Ep. 9: How to Start the Functional Behavior Assessment

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We have started diving into the 5 Steps of Behavioral Support and our first step is beginning the functional behavior assessment. Or to paraphrase my friend Abby, the Undercover Secret Behavior Detective stage.

In this episode I am talking about the methods we can use to gather the information we need to help figure out the functions of the behavior.  A big part of an FBA is to get to know everything you can about the student from past history to likes and dislikes.  We need an understanding the context in which he lives and goes to school. Our goal is to try to figure out how the environment impacts his behavior in order to determine its function, which we talked about in Episode 8.

Keep reading for links to tools I talk about in this episode for interviews, checklists and preference assessments.

The best way to make sure you get a strong functional behavior assessment is to make sure you really get to know the student and his environment.


Gathering information is a key element in starting the functional behavior assessment.  We need to gather information about what has worked and not worked in the past.  It helps to talk to family members and classroom staff and in this episode I talk about what those conversations can tell you about the behavior.  Interviews and checklists can be really useful, even though they may not be your best methods of figuring out the actual function.  And I share a few examples of how that might be.  

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