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  • Conducting Functional Behavioral Assessments and Developing Behavior Intervention Plans

    Jeffrey A. Miller, Ph.D. Michael Tansy, Ph.D.


    • What does the law say about FBA/BIPs?
    • How have FBA/BIPs been done before?
    • Multimodal Problem-Solving view of FBA


    • Conducting Functional Behavioral Assessments
    • Writing Behavior Intervention Plans
    • Implement Plan
    • treatment validity
    • treatment integrity
    • Outcome evaluation
    • Data Collection
    • Reviewing/Modifying Assessments and Plans

    Overview-Implement Process

    • Additional Case Studies
    • How do you implement this process in your school?
    • Systems Level
    • Case Level

    Special Consideration in IEP (P.L. 105-17)

    • In the case of a child whose behavior impedes his or her learning or that of others, consider, when appropriate, strategies, including positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports to address that behavior.

    Placement in Alternative Educational Settings (P.L. 105-17)

    • "If the LEA did not conduct a functional behavioral assessment and implement a behavioral intervention plan for the child before the behavior that resulted in the suspension ..., the agency shall convene an IEP meeting to develop an assessment plan and appropriate behavioral interventions to address that behavior; or

    Placement in Alternative Educational Settings (P.L. 105-17)

    • If the child already has a behavioral intervention plan, the IEP team shall review the plan and modify it, as necessary, to address the behavior."

    When To Conduct FBA/BIPs

    • When suspending a child from educational services
    • Review the plan when the child is again suspended
    • Whenever behavior impedes students learning or that of others

    Existing Efforts to Define FBA/BIPs in the School Context

    • Applied behavior analysis model
    • Antecedents, behavior, & consequences
    • Functional communication
    • Behavior serves a function: to obtain specific consequence

    Assumptions of a Multimodal Problem-Solving Approach

    • FBA should include multiple theoretical perspectives in determining function
    • FBA is not a specific procedure, rather it is a perceptual style that guides problem-solving and decision-making
    • Interventions are associated with goals in a parallel (non-serial) manner
    • Strategic and valid interventions should be coupled with a commitment to treatment integrity and critical outcome evaluation

    Support for Multimodal Approach

    • Interventions on only one system are ineffective
    • Interventions will be most successful when multiple, simultaneous causes are considered
    • Thus, these causes can be linked to multiple, simultaneous interventions designed to treat the "whole" person

    Multimodal Hypothesis Generation

    • Child characteristics
    • Cognitive, Behavioral, Health, Other
    • Peer characteristics
    • Curriculum characteristics
    • Teacher characteristics
    • Classroom/school/district characteristics
    • Family/neighborhood/community characteristics

    Support for Problem-Solving Approach

    • The best practice for teaming and behavioral consultation according to NASP
    • Already in place in many school districts
    • Unfortunately, still challenging for many teams to implement effectively
    • The current approach will press for implementation of the problem-solving methodology

    Who are the team members

    • Members of the IEP team
    • Individuals from across domains who are involved with student
    • Parents, teachers, administrators, community members, law enforcement personnel, health care professionals, state agency representatives

    FBA/BIP Process Overview

    • Describe the behavior
    • Determine the functions of behavior
    • Develop a plan of intervention
    • Implement the plan correctly
    • Evaluate the outcome of the plan

    Functional Behavioral Assessment (Description)

    • Data Sources
    • Describe behavior
    • Settings
    • Frequency
    • Intensity
    • Duration
    • Describe previous interventions
    • Educational impact

    Conducting Structured Observations

    • Compare referred peer with another student in class
    • Sample behavior every 30 seconds for each student
    • Take copious anecdotal notes (Identify functions)
    • Compute percent of time on-task

    Student Processing Form

    • Student completes the form and identifies functions of challenging behavior
    • Discuss answers with the student to get a more complete understanding of the functions from the studentís perspective

    Functional Behavioral Assessment (Function)

    • Function: something closely related to another thing and dependent on it for its existence, value, or significance
    • Stated differently, what is the behavior due to
    • Multimodal: each behavior has multiple cause contributing differentially to the expression of the behavior

    Domains of Functioning

    • Affective regulation/emotional reactivity
    • Cognitive distortion
    • Reinforcement
    • Modeling
    • Family issues
    • Physiological/constitutional
    • Communicate need
    • Curriculum/instruction

    Behavior Intervention Plan

    • Identify the case manager who will be responsible for the overall management of the plan
    • Describe the expected outcomes and goals for the plan
    • Specify the interventions used to achieve the goals
    • Specify person who is responsible for specific interventions
    • Specify a review date

    Standards of a Good Intervention

    • Treatment Validity
    • An intervention effectively treats the challenging behavior
    • An intervention is logically related to the functions of the behavior
    • Treatment Integrity
    • The degree to which an intervention was conducted correctly and consistently

    Monitoring Treatment Integrity

    • Provide support and or training the first time the teacher attempts to implement a recommendation confirming the task can be done
    • That is, roll up your sleeves and work side-by-side with the teacher
    • Collect some data on student performance other that teacher self-report

    Outcome Evaluation Overview

    • Collect outcome data
    • Determine if behavior improved
    • Evaluate treatment integrity
    • Evaluate treatment validity
    • Evaluate FBA
    • Maintain or modify the assessment and/or the plan

    Assumptions of Data Collection

    • Review necessary and sufficient information to address the effectiveness of the goals and interventions
    • Spend effort on interventions rather than gathering elaborate outcome data
    • Review existing quantitative data
    • Conduct structured behavioral observations as needed

    What Data to Collect

    • Amount of work turned in
    • Discipline referrals
    • Grade report
    • Frequency of time-outs or direct intervention
    • Student report
    • Parent report
    • Structured Observation

    Maintain the Plan

    • Behavior change does not have to be absolute
    • Looking for reasonable improvement in behavior
    • Maintain the plan if it is effective, but needs to be continued

    Modify the Plan... Reconsider:

    • Problem description/functional assessment
    • Expected outcomes/goals (are they reasonable and achievable?)
    • Interventions
    • Identify barriers to plan implementation for each identified plan participant
    • Consult literature or experts to determine the most valid intervention for the problem behavior

    Additional Case Studies

    • Specific Learning Disability
    • Emotional Disability

    Introducing FBA/BIPs at your school

    • Administrative and District Wide Support
    • Staff training on a CST process including FBA/BIP
    • Strong behavior analyst to start and lead the process of implementation
    • Commit to regular follow-up to monitor effectiveness of practice