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Conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment

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1 Conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment
Tracy Gershwin Mueller, Ph.D. University of Northern Colorado


3 Before Conducting an FBA…
Assess the overall classroom environment Ask your self if the student is “aware” of the expected behaviors Talk with Teachers, parents, and student to see if there are any potential “setting events” that you may not be aware of MOST IMPORTANT~ Be sure that all universal interventions are already being practiced!!

4 FBA: A Step by Step Process Every behavior serves a purpose
Your job is to find that purpose and replace the problem behavior with a more appropriate one.

5 Step 1. Identify Behavior: Describe in terms that are observable and measurable
Example: Physical Aggression Observable: Striking or hitting another person with an open or closed fist. Measurable: Observed when student reaches arm to another person and strikes them on part of their body. This will be measured using event recording. Each occurrence of hitting will be measured as one event.

6 Sources of Data Step 2: Collect Data: Interviews Record Review
Behavior Assessment Questionnaires, checklists, behavior rating scales Direct Observation Functional Analysis Seek triangulation of data to support hypotheses Source 2 Source 1 Source 3

7 The ABC’s of Behavior SETTING EVENT: Situations or characteristics that “set up” the problem? ANTECEDENT: what happens before the behavior to “trigger it”? BEHAVIOR: what is the specific problem behavior? CONSEQUENCE: our response/”the payoff”?

8 Types of Observations Descriptive and Anecdotal Recording (ABC)
Antecedent Behavior Consequence 12: child sat next Sara hit child child left area- Sara to Sara sitting alone Structured Observations Interval Recording (observe during interval times) Event Recording (tally the number of events) Duration Recording (how long the behavior lasts) Latency Recording (record time between antecedent and behavior)

9 Setting Events Look and Listen for …
Broader issues that may be influencing behavior: Daily activity schedule Predictability of routines Variety of activities or materials Social relationships Preferences of the student Medical and physical issues (nutrition, illness, medications, sleep patterns) Challenging family situations

10 Antecedents or Triggers Look and Listen For…
Under what circumstances is the behavior most/least likely Changes in the environment Time of day/activities Clarity of expectations of activity/task Reinforcement of expected behavior Nature of interactions (tone, proximity, contact) Amount & type of attention (peer, group, adult) Child’s ability matched to the activity

11 Maintaining Consequences Look and Listen For…
WHAT DO THEY GET or AVOID? Social reaction/attention Change in activity/routine Increases assistance from adults or peers Access to materials, activities, food/drink Sensory stimulation or reduction Change in the physical environment Allowed space or movement Delays activity/event Avoids negative attention

12 Step 3. Formulate your hypothesis The WHY’s of Behavior
Pos Reinf Neg Reinf

13 Step 4. Develop a Behavior Intervention Plan
Make the behavior: irrelevant (no longer meaningful), inefficient (i.e., teach a socially appropriate replacement behavior that can achieve the same function), and ineffective (i.e., minimize the likelihood of any reinforcement when the problem behaviors occur)

14 Step 5. Evaluate Be sure to create a fidelity of treatment plan (who, what where, when, why?) Follow-up to see if the intervention is working Continue to take data Interview key stakeholders Modify if needed

15 Step 6: Plan for Sustainability
Self-management Self- advocacy Self-regulation

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