Wednesday, March 24, 2010

TOPIC 10: Function based Interventions for students

Function Based Interventions for Students
-First we need to understand what is meant by Function Based Interventions.  Let us begin by looking at each word and how it is viewed in relation to behavior.
Function - this word is used to tell WHY a behavior is occuring - what is the student gaining from this behavior?  To find out the team (parents, teachers, special educators, administration team) must sit down together and answer some important questions.
  • What is happening right before the behavior?
  • What the behavior really looks like
  • What happens directly after the behavior?
Based - this means that the team found what the function is and now they must find the perfect fit of a replacement behavior.  This simply means find another activity that the student can do in the place of the undesirable activity.

Intervention - intervention means to intervene, come before in my mind.  This means the team makes a plan that will fit this kid - not all kids - just this one.  The team puts into place what will replace the negative behavior and they plan for teaching it to the student and then how will all people involved react when the problem behavior occurs after student is taught the 'replacement behavior'.

When a behavior occurs which is not manageable by common practices within the classroom a teacher will call for help from others involved with the student.  This calling together is generally within the school setting in which a variety of teachers come together and offer up suggestions.  The school in which I work calls this the SIT Team - Student Improvement Team.  If this still is not beneficial then the special educators begin filling out what is called a Functional Behavior Assessment.

Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)- is a process of gathering Baseline DATA/Information to determine WHY a behavior is occurring and WHY the behavior does not change after using typical interventions.
When do we use a Functional Behavioral Assessment?  Good professional practice dictate a problem solving approach to managing problem behaviors in the school (Crone, Deanne A., and Horner, Robert H., 2003).
What type of situation would warrant this?
  • behavior is severe and/or complex (danger to self and/or others)
  • IEP team determines the behavior as a High level of concern
  • Schools are required to conduct an FBA for any student with a disability who is at risk for expulsion, alternative school placement, or more than 10 days of suspension.
  • more information is needed to determine effective and appropriate interventions
  • Relevant antecedents, consequences and functions have not been identified through other avenues
  • Behaviors and problems that connot be defined
How can a FBA be conducted?:
  • Informal observations
  • Formal observations
  • Interviews
  • Checklist
  • Data Sheets
  • Baseline Data
  • Scatter Plots
  • ABC Chart
What is the process of making a FBA for a student?
ERASE is one quick question format for teachers on the run
E - Explain - What is the problem?
R - Reason - What do you think the student is getting or avoiding ?
A - Appropriate Behavior - What do you want the student to do instead?
S - Support - How can you help this happen more often?
E - Evaluate - How will we measure success?

1.  Identify measurement system
  • observations
  • problematic behaviors
  • Interviews
  • Identify routines, settings and people associated with behavior
  • Define behaivor - stay away from using labels (ADHD, Austistic)
  • Avoid vague descriptors - be very clear and concise and give a clear beginning and end to the behavior
2.  Look for escalating chain of problem behaviors
  • Restless movement
  • taps or engages in repeated movements
  • objects verbally
  • turns over desk, throws books and pencils across room
3.Look for same 'Response Class" - a group of behaviors that may occur for the same function
4.  Use Direct observation strategies
  • permeanent product
  • event recording
  • Interval recording
  • latency recording
  • duration recording
5.  Inter Rater Agreement- include many individuals taking data at a variety of times through the day
  • helps to confirm that the operational definition is objective
  • Creates consistent approach to measuring behaivor
  • Increases confidence that you are measuring what you said you were going to measure
6.  Pull the team together and get some baseline information about the Function of the Behavior - is it
  1. Escape mechanism
  2. Control issues
  3. Attention seeking
  4. Tangible - need
While the team is together brainstorm the parts of the hypothesis
  1. Setting events - what is happening in students life?
  2. Antecedent - What is happening right before behavior?
  3. Behavior - what is the behavior?  Use clear language that could explain to person who has not met the child
  4. Consequence - what happens just after the behavior or as a result of the behavior?  What has the student gained?
The team then should create a three part intervention plan.  In this plan there should be :
  1. Preventing section - How will you change the situation that seems to be associated with the behavior problem?
  2. Teaching section - What other behavior or skill will you teach the child that will help the child get their needs met in an acceptable manner
  3. Reacting and Crisis Management section - How will you react when the problem behavior occurs in a way that does not 'feed into' the students inapporpreate responses and/or cause greater stress in the classroom?
What are some interventions that work?  For each student it is something different, with each plan there is a different focus.  There are some techniques, if you will that work but the only way to find the right fit is to practice and look for the best fit for your student.
Ideas for good interventions?
  • Planned ignoring
  • signal interference
  • proximity control
  • involvement in interest/relationships
  • activity interruption
  • regrouping
  • restructuring
  • humor
  • refuse to participate
  • removal from the group
  • seek assistance
FBA Cookbook compiled by Kathy Growney, Kristi Schang, Melanie French, Sue Werner
Notes from R. Freemans SPED Class843 2/17/10

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