A functional behavioral assessment (or FBA) is a process that identifies a specific or target behavior that interferes with a student’s education. The assessment attempts to designate the particular behavior, identify the factors that support the behavior, and determine the purpose of the behavior.

The basic idea is that a student’s behavior serves a purpose. Whether they know it or not, kids act in certain ways for a reason. If schools and families can understand what is causing a behavior, they can find ways to change it.

Once an FBA is completed, it is often followed up by the development of a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP).  The intention of the BIP is to incorporate what was found in the FBA and craft a plan to re-teach desirable behaviors and help the child be more successful in school.

The six steps to an FBA are as follows:

  1. Choose a problem behavior to change.
  2. Measure the problem behavior by collecting data.
  3. Determine the function (purpose) of the problem behavior.
  4. Conduct a functional behavior assessment.
  5. Create a behavior intervention plan.
  6. Teach a new alternative behavior.
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