. Conduct assessment for behavior support planning

a. Functional Behavioral Assessment

• Defining behavior in observable & measureable terms

• Ask staff and student about where, when, & why behavior occurs

• See the behavior during specified routines

• Hypothesize a final summary of where, when, & why behavior occurs

3. Design an individualized behavior support plan (BSP)

• Ensure technical adequacy

• Ensure contextual fit

4. Ensure Fidelity of Implementation

5. Monitor Plan Impact on Student Behavior

Adapt BSP and implementation as needed based on on-going monitoring

Adapted from Horner, Albin, Todd, Newton & Sprague, 2011

Basic fba to pbsp training series
Basic FBA to PBSP Training Series

  • Module 1- Defining & Understanding Behavior

  • Module 2- Interviewing

  • Module 3- Observing

  • Module 4- Critical Features

  • Module 5- Selecting Function-Based Interventions

  • Module 6- Implementation & Evaluation

  • Module 7- Leading a PBSP Team


Comprehensive Training

  • 7 Modules –1.5 hours per module

    • 2 full days

    • 4 half days

    • 7 staff meetings

    • Identify staff who should attend based on role

      Building-Wide Professional Development

  • All Staff - Modules 1 & 4

Module 1 defining understanding behavior
Module 1 : Defining & Understanding Behavior

M odule 2 interviewing ask module 3 observing see
Module 2: Interviewing (Ask) Module 3: Observing (see)

  • To obtain information to make a hypothesis/summary statement you need to ASK & SEE.

  • Interview teachers, staff, and student to narrow focus of student’s problem behavior

  • ABC Observations

    • Used to confirm accuracy of information

    • Provides observational data summary

  • Create Hypothesis: Final summary of where when & why behaviors occur.

Basic fba process d a s h
Basic FBA processD.A.S.H.

Define behavior in observable & measurable terms

Ask about behavior by interviewing staff & student

-specify routines where & when behaviors occur

-summarize where, when, & why behaviors occur

See the behavior

-observe the behavior during routines specified

-observe to verify summary from interviews

Hypothesize: a final summary of where, when & why behaviors occur

Summary hypothesis statement
Summary/Hypothesis Statement

Setting Events/

“Set ups”







Infrequent events that affect value of outcome

Following events that maintain behaviors of concern

Preceding events that trigger

Observable behaviors of concern

Module 4 critical features of pbsp
Module 4: Critical Features of PBSP

  • Competing Behavior Pathway

  • Function-Based Behavior Support

  • Implementation Plan

  • Evaluation Plan

Competing pathway
Competing Pathway

Use a Competing Behavior Pathway to Identify Function-based behavior supports that:

  • Use strategies to prevent problem behavior & prompt positive behaviors

  • Teach positive behaviors to replace problem behavior

  • Reinforce replacement & desired behaviors

  • Effectively respond to problem behaviors by redirecting & minimizing their pay-off

Competing pathway1
Competing Pathway

Long Term/Final Outcome

Hypothesis Statement

Serve same function?

Is it easier?

Is it socially acceptable?

Short Term/Acceptable for now

Module 5 selecting function based interventions
Module 5: Selecting Function-Based Interventions


  • Begin with a complete and accurate FBA Summary Statement

  • Include replacement behaviors that

    • Serve the same function

    • Are easy to do

    • Are socially appropriate

  • Contain Preventative, Teaching & Consequence strategies

Function based interventions
Function Based Interventions

When generating interventions we use

FUNCTIONto develop ideas to change A, B & C

Maintaining Consequence & Function


Problem Behavior


Function should guide selection of prevention strategies

Function should guide selection of alternative/ replacement behaviors

Function should guide selection of consequences: (+) and (-)

What are reasonable expectations
What are REASONABLE expectations?

If the student is currently out of seat and off task for the most of the class period and is not turning in any completed assignments.

  • Probably NOT reasonable to expect:

    • To earn reinforcer, student will be on task for entire class period, and complete all assignments for one week.

  • More reasonable INITIAL goal:

    • Student will: a) be in seat and on task for at least 20 minutes of the class period, and b) turn in assignments that are at least 30% completed for 2 consecutive days.


  • During writing class, Leroy is currently engages in problem behavior - throwing materials and cursing - to escape difficult tasks in Math approximately 4 days per week. On average, he is completing only 25-30% of his work in class.

  • Leroy will complete at least 80% of his assigned work in his math class with no more than 3 incidences of problem behavior (throwing materials, cursing) for one month.

Intermediate Goals: Approximations

Leroy’s Long-Term Goal

Leroy will complete at least 80% of his assigned work in his math class with no more than 3 incidences of problem behavior (throwing materials, cursing) for one month.

Leroy will ask appropriately to cross off up to 60% of difficult math problems and will have no more than 3 problem behavior incidents for 2 consecutive weeks.

Leroy will ask appropriately for an easier task or for a “break” no more than 3 times during Math block with no more than 2 problem behavior incidents for 4 consecutive days .

Leroy’s Short-Term Goal

Leroy will ask appropriately for an easier task or for a “break” from difficult tasks without throwing materials or cursing at least 75% of the time as measured by a daily point card for 2 consecutive weeks.


Desired Behavior: Complete Multi-Digit Math Problems independently

Natural Consequence:

Success on problems, more math tasks

Approximation Step #3: Ask for teacher help


Task too difficult

Asked to do multi-digit multiplication or division math worksheets

Approximation Step #2:

With permission student can cross off 60% of difficult items


Escape Difficult Math Tasks

Approximation Step #1: Ask for break using only 3 break tokens per period

Replacement Behavior: Ask for Break from Difficult Double Digit Tasks

Critical features of behavior support plan function based
Critical Features of Behavior Support Plan (FUNCTION BASED)

  • PREVENTproblem behaviors by directly addressing triggers & prompting replacement behavior based on function of behavior

  • REPLACEproblem behavior by TEACHING a socially acceptable, efficient behavior that allows student to obtain the function (pay-off)

  • REDIRECT problem behaviors by quickly & effectively redirecting student to replacement behavior & function

  • REINFORCEreplacement & desired behaviors based on function (pay-off) for student

  • Minimize reinforcement by ensuring that problem behavior does NOT pay off for the student (does NOT result in function)

Module 6 implementation evaluation module 7 leading a pbsp team
Module 6: Implementation & EvaluationModule 7: Leading a PBSP Team

  • Function-based strategies are most likely to be implemented if they have CONTEXTUAL “fit.”

    • Skills of the plan implementers

    • Values of the plan implementers

    • Resources available to the plan implementers

  • ACTION PLAN (Implementation Plan) specifying Who will do What by When

  • DATA COLLECTION (Evaluation Plan) for determining

    • if the plan is being implemented

    • if the plan is making a difference in student behavior

    • when team members will meet again to discuss progress

Contextual fit

  • Do the function-based strategies “fit” with:

    • The skills and values of the implementers

    • The available resources

    • Administrative structure/support

  • Strategies with good “fit” are more likely to be implemented accurately and consistently

FBA to PBSP Training Series

Pre & Post Test Data


Lessons l earned future plans
Lessons Learned & Future Plans

  • One Day Teacher & Administrator Training

    • Modules 1 & 4

    • Staff frequently involved in PBSP

  • Two Day FBA to PBSP Training

    • Modules 1-7

    • New Schedule

    • New Staff