A Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is typically an assessment for students in the classroom. The main purpose of the assessment is to understand why a student displays a particular behavior. In understanding the reason behind the behavior, it helps teachers and staff to support the child and implement interventions to change the behavior.
What is a Functional Behavioral Assessment and How is it Used?
A Functional Behavioral Assessment is the process of gaining information about a student and analyzing it in order to understand the reasoning behind the action. There are various ways to gather information for an FBA.
One way is through a Direct Assessment where a teacher, psychologist, or behavioral specialist will observe the child’s behaviors and track the frequency of behaviors and the antecedents to the behavior.
There is also an Indirect Assessment where the teachers, parents, other important adults, and sometimes the student will be interviewed to discuss important information regarding the behaviors.
After the information is collected, a team of teachers, parents, and specialists will meet to discuss the results of the assessment, and use the analysis to implement interventions for the student in the classroom.
If a student has an IEP, the information and interventions are typically added to the IEP. The supports put in place will be closely monitored and the team will continue to look for behavioral goals to be met.
Who Needs a Functional Behavioral Assessment?
It is typical for children to show disruptive behaviors in school, but with good classroom management and strong classroom routines, most of these behaviors are handled swiftly. A Functional Behavioral Assessment is used for students whose behaviors have been categorized as inappropriate and needing additional interventions. These behaviors could include anger or refusal when asked to complete difficult tasks, physical frustration towards self or others, or loud outbursts.
For many children with autism or ADHD an FBA can be extremely helpful in trying to figure out what is causing certain behaviors.