We asked our education specialist, Amy Fanetti to give us a little bit of insight on how to write great functional behavioral assessments and behavior intervention plans. For newbies to the behavior world, functional behavioral assessments and behavior intervention plans are critical documents that guide us as we deal with behavior on a campus or in the classroom.
Functional behavioral assessments help us understand the purpose or reason for behaviors displayed by our students due to a variety of factors. Through interviews, data collection, and more, we come to understand why a specific student might be exhibiting a behavior, therefore helping us plan for the future.
Behavior intervention plans use this information to create a plan for teachers to stop problem behaviors. You could consider the functional behavioral assessments the theory and the behavior intervention plans the practice; one informs the other. It’s hard to have a truly great behavior intervention plans without an equally great functional behavioral assessments.
Here are Amy Fanetti’s tips to writing a good functional behavioral assessments and behavior intervention plans:
1. Make sure you clearly define the target behavior.
Defining the target behavior drives the entire process of your functional behavioral assessments and behavior intervention plan. If you want to determine the severity or frequency of a problem behavior, you have to be able to measure it. Just the same, in order to properly measure a behavior, you have to have a clear understanding of what the behavior looks like. Having a clear definition of a behavior allows you to more accurately and consistently observe a behavior across multiple settings and by a variety of individuals. Basically, if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, then you aren’t able to accurately observe and take data on a problem behavior.
2. Know your ABC’s.
I’m not talking about the alphabet! The ABC’s of behavior are the Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequences. These concepts are crucial in determining the function of a behavior and ensuring that appropriate measures are put in place to prevent, or eliminate, a problem behavior while reinforcing a replacement or desired behavior.
3. Use function based interventions
You need to accurately determine, using your ABC’s, the function of a behavior. Figuring this out lets you know what keeps a problem behavior going. When you’re trying to change a behavior, it’s important to use interventions with outcomes that result in the same function as the problem behavior. This ensures your student is still able to gain what they need, but in a more socially appropriate or acceptable way.