Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBA) are conducted when a child or teen is demonstrating behaviors that interfere with his or her learning or the learning of others at home, school and/or in the community. This type of assessment comes from the field of applied behavior analysis. It is the process of determining the cause (or “function”) of an interfering behavior so that an appropriate intervention plan can be designed that correctly addresses the behavior increasing the likelihood that the behavior plan will be successful.
Most FBAs are conducted by school personnel, are completed during the school day and are required by Pennsylvania and Federal Law for behaviors that are not resolved by known strategies. There are times when a FBA might be required for an after school activity, community activity, at work or at home. This is where are our services for this kind of evaluation would be warranted.
During an FBA the evaluator will document the Antecedents (what occurs before the behavior of concern), by observing and collecting other data from others in the same environment at the same time. The evaluator will also observe and collect data on the Target Behavior (the behavior of concern) focusing on the frequency, intensity and duration of the behavior. Last the evaluator will observe and collect data on the Consequences (the responses and reactions that immediately follow the behavior of concern), to identify the responses and reactions that are maintaining or increasing the Target Behavior. The FBA also takes into account clinical interviews of school staff, teachers, student and parents.
Specific Subcategories of the FBA include:
- Description of the Target Behavior. This analysis attempts to describe the presenting behaviors in such detail that they are objectively measurable.
- Antecedent Analysis. The antecedent analysis attempts to identify the conditions that control the display of the problematic behaviors. Some of the specific antecedents explored include the setting, specific persons, times of the day, and specific events that may occur regularly in the individual’s environment.
- Consequence Analysis. The consequence analysis attempts to identify the reactions and management styles that might contribute to and/or increase the likelihood of adaptive and maladaptive behaviors occurring. It also focuses on the effects that the behaviors might have on the immediate social and physical environment, on the possible function(s) served by the problem behaviors, and on the possible events that might serve to maintain or inhibit their occurrence. For example, these might include social attention, escape from demands and/or delay of demand, and/or sensory gratification.
- Analysis of Meaning. The analysis of meaning brings together all of the above analyses, and it attempts to identify the functions service by the target behavior.
- Recommendations. Based on all data and analysis of meaning, recommendations to increase the individual’s success are presented and a behavior plan it written.