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Functional Behavioral Assessment By Andrea Bilello.

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1 Functional Behavioral Assessment By Andrea Bilello

2 What is Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) ? A process for gathering information to understand the function (purpose) of behavior in specific contexts in order to develop an effective intervention plan. (Artesani, 2009) A process for gathering information to understand the function (purpose) of behavior in specific contexts in order to develop an effective intervention plan. (Artesani, 2009) A systematic means of identifying variables that may control a behavior. Both the antecedents and consequences are examined to understand why a behavior occurs in a specific environmental context. (Watson and Steege, 2003, 2009) A systematic means of identifying variables that may control a behavior. Both the antecedents and consequences are examined to understand why a behavior occurs in a specific environmental context. (Watson and Steege, 2003, 2009)

3 Why Conduct an FBA? It is mandated by IDEIA It is mandated by IDEIA It leads to effective positive behavioral support intervention plans. It leads to effective positive behavioral support intervention plans. It assists educators in understanding what triggers and maintains interfering behaviors of a student. It assists educators in understanding what triggers and maintains interfering behaviors of a student.

4 What are the Basic Assumptions of FBA? Behavior is learned Behavior is learned Behavior is contextual Behavior is contextual Behavior serves a function (predictable) Behavior serves a function (predictable) Behavior is malleable and teachable Behavior is malleable and teachable Behavior DOES NOT occur in a vacuum, it is affected directly by environmental events Behavior DOES NOT occur in a vacuum, it is affected directly by environmental events Interventions involve changing environments and teaching Interventions involve changing environments and teaching

5 Functions vs. Not Functions Functions Positive Reinforcement (to obtain, to get ) Positive Reinforcement (to obtain, to get ) Negative Reinforcement (to avoid/escape, get out of ) Negative Reinforcement (to avoid/escape, get out of ) Automatic/Sensory Reinforcement Automatic/Sensory Reinforcement Not Functions Power Power Control Control Revenge Revenge Medical Conditions Medical Conditions

6 Possible Functions Positive Reinforcement Obtain: Attention of teachers or peers Attention of teachers or peers Positive or negative attention that can be verbal, physical, or nonverbal Positive or negative attention that can be verbal, physical, or nonverbal Access to materials Access to materials Sensory Stimulation Sensory Stimulation Negative Reinforcement Escape/Avoidance: Tasks/demands Tasks/demands Activities Activities People (social interaction) People (social interaction) Settings Settings Sensory Stimulation Sensory Stimulation

7 How to Conduct an FBA? Interview (Indirect Observation) Interview (Indirect Observation) Questionaires (behavior rating scales, social skills assessments) Questionaires (behavior rating scales, social skills assessments) Direct Observation Direct Observation

8 Seven Phases of FBA ( Jim Artesani, 2009) Phase 1: Collect history and background information Phase 2: Determine target behavior Phase 3: Conduct interviews Phase 4: Conduct direct observations Phase 5: Generate a Summary Statement Phase 6: Verify the Summary Statement Phase 7: Determine the Function of the Behavior

9 Important Terms Setting Events-conditions, events or sensations that increase the probability that problem will occur (Kantor, 1959) Setting Events-conditions, events or sensations that increase the probability that problem will occur (Kantor, 1959) Antecedents (Triggers)- What is happening right before the behavior occurs? Antecedents (Triggers)- What is happening right before the behavior occurs? Behavior- What the student is doing? (hit, spit, yell, walk away from teacher) Behavior- What the student is doing? (hit, spit, yell, walk away from teacher) Consequences- What happens after the behavior? What maintains the behavior? (positive or negative reinforcement, punishment, extinction) Consequences- What happens after the behavior? What maintains the behavior? (positive or negative reinforcement, punishment, extinction)

10 Phases of FBA Phase 1: Record Review-includes education records, medical reports, psychological reports, etc Phase 2: Determine and define the target behavior includes a general category of the behavior WITH specific descriptors includes a general category of the behavior WITH specific descriptors Definitions must be observable and measureable Definitions must be observable and measureable (Examples: Physical aggression is defined as hitting, pushing and kicking staff. Off task is defined as lying on the floor and refusing to move.)

11 Phase 2: Determine and Define Target Behavior Stay away from unclear definitions such as: Terms that are judgmental (ex. rude, annoying) Terms that are judgmental (ex. rude, annoying) Statements that are too general (ex. aggressive behavior, off task) Statements that are too general (ex. aggressive behavior, off task) Terms that are not observable or measurable (ex. always, sometimes, never) Terms that are not observable or measurable (ex. always, sometimes, never)

12 Phase 3: Structured Interviews A structured interview looks at setting events, antecedents, behaviors of concern, and consequences-functions. A structured interview looks at setting events, antecedents, behaviors of concern, and consequences-functions. Setting events provide information about what settings, events or people are where the behavior occurs AND does not occur. Setting events provide information about what settings, events or people are where the behavior occurs AND does not occur.

13 Possible Setting Events Curriculum/Instructional (ex. difficult tasks, unpredictable schedule, slow pace of instruction) Curriculum/Instructional (ex. difficult tasks, unpredictable schedule, slow pace of instruction) Biological/Medical/Personal Variables (ex. sickness, medications, fatigue, hunger, mood) Biological/Medical/Personal Variables (ex. sickness, medications, fatigue, hunger, mood) Social (ex. presence of staff, peers or amount of staff or adult attention, proximity of staff, substitutes) Social (ex. presence of staff, peers or amount of staff or adult attention, proximity of staff, substitutes) Environmental (ex. inappropriate lighting, noisy environment, uncomfortable seating) Environmental (ex. inappropriate lighting, noisy environment, uncomfortable seating)

14 Important Things to Remember about Setting Events They may precede or accompany the behavioral event (temporally proximal). They may precede or accompany the behavioral event (temporally proximal). They may be temporally distant from the behavior. They may be temporally distant from the behavior. Temporally distant setting events may create an emotional or physiological state present in the current setting (Halle & Spradlin, 1993) Temporally distant setting events may create an emotional or physiological state present in the current setting (Halle & Spradlin, 1993)

15 Phase 4: Conduct direct observations Observation should be conducted across a variety of times, settings, and topics Observation should be conducted across a variety of times, settings, and topics Types of Tools for Direct Observation: ABC Recording ABC Recording Behavior Streaming Behavior Streaming Scatterplots-provides information about when a behavior is most likely or least likely to occur Scatterplots-provides information about when a behavior is most likely or least likely to occur Data Collection-frequency, duration, partial or whole interval recording, etc Data Collection-frequency, duration, partial or whole interval recording, etc

16 Phase 5: Generating a Summary Statement After obtaining information through interviews and direct observation, you summarize and analyze your data to find patterns. After obtaining information through interviews and direct observation, you summarize and analyze your data to find patterns. To answer questions such as where, when and with whom is the behavior most likely to occur, and what is the function of the behavior you need to develop a hypothesis statement. To answer questions such as where, when and with whom is the behavior most likely to occur, and what is the function of the behavior you need to develop a hypothesis statement. A hypothesis statement describes the behavior and the conditions. It should be clear and unbiased. A hypothesis statement describes the behavior and the conditions. It should be clear and unbiased. Ex. When Brian completes his work early he screams and destroys his materials. His behavior prompts his teacher to initiate an alternative activity. Ex. Based on information gathered during the FBA, it appears that John’s verbal outbursts are triggered by being given difficult academic tasks and are maintained by avoiding completing these tasks.

17 Phase 6: Verify the Summary Statement Functional analysis is used to verify or confirm hypothesis statements regarding the function of behaviors. Functional analysis is used to verify or confirm hypothesis statements regarding the function of behaviors. “Functional analysis refers to the process of gathering information to determine relations between variables, particular functional relations (Shiver, Anderson, & Proctor, 2001 from Steege & Watson, 2009, p. 162) “Functional analysis refers to the process of gathering information to determine relations between variables, particular functional relations (Shiver, Anderson, & Proctor, 2001 from Steege & Watson, 2009, p. 162) Functional analysis requires knowledge and training beyond the scope of this course and most educators’ training in schools. Functional analysis requires knowledge and training beyond the scope of this course and most educators’ training in schools. Most behaviors do not require a functional analysis because interviews and direct observation often provide enough information to determine a function of a student’s behavior. Most behaviors do not require a functional analysis because interviews and direct observation often provide enough information to determine a function of a student’s behavior.

18 Phase 7: Determining the Function of the Behavior Once you have determined the function of the behavior (to obtain or avoid/escape), you can use that information to develop a positive behavior support plan. Once you have determined the function of the behavior (to obtain or avoid/escape), you can use that information to develop a positive behavior support plan. When developing a positive behavior support plan focus on preventative strategies, teaching strategies (teaching a replacement behavior), and the use of reinforcement to increase desired behavior and prevent/decrease interfering behavior. When developing a positive behavior support plan focus on preventative strategies, teaching strategies (teaching a replacement behavior), and the use of reinforcement to increase desired behavior and prevent/decrease interfering behavior.

19 Resources James Artesani (PBIS Workshops and lecture information obtained from SED 598 Functional Behavioral Assessment) James Artesani (PBIS Workshops and lecture information obtained from SED 598 Functional Behavioral Assessment) Steege, M. W. & Watson, T. S. (2009) Conducting School-Based Functional Behavioral Assessments: A Practitioners Guide (2 nd ed. ) New York: Guilford Press. Steege, M. W. & Watson, T. S. (2009) Conducting School-Based Functional Behavioral Assessments: A Practitioners Guide (2 nd ed. ) New York: Guilford Press.


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