- Record Review
- Parent/Guardian Interview
- Teacher/Staff Interview
- 2 Functional Assessment Observations
- Baseline Data (at least 3 days)
- Student Interview
- Questionnaires/Rating Scales
- Reinforcer Surveys and Interviews
FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT INTERVIEWS
Interviews should be conducted not only with teachers, support staff, related services staff, parents and family members, and other relevant persons who work with or know the student well, but also with the student who is exhibiting the behavior. The purpose of the interview is to collect information about events that influence problem behavior. It helps to identify settings, events, and activities that can be targeted through direct observation. It is also an opportunity to collect information about a range of other factors that could be helpful in developing intervention plans for a student, such as the student’s learning styles, strengths, interests, and prior successes.
FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT OBSERVATIONS
Functional assessment observation methods are the most powerful tools in a school-based FBA. They consist of actually observing the problem behavior and describing the conditions that surround the behavior (its context). Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence (ABC) Analysis and Scatterplot are the two most common functional assessment observation methods.
This type of assessment is done by observing the student and recording anecdotal information over the course of several observation periods. As the problem behavior occurs, the observer records events that occurred right before the behavior (antecedents) and events that occurred just after the behavior (consequences). The information gathered in an ABC analysis helps identify events that are maintaining the challenging behavior, appropriate behaviors that are not reinforced, social skills that need to be learned, and environmental conditions that need modification.
A scatterplot is a chart or grid on which an observer records single events (e.g., number of times out of seat) or a series of events (e.g., teacher requests and student responses) that occur within a given context (e.g., during teacher-led reading instruction, at lunch, on the playground). It provides a pattern of analysis for determining which situations are associated with the problem behaviors. The purpose is to discover if the problem behavior correlates with time of day, a particular physical setting, the presence of a particular person, a certain activity, or some combination of these factors.
BEHAVIORAL RATING SCALES & QUESTIONNAIRES
Behavioral questionnaires are useful for identifying behaviors of concern, skill deficits, and environmental variables that may trigger or maintain the problem behavior. It can also provide useful information about the function of the behavior. They can be given to multiple raters and compared for differences or similarities in results. The following should be considered when using a behavioral questionnaire: 1) they should always be supplemented with direct observations, 2) they can reflect perceptions about students which could account for differences between raters, and 3) care should be taken so that information about the student is not skewed toward the negative.
REINFORCER SURVEYS AND QUESTIONNAIRES
During the FBA, it is very important that the team determine reinforcers that can be used to motivate the student to engage in the replacement behavior and other appropriate behaviors. A reinforcer is something that is given after the occurrence of behavior that results in an increase in the behavior. In other words, reinforcers should only be delivered contingent upon the occurrence of appropriate behavior. They should never be used as a bribe to get the student to behave appropriately. They are only delivered if the student already exhibited an appropriate behavior.
If the student lacks intrinsic motivation (seeing the personal value of performing a behavior), it may be necessary to initially reinforce the behavior with some type of extrinsic reward, such as activities, tokens, social interaction, or tangible. In doing so, we must remember to “fade out” the extrinsic reward, meaning we need to gradually replace it with more naturally occurring rewards such as good grades, approval from others, or the pleasure that comes from success. Of course, fading will only be a consideration once the student has shown an increased ability and willingness to engage in the appropriate, desired behavior. In order to accomplish this fading process, the extrinsic rewards will need to be paired with the intrinsic reward. The purpose of pairing the extrinsic with the intrinsic is to teach the student that the behavior is a positive behavior so that the intrinsic motivation will become just as valuable as the extrinsic.