What is a functional behavioral assessment?
v A continuous, systematic process for identifying:
· The purpose or function of the behavior, and the variables that influence the behavior.
· Leads to components of an effective behavioral intervention plan.
· Based on paradigm of Antecedent > Behavior > Consequence (Response)
v Antecedent – that which precedes behavior of concern:
· External factors such as settings, tasks, people, activities, and events.
· “In regular education history class on days with are cooperative group activities”.
· “During journal time when an educator is prompting student to free write”.
· “On rainy days in the lunch room when the noise level is high”.
· Antecedents may also include internal factors such as the child’s neurology, mood, medical condition.
· Don’t overlook possible medical conditions!
· Important to define the behavior in OBSERVABLE, FACTUAL terms.
· Everyone supporting the student must understand the definition of the behavior.
· Compare terms:
· “Disruptive classroom behavior” to “rises from seat and paces quickly around perimeter of room”.
· “Verbal outburst” to “face reddens, hands begin to shake, student shouts phrases such as ‘I’m going to throw this chair’”.
· “Self-injury” to “Repeatedly strikes forehead with ball of right hand with enough force to leave red marks”.
· What does the student do? What do others do? What else happens?
· “Other students in cooperative group move away from and ignore student.”
· “Para removes student from room and activity” ends.”
· “Student appears sleepy (eyes close, slumps in chair) and begins to cry.”
v Some common functions of behavior:
· Seeking attention: common, but often inaccurate if it’s the only function considered.
· Escape or avoidance: avoiding a particular activity, person, group, unpleasant situation, uncomfortable, overwhelming or painful sensory stimuli, etc.
· Access to tangible rewards or personal gratification. (Food, money, etc.)
· Sensory input: It tastes good, feels good, affects the senses.
· Behaviors often serve more multiple functions. Remember that behavior is communication.
v Some tips for Observations:
· Observe student across settings and at a variety of different times.
· Keep the recording system as simple as possible.
· Accurately define behavior – you must know what you are looking for!
· Get appropriate background info.
v What are the crucial dimensions of behavior?
· Frequency – how often the behavior occurs;
· Topography – the description of the behavior; what it looks like (in seat, on task);
· Duration – how long the behavior lasts;
· Latency – the amount of time that elapses between “A” and “B”; for example, the amount of time between a teacher giving a direction and the student complying with that direction;
· Magnitude – force or power of the behavior (5 minute tantrum vs. a 30 minute tantrum; mumbling vs. talking loudly);
· Locus – where the behavior occurs (Structured time vs. unstructured time).
v What are positive behavioral interventions and supports?
· Developmentally, chronologically, cognitively and functionally appropriate for the student.
· Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports focus on : Modifying environmental factors to try to prevent challenging behaviors
· Addressing behavior programmatically by teaching replacement behaviors and skills.
· Promote long-term, lasting behavior change. Not crisis management.
· Not about “fixing the student”. It’s fixing student skill deficiencies, classroom settings, instructional delivery and/or curricular adaptations to support the student’s success.
Donnellan, Anne, et. al. (1988) Progress Without Punishment. Teachers College Press
Fein, Deborah, et. al. (2007) Autism in Your Classroom: A General Educator’s Guide to Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Woodbine House.
Glasberg, Beth A. (2006) Functional Behavior Assessment for People with Autism: Making Sense of Seemingly Senseless Behavior. Woodbine House
Nothbom, Ellen (2006) Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew. Future Horizons, Inc.
Mediasite Presentation:Marge Resan, Education Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Myles, Brenda Smith, et. al. (1999) Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Tantrums, Rage, and meltdowns. Autism Asperger Publishing Co.
Myles, Brenda Smith, et. al. (2000) Asperger Syndrome and Sensory Issues: Practical Solutions for Making Sense of the World.
Kranowitz, Carol Stock. (2005) The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder. Berkeley Publishing Group