Functional Behavior Assessment

Jun 30, 2021 | Behavior, Blog

What is a Functional Behavior Assessment?

Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) is a process schools use to understand why a student is acting or behaving a certain way. 

Here are some questions they are looking to address:

  •       What is triggering (causing) the behavior?
  •       Is the student trying to achieve something or avoid something?
  •       Is it sensory-related? 

The assessment also looks at addressed or modified with students who have needs. The FBA can also lead to a Behavior Intervention plan. 

What is a Behavior Intervention Plan?

A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is a written plan that teaches and rewards good behavior. It can be a single page or many pages. The purpose is to prevent or stop misbehavior, not just punish the child. The plan has three key parts. First, the plan lists the problem behavior. Second, it describes why it’s happening. Third, it puts in place strategies or supports to help.


Who is included on the FBA team?

The assessment may be given by trained professional, such as a School Psychologist, or Behavior Analyst. School administrators, Speech Therapists, student/parents, General Education Teacher, and Special Education teachers may be a part of the IEP team. 

What is the process for an FBA? 

  1. Define the student’s behavior- The student’s behavior is defined, explained, in an objective. (An example: Joe folded his arms and started screaming when he was asked to write his name).
  2. Collect and examine information – The team may put together information from the teacher’s evaluation of the student, school records, and student’s test results, or parents’ and student’s feedback. Data gathering including how long, how many times, how intense to understand, how much impact there is, and what is continuing the behavior.
  3. Understand the reason for the behavior- The team tries to figure out why the student is responding a certain way; Tries to understand the reason for the behavior. All the information from the FBA assessment together helps form a hypothesis. The hypothesis tells us what we think is promoting the behavior, and why the child is motivated to do this behavior. The FBA and hypothesis help form an effective Behavior Intervention Plan because it is addressing those motivations in different ways. 
  4. Create a plan – School Psychologist, and the people that are a part of the IEP meeting are members of a team.  The team reviews the possible cause of the behavior. Then the team makes changes at school and observes to see if the student’s behavior changes.