Functional Behavioral assessment is the analysis, understanding, and possible aid in improving the disruptive behavioral patterns of a student. A team of professionals carries out this kind of analysis to help students avoid distractions in their academics. It shares some significant similarities with collaborative strategic reading when it comes to the part about observation.
This behavioral assessment studies the various patterns of the student’s demeanor and finds out the exact issue that might be causing problems for the student. This helps the student concentrate better on their studies.
Today, we are going to discuss how a student’s behavior can be a source of educational struggle for them. This blog will further focus on how functional behavioral assessment can help students understand and eliminate problematic behavioral features.
We are going to start off the discussion by talking about and elaborating on what is a functional behavioral assessment.
What is a Functional Behavior Assessment?
Functional Behavior Assessment is a procedure inspired by applied behavior analysis (ABA) to detect and resolve undesirable behavioral variables.
The behavior of a person is highly dependent on their surroundings and the environmental factors they are involved with. In legal terms, behavior is a type of hypothetical if-then proposition. This means, “if” a certain event occurs, “then” we will have a particular sort of reaction.
Once you are aware about the definition of functional behavior analysis, you might also want to know how fba meaning is defined according to scholars and dictionaries.
Psychological Dictionaries define fba meaning as “an assessment to identify circumstances and consequences associated with a certain behavior”. And scholars associate functional behavior analysis meaning with “methods to assess behavior”.
Why is a Functional Behavioral Assessment Conducted?
A simple way to decide if there’s a need for an FBA is to observe a student’s irrationally erratic behavior. If it gets out of hand, then maybe it is time for an FBA.
There are certain situations where an FBA becomes a must:
- When the student’s behavior is hindering their learning process or is creating disturbance in the learning of others.
- When the student’s behavior violates the protocol of the “code of student conduct”.
- If the student’s behavior results in the involvement of law enforcement.
- When the student is involved in self-harm or harming others.
- If the student is exhibiting signs of mental health issues.
Functional Behavioral Assessments are conducted to understand the behavior problems. There are 4 functions of troublesome behavior:
- Social Positive Reinforcement: If the person exhibiting the problematic behavior can be calmed down with some positive behavior, it is called social positive reinforcement.
One such FBA example could be giving someone undivided attention, or saying positive affirmations to calm the person down, or helping an old man carrying his groceries to his home upstairs. He might compliment or praise your good manners, eventually making you feel positive about you.
- Automatic Negative Reinforcement: Negative reinforcement strengthens particular behaviors by removing some form of unpleasant consequence. It reinforces the behavior that came before it, which is a sort of reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is taking away the stimulus or outcome that would otherwise operate as a reward for engaging in the behavior.
Aversive stimuli frequently cause discomfort of some kind, whether it be bodily or mental. When behaviors enable you to entirely avoid aversive (punishment) stimuli before they occur or enable you to escape from these stimuli that are already present, these behaviors are negatively reinforced.
An FBA example for this could be biting and removing nails with the mouth when in fear or stressed by a child.
When someone’s behavior starts to give trouble to others around them or is hindering their own performance, it is deemed as problematic. There is no particular protocol as when a functional behavioral assessment.
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Functional Behavioral Assessment Methods
In order to suggest corrective measures and help students with problematic behavioral patterns, it is important to know what is causing these issues. Gathering the necessary data is the first step to correction and prevention.
There are 3 main approaches to studying the behavior of a student. All of these methods employ different techniques to take a closer look at the student’s behavior. These approaches present useful data that serve as an instruction manual for developing the guide to a positive behavior development plan.
The 3 Functional Behavior Assessment methods are:
- Indirect or Informant Methods
- Direct Methods
- Experimental or Functional Analysis
There are 3 different functional behavioral assessment methods that can be applied to strengthen the hypothesis.
- Informant or Indirect Methods:
These include some interviews or surveys with or about the person. This method includes many types of generic and intricate questions, and the answers to these reveal a lot about the person. The key advantage of these methods is that they do not include any expensive setup and thus are very easy and cheap to carry out.
Indirect or informant methods are the most preferred and the first ones to be conducted. They help develop correlation between the hypothesis and observations. However, indirect methods need reliance on memory and thus can be error-prone in many scenarios.
- Direct Observation Methods:
In these methods, the candidate’s behavior is perceived carefully while they are interacting with real-life scenarios. This is done when the indirect methods fail to form an accurate correlation. They are also befitting for situations when the problematic behavior of a student is more intense and complex.
Direct observation methods record immediate responses and reactions to events. So the observations and notes are more accurate. Yet, the method is still not perfect. First off, the direct observation methods are extremely time-consuming and quite tricky to implement.
And even after making all the efforts, these methods are still only good enough to demonstrate correlations. Both indirect and direct observation methods are together called the descriptive assessment methods.
- Experimental or Functional Methods:
As the name suggests, this method is based on experimentation. The observer uses the concepts of hands-on learning methods. The conditions are manipulated in such a way that either there is a change in the antecedent or the conclusion.
Now the observations are made on the basis of how the change in the stimulus affects the consequence. This is the functional form of behavior analysis. The only drawback is the amount of time and effort this method takes. It is an elaborate process.
Conducting a Functional Behavior Assessment
A behavioral assessment is done before treating the situation. This assessment highlights the issues and the possible underlying causes. To understand a student properly, the assessment procedure needs to have the appropriate set of steps:
STEP 1: Interview
- It begins with a Behavioral Interview. This interview contains a list of questions that are designed as per the grade of the student. They are to be done with the student or someone who knows the student well.
- After the interview, the behavior hypothesis becomes clearer. Now the examiner can derive antecedents and the subsequent conclusions or reactions.
- Now that the hypothesis is clear, the examiner can proceed to test the observations in a practical environment.
- When the notes match the actual behavior, the hypothesis is proven.
- After this, the examiner can apply the accurate treatment plans for the hypothesis.
- However, if the initial assessment observations do not match the actual behavioral patterns, more tests need to be conducted.
- At last, if the initial hypothesis and the further observations remain inconsistent, it is time for a functional analysis.
STEP 2: Direct Observation
- Serves to clearly define the behavior.
- It supports or disprove interview information.
- This assessment of behavioral events in the student’s natural environment.
- Leads to a hypothesis regarding the function(s) of the student’s behavior of concern.
- It signifies the threshold to measure the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of the behavior prior to intervention.
- Provides in depth information that is vital to build a positive behavior support plan.
- Supplies the team with progress monitoring data to evaluate the implemented interventions and guide adjustments to the positive behavior support plan.
Data collection process:
- Define the behavior in words that may be measured and observed.
- The type of information required from each data collection session (such as frequency counts, identifying antecedents and/or effects) should be determined as well as the objective of data collection.
- Indicate the timetable, including the locations, dates, times, and people responsible for data collection.
- Create tools with functional coding systems that will lead to the collection of the necessary types of data.
- Transform the data into a graph for visual analysis, then examine it for trend, level, and variability.
Data collection methods:
- Record frequency and/or length, including the day of the week, the location, the activities taking place, and the persons present.
- Use the Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence (A-B-C) style to write a description of the student’s behavior together with the antecedents and consequences. This kind of information must be gathered repeatedly across circumstances where the problematic behavior occurs and when it does not.
The following data collection tools, including sample forms are available on the PaTTAN website (www.pattan.net), go to Resources, Instructional Materials.
♦ Functional Assessment Observation Tools
♦ Functional Assessment Interview Forms
♦ Functional Assessment Secondary Team Forms
Step 3: Summary
In the final step, the team behind the individualized education program summarizes the interview and the total amount of direct observation in order to create hypotheses. The creation of a helpful, constructive plan also makes use of this knowledge
A functional analysis is also beneficial if the observations and behavior are consistent in some cases. This helps in strengthening the hypothesis and finding the remedial plans as per the antecedent and the conclusion. In layman’s terms, functional behavioral assessment is finding out why a student is acting up.
After a this behavioral assessment is done to decipher the treatments and interventions. Interventions are meant to manipulate the antecedents or the conclusions. Functional interventions are designed to create treatment in a way that will correct this behavior. It includes the fact that behavior can be influenced by consequences, but the main focus is on the antecedent.
Benefits of Functional Behavior Analysis
Before implementing this behavioral assessment, it is best to go through its advantages. There are a handful of benefits to functional behavior analysis:
- It enhances childhood development.
- Learning the purpose of the misbehavior, whether it’s to meet a student’s need or cause a desired outcome, e.g., what the student gains, controls, or avoids.
- Functional behavior analysis helps identify replacement behaviors for disruptive ones.
- Offers a deeper insight into a child’s behavior.
- This assessment can help develop school teams to develop appropriate replacement behaviors and motivate desired behaviors.
- Behavioral assessment can help in the attention-seeking behavior of students.
- Functional behavior analysis can help bridge the gap between performance and skill deficits.
- Behavioral assessment tests cognitive and non-cognitive abilities, such as personality and social skills.
Now that you are acquainted with the benefits of functional behavior assessment. You can try to implement this assessment in your classroom.
There could be numerous FBA examples, but I have expressed one of the most remarkable ones to clear out all the issues in understanding this concept. If a student disrupts the class repeatedly, they might be sent to stand in the hallway.
According to a functional behavior evaluation, the student may only act out when there is a lot of comprehension recitation going on in class. It might also reveal that they have a history of oral, reading comprehension, and fine motor ability problems. As a result, the misbehavior accomplishes the goal of getting them out of doing an oral job.
In order to lessen the amount of recitation required and provide the student with tools to facilitate reading aloud, the FBA might advise adding writing and visual support. This might stop the behavior in a way that tougher penalties can’t. After all, bringing the child’s parents in, sending them to the principal’s office, and calling their parents to get them suspended does not contribute to their studies.
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An effective technique to assist a kid in changing behaviors that might be impeding their ability to learn is a functional behavior assessment. You and your team will collaborate to identify the issue and develop a strategy to assist the learner.
It is one of the best methods of assessing students and bridging their learning gaps and behavioral issues, which might rupture their future if not dealt with properly. After the successful completion of behavioral assessment, teaching methods like co-teaching models could also help in dealing with learning difficulties due to behavioral issues.