2 Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Training Modules This is the second of four PBS training modules.2. Functional Behavior AssessmentThe other modules should be taken in the following order:1. Collaborative Teaming and Person-Centered Planning3. Instructional Issues and Strategies4. Developing, Implementing, and Evaluating Positive Behavior Support Plans These modules are designed to support a team as they go through a PositiveBehavior Support process with a child or adult with problem behaviors. Let's beginwith the second module by reviewing the goal of Florida's PBS Project and thedefinition of Positive Behavior Support.
4 The Functional Behavior Assessment and Person-Centered Planning As previously reviewed in module 1, Person-CenteredPlanning is a process for learning about a person'spast, his or her present environment and his or hergoals for the future. That process of gathering data issimilar in many ways to the FBA process. The maindifference however, is that the PCP focus is broad andencompasses any pertinent information as it relates tothe person and his or her well-being. The FBA processhas a more narrow focus and information is gatheredas it relates specifically to the problem behavior(s)that are being targeted.
5 The Purpose of the Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) The Functional Behavioral Assessment is aproblem-solving process for gatheringinformation about an individual’s problembehavior. It relies on a variety of techniquesand strategies to help identify thefunction/purpose of the problem behavior,and aids in the selection of interventions todirectly address the problem behavior.
6 Functional Behavior Assessment Functional Behavior Assessment is a PROCESS forUNDERSTANDING the functions or purpose of behavior throughthe recognition of environmental factors that “trigger” thebehavior and the actual consequences that maintain thebehavior.This definition may not make much sense to you. There are lots ofwords like function, trigger, and consequence that may be newto you. We hope that these words and this definition will makemore sense to you as we continue. Let’s start with the definitionof “behavior”.
7 Understanding Behavior Behavior is anything we say or do. It is how we react to our environment.It is important to understand why problem behaviors occur in order to effectivelyintervene and resolve the problem behavior. Behaviors are directly affected byevents in the environment that occur prior to the behavior. These events orcircumstances in the environment help “trigger” the behavior.Similarly, the events that immediately follow the behavior (consequence) canhelp maintain, increase, or decrease problem behaviors. Behaviors that lead tosatisfying outcomes are likely to be repeated; behaviors that lead to undesiredoutcomes are less likely to be repeated.When we become aware of what occurs prior to the behavior and what occursafter the behavior we are better equipped to identify “why” the problem behavior isoccurring. Understanding the problem behavior’s purpose or “function” makes it possible tointervene effectively and resolve the problem behavior.
9 Basic Principles of Behavior In order to fully appreciate how “understanding the functions or purpose of behavior” can make it possible to change, modify, or replace inappropriate behavior, it is first necessary that you understand some basic principles of behavior.1. Behavior is related to its context. The things going on in our lives or in the immediate environment directly influence our behavior. For example, how do you think John would behave after being punched by another student? Would his test taking behavior be different if he was in a hot room? Could his behavior be affected if he didn’t sleep last night?2. Behaviors change as people mature and develop new skills and enter new environments and settings. For example, a person’s behavior may change depending on whether they are at a formal dinner or attending a backyard barbeque. Similarly, most 12-year-old children don’t act the same as 50-year-old adults3. Behaviors have a “reason” for occurring. If behavior produces something positive it is likely to increase or be maintained. If not, it is likely to decrease. Therefore, any responses to behavior (consequences) may increase or decrease the occurrence of problem behavior
10 The Context of Behavior We reviewed that behavior is often influenced by “factors” in the environment.We refer to those factors as either a SLOW TRIGGER or a FAST TRIGGER. Triggersare events that happen before the behavior and increase the likelihood that thebehavior will occur.SLOW TRIGGERS (setting events) may be more distant in time, yet increase thelikelihood of behavior.Examples: forgot to take medicine, argument with parents the night before, got up too late to eat breakfastFAST TRIGGERS (immediate antecedents) are those events that occurimmediately before the behavior.Examples: demand made, working as part of a group, non-preferred activity assigned
11 What are Problem Behaviors? Problem behaviors include any act or series of actsthat may impede the learning of the student or otherstudents in the environment. These behaviors mightinclude but not limited to:hitting other students with fistsbiting teachers and paraprofessionalsthrowing work materials on the floorbanging your head against the wallleaving class without permissionproperty destruction
12 Defining the BehaviorIt is important that the behavior that is being targetedin your Functional Behavior Assessment is defined sothat it is both observable and measurable. Forexample, the meaning of "tantrum" may vary fromone person to the next. “Tantrum” can be defined asany of the following:1. crying and throwing objects2. laying on the floor, stomping feet3. screaming at everyone in the room
13 What is the Consequence of Behavior? What is the Consequence of the Behavior?As previously mentioned, the response (or consequence) to a behavior may increase or decrease the occurrence of problem behavior depending on whether the outcome for that person was positive or negative.For example:Latoya wants to make more friends at school. She makes faces at the teacher and throws paper when the teacher’s back is turned. Her peers laugh at her behavior as she is escorted to the principal's office. Later that day, she is asked to attend a birthday party for another student in her class.The desired outcome for Latoya's problem behavior (i.e., making more friends) was obtained and she will be more likely to engage in the behavior again.
14 What is the Consequence of Behavior? Or perhaps? Latoya's peers may have relayed that her behavior was “childish” and “silly.” Her desire outcome would not have been obtained, making her problem behavior less likely to occur in the future.Note: It is important to note that Latoya was sent to the office for her problem behavior. However, her “punishment” was not effective since the function of her behavior was “to gain friendships” and she was able to successfully do so regardless of the punishment she received.
15 Functions of Behavior Now, by observing “triggers” for behavior and observing what follows the behavior,we can begin to understand the function ofthe problem behavior or “why” thatbehavior is occurring. This information isessential in developing the best behaviorsupport plan for that individual.
16 Two Major Functions of Behavior Most all behaviors occur for a reason. Behavior has two majorfunctions/purposes: either to GET something or to GET AWAY fromsomething.Take a look at the following chart. Try to think of several behaviors youhave encountered or some of your own behavior. Are you surprisedthat they all fit somewhere in the chart?
17 Two Major Functions of Behavior Look at the following sample behaviors and notice that the function is either to AVOID or GET something.Sample Behavior FunctionHave a headache & take aspirin to GET AWAY from a sensory experience Eat ice cream to GET a sensory experienceThrow paper in class to GET AWAY from some tangible activityDye hair blue to GET attention
19 What Do We Learn From A FBA? A Functional Behavior Assessment tells us more specifically about the sequence of Interactions related to the student of concern. It helps us to identify slow triggers, fast triggers, consequences, communication and social skills, strengths and preferences, and the behavior history of the child.We also gain knowledge of beliefs, values, resources, and concerns of the family,school and support staff.Used as a preventative process, the Functional Behavior Assessment processshould begin before the occurrence of multiple suspensions or before a crisisoccurs.Research supports the proactive use of Functional Behavior Assessment and it isrecognized as best practice and designed so that the information gatheredleads to strategies that prevent the behavior from occurring.
20 Who Participates in a FBA Process? The Functional Behavior Assessment is typically conducted by a group of individuals who knowthe student well. These individuals may include the child's teacher, speech pathologist,counselor, behavior specialist, family members, etc.The family (potentially any family member involved in developing and implementing thebehavior support plan) are encouraged to participate. They often provide invaluableinformation regarding the child's behavior history, health history, and prior successes.School personnel often provide important information regarding the student's behavior atschool including information regarding the individual's motivation, academic abilities, andsocial skills with same age peers.The individual engaged in the behavior(s) being targeted are encouraged to participatewhen possible.Information that can be obtained from other persons who know the child in other contextsoutside of the family or school (e.g., swimming or soccer coach, after school or day carestaff, etc.) may provide valuable information in the process.
21 Steps in the FBA Process Steps in the Functional Behavior Assessment ProcessStep 1: Review Existing RecordsStep 2: Conduct InterviewsStep 3: Make Direct ObservationsStep 4: Collect Additional Data, if necessaryStep 5: Generate Hypotheses about the Behavior
22 Step 1: Review Existing Records The first step in the Functional Behavior Assessment process is to examine all existing recordsand document history. Search for information that may be affecting behavior or had asignificant impact on past behavior. Such information may include health history, academicsuccess, relocation, suspension/expulsion information, previous behavior plans, etc.A simple review of records often leads to that “missing piece of the puzzle” necessary tounderstand the reason for the problem behavior(s).Here are examples of information that might be found in a record review. Ask yourself if anyof the following information would be beneficial and assist in understanding why the problembehavior is occurring:history of abuse failed hearing/vision test death of a parent recently placed in foster care attended school a total of 4 weeks in the past 2 years frequent medication changes
23 Step 2: Conduct Interviews An interview usually consists of a set of questions that focus on the triggers ofbehavior, a description of the behavior, the responses to the behavior, what thechild gets from engaging in the behavior (function), and the strengths andinterests of the child. It is important to also seek family input about lifestyle issues if possible.Interviews should be conducted with those most familiar with the child. Those interviewedmay include the child’s teacher(s), parent(s), caretaker, social worker, after-school programdirectors, etc.Questions typically included in a behavior interview includes:How would you describe the problem behavior?How often does the problem behavior occur?When does the problem behavior occur most frequently?Are there any situations in which the problem behavior is more likely to occur?What happens following the problem behavior?What helps to make the problem behavior less likely to occur?
24 Interview Form INTERVIEW FORM Person Interviewed: _________ Date: _____________Subject of Interview: _________ Interviewer: _________1). Which of ________’s behaviors are of concern to you?2). Describe the behavior (For example, when Suzie has “tantrums”, she screams loudly, throws her books to the floor and pushes her desk into the student sitting in front of her).3). How often does the behavior occur?4). When/where is the behavior MOST likely to occur?5). When/where is the behavior LEAST likely to occur?6). What is usually happening right BEFORE the behavior occurs?7). What usually happens right AFTER the behavior occurs?
25 Step 3: Make Direct Observations Observations usually follow an interview to confirm and enhance the informationgained from the interview. Observations should be conducted in theenvironment in which the problem behavior is most often seen, and can includemore than one setting, such as the classroom and home.When conducting an observation, indicate the setting events or triggers thatoccurred prior to the problem behavior. Describe what the problem behaviorlooked like in such detail that someone reading your description might beable to form an accurate picture of the events. Be sure to also indicate theevents and actions that immediately followed the problem behavior and notethe response to those events/actions.More formal observation can also be conducted through the use of either anABC observation form or a Scatter Plot Form.
26 Collecting ABC DataABC data collection is a method of gathering information to identify events that precede the behavior, events that follow the behavior, and environmental patterns.You can download a blank form on our website.
27 Scatter Plot DataA Scatter Plot is a method of recording occurrence andnonoccurrence of behavior across activities, routines, and timeperiods, providing a visual display of patterns.The Scatter Plot is used to help identify patterns of behavior andsuggests possible sources of environmental control.For example, by charting each time the problem behavioroccurs you may begin to see patterns emerge during specific times ofthe day and/or during specific activities. This information may lead youto modify certain environmental influences to try to decrease theoccurrence of problem behavior.
28 Step 4: Collect Additional Data Data is useful to help identify patterns of behavior (e.g., Mason’s inappropriate behaviorsoccur most frequently during math class and immediately following lunch).Specifically, data should be collected when:The Functional Behavior Assessment team decides more information is necessary about the student in the school setting(s)The Functional Behavior Assessment team wants specific information about the behaviors (e.g., frequency, duration, times of day, etc.)The collection of data can also give a clear picture of how often the inappropriate behaviorswere occurring prior to implementing an intervention. Therefore, we can compare the datafrom before our intervention to after our intervention and determine if the inappropriatebehaviors are decreasing (i.e., determine whether our intervention is working).Specifically, data may be collected when:School staff or administration needs information supporting the Positive Behavior Support processIntervention success or outcomes need documentationSome ways to document success is to count and see if the behavior is decreasing over time or check if the duration of behavior has decreased over time
30 Step 5: Generate a Hypothesis After gathering information for the Functional Behavior Assessment, synthesize and organize the information and try to identify patterns of occurrence and nonoccurrence.The goal is then to generate hypotheses that describe the context of slow and fast triggers, problem behaviors, and the function of the behavior.A HYPOTHESIS is one’s best-informed guess about the relation between environmental events or conditions and an individual’s problem behavior. When developing your hypothesis, it may be helpful to use the following formula:- When (describe fast trigger and/or slow trigger) occurs?.- The individual does (describe the behavior)?- To get or escape or avoid (describe functions)
31 Step 5: Generate a Hypothesis Example: Hypothesis Statement"When Beverly,(Fast trigger) is not engaged with others or when she’s engaged in activities for 15 minutes or longer (especially during lunch or free time)(Slow trigger) did not get to sleep before 11 p.m. The previous evening or does not feel well(The student does) she screams, slaps her face and pulls her hair?(In order to get) to gain access to teacher attention.?
32 Module Review In this module you have been given an introduction to: Why behavior occursBasic principles of behaviorWhy we need to know the function of the behaviorThe Functional Behavior Assessment processThe tools needed to conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment