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Functional Behavioral Assessments

What is it?

Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs) are evaluation techniques that determine the function of a student's behavior. These assessments help teacher's understand the reasons behind behaviors in order to determine the best way to add positive interventions to help the student succeed.

  • Understanding the motivation behind an undesired behavior is paramount. All behaviors are repeated due to the results that come from the behavior. Studying the function of the behavior through observation and data collection through documentation aides in the goal setting process for the student. Teachers, diagnosticians, case managers, or other school personnel involved in the education of the child can observe a student. The student's environment, class circumstances, people in proximity and the situation are all considered. The observer will carefully note events as they unfold. This includes what leads up to the undesired before, what time the behavior started, how long the behavior lasts, how many times the behavior took place during the observation period, and the results of the behavior. A helpful tool in evaluating students with an FBA is an ABC analysis/chart. An ABC analysis includes observations to record the student's behavior as well as the Antecedent, Behavior, and the Consequence of that behavior. During analysis, the antecedent tells the observer what occurs prior to the behavior. The observer records the data of the antecedent as well as the event that follows, or the consequence. The consequence is the event that seems to maintain the behavior, whether it is positive or negative. After the analysis, educators can create a plan with evidence-based interventions to positively assist the student with correcting the behavior.

  • Based on the results of the FBA, a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) can be created. The purpose of a BIP to implement a plan to help the student improve challenging behaviors. BIPs are individualized and should promote positive behaviors with a reward system. This provides the student with more intensive intervention and is a written document that lists all personnel that should follow the BIP. The document is created by the IEP team and sets goals for desired behaviors. The ultimate goals set forth should increase the desired behavior and reduce or eliminate the undesired behaviors.

Examples of Behavioral Intervention Strategies

  • Setting clear routines so students know what to expect each day.

  • Allowing frequent breaks.

  • Silent Signals between teacher and student to allow for minimal disruption to the class.

  • Giving the student special tasks to help prevent challenging behaviors that are easily anticipated.

  • Positive tangible reinforcements help students of all ages want to earn more positive reinforcements.

Evidence-Based Practices

Evidence-based practices (EBPs) in academics refer to teaching strategies that have been researched and proven to be effective. No single evidence-based practice will be successful with all students, but there are many strategies that have proven to be successful with a wide range of students. When teachers implement EBPs in their classroom they can be confident that the strategies have proof to back up the success it claims, rather than blindly trusting a practice because a company or colleague approved it. EBPs place student success at the forefront of implementation. Overall, EBPs improve the quality of instruction delivered to students. These practices should be used as much as possible in general instruction, and are also good tools for teachers during Response to Intervention (RTI) procedures for a student's academic needs.

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