Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)

FBAs are conducted to determine the why problem behaviors occur.  An FBA may include indirect or anecdotal methods of data collection such as conducting interviews (e.g., child, parent, teacher, therapist), direct or descriptive data collection such as antecedent-behavior-consequence (ABC) data, and experimental data such as conducting a functional analysis.

All data collected are analyzed for patterns in what triggers the problem behavior and what happens after the problem behavior that may serve as reinforcement.  In looking for patterns in the data, we can determine why the problem behavior occurs.  The reason a problem behavior occurs is called the function of the problem behavior.  Identifying the function of a problem behavior tells us what serves as reinforcement for problem behavior.

Following determination of the function of the problem behavior, a behavior intervention plan (BIP) can be developed.  BIPs have three primary components including: 1) proactive, preventative strategies used to reduce the need for the problem behavior to occur, 2) replacement behaviors that can access the same reinforcement formerly accessed through problem behavior that can be taught in place of the problem behavior, and 3) reactive strategies to ensure that problem behaviors don’t access reinforcement and that replacement behaviors do access reinforcement.