Thursday, February 18, 2010

TOPIC 5 : Functional Assessment

Basic Concepts of a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)

1. Selecting the behavior in explicit terms is one of the most important starting parts in creating a FBA
a. Select the type of measuring tool that will be used to document and measure the inappropriate behaviors
b. Find the function or reason the behavior is occurring
c. Identify the areas the behavior occurs in most

2. Define areas of importance
a. Setting events – what is happening in the child’s environment
b. Antecedent – what is happening right before the behavior begins
c. Problem behavior – needs to have a definition that can be observed by anyone who may enter the room
d. Consequences
i. Positive reinforcement
ii. Negative reinforcement
iii. Sensory or automatic reinforcement

3. Select an appropriate measurement form
a. Duration measurement
b. Latency measurement
c. Partial time
d. Whole time
e. Momentary time
f. Direct observations
g. Indirect observations
h. Check list of behavior

Methods for conducting the FBA

Types of Measurement tools used in finding, identifying and defining problem behaviors:

Types of indirect observational tools
1. questionnaires
2. check list
3. rating scales
4. reviewing files
5. reviewing old evaluations, medical records, or other personal files available on the individual
Commonly used tools are:
Motivation Assessment Scale (MAP)
• Motivation Analysis Rating Scale (MARS)
• Questions About Behavior Function (QABF)
Setting Events Check list

The Disadvantages of Indirect Observation:
1. Observations by various observers are not always accurate
2. Data taken different times of the day
3. Interest to receive extra supports by those involved may give higher points on rating scales
4. Observers may have preconceived notions of the problems

The disadvantages may be addressed by:
1. Using multiple informants
2. Survey informants on different data days
3. Use with other forms of measurement tools

Types of Direct observations:
1. ABC analysis
2. Functional Assessment observation forms
3. Scatter plot

Disadvantages to this type of observation:
1. May require extra training of personnel
2. The actual presence of an outside observer may trigger behavior
3. limited time
4. Observer may be affected by reactivity

The disadvantages may be addressed by:
1. Use several data days
2. Use a variety of settings for gathering data
3. Have personnel that frequent the class/area collect data
4. Personalize the measurement tool
5. Use the appropriate measurement tool for the behavior

A functional analysis is used to identify patterns between the behavior and other events in the environment and to generate hypotheses about what might be controlling the behavior.
Functional analysis of antecedent and consequences:
1. Attention condition – the evaluator gives the individual attention only when the target behavior occurs
2. Tangible or toy removal – when the individual begins to show the behavior item decided upon earlier is provided for set amount of time and then removed
3. Escape condition – When the problem behavior occurs work materials are removed and a short break is given
4. Alone condition – individual is left in room by themselves without materials or people in which to interact
5. Control condition – A group of preferred activities or toys are available with out tasks. The experimenter interacts with individual with ongoing positive interaction for positive behaviors

Antecedent based Functional Analysis – functional analysis which is conducted with antecedents for problem behavior is presented.
1. Usually used with multi element experimental design

Disadvantages for Functional Analysis:
1. educators are reluctant and concerned about purposefully triggering behavior
2. time that is needed
3. man power needed to conduct
4. may shape a ‘new’ problem behavior

TEAM MEMBERS in the FBA – All members involved with the individual should have a part in the actual collection and decision making process. The individual should be involved as much as possible in the process as well.
Team members may be:
• Social worker
• Teacher
• Parent
• Specials teachers
• Nurse
• Principal
• Staff within the school or other setting
• Doctors
• Special education teachers
• Paraprofessionals
• Individual themselves
• Occupational therapist
• Speech therapist
• Siblings
• Grandparents


1. Build your hypothesis - this is the time to make decisions about the reason the behavior occurs and to involve all team members in the process
2. Interpret the data
3. Once the team has confirmed the hypothesis the FBA may be written

1. Develop a clear description of the behavior
2. Decide what assessment tools will be used
3. Take meeting time to decide who will take notes and delegate responsibilities
4. Bring together results of assessments and data collected with the team to develop and confirm the team's hypothesis
5. Write the actual report

FBA Cookbook By the Unified School District #500's%20forms/SETTING%20EVENTS%20CHECKLIST.pdf

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