FBA is an acronym for Functional Behavioral Assessment. Ok, then what is a Functional Behavioral Assessment? A Functional Behavioral Assessment is a tool used by professionals to figure out why behaviors are occurring. FBAs are used to address the function of the behavior rather than the behavior itself. If we punish a child every time they disrupt class – but we don’t know why they are disrupting class – we are merely putting a bandaid on the behavior and blindly hoping that it will go away.
An FBA can help determine why certain behaviors are occurring
An FBA would explore the question of why the child is disrupting class?
- Is the child disrupting class because he doesn’t understand what’s going on?
- Is the child disrupting class as an attention seeking behavior?
- Is there some other reason why the child is disrupting class?
Without knowing the why of the behavior we can not know how to properly stop the behavior. If every time a child disrupts class the punishment is that she is sent out of the classroom, maybe the why of the behavior is that she knows that she will get to leave class is she acts up! The punishment is the exact reason for the behavior. Young children that cause disruptions in school to the point that a parent gets called to pick them up, often engage in those behaviors becuase the know that they will get to see their Mom and get to go home. Again, the punishment is the reason for the behavior!
When do we need to complete a Functional Behavioral Assessment?
The primary and most common indication that an FBA should be completed is when a student’s behaviors are interfering with their ability to learn or the ability of others to learn. Of course, if a child’s behaviors could be a safety threat to themselves or the safety of others, a Functional Behavioral Assessment would be appropriate.