Intervention plans based on an understanding of “why” a student misbehaves are extremely useful in addressing a wide range of problem behaviors Functional Behavior Assessment According to Gresham, Watkins, and Skinner’s article in 2001, Functional Behavior Assessments: Principles, Procedures, and Future Directions, “the FBA was designed to help schools determine the appropriateness of services and placement, identify positive interventions to reduce the undesirable behavior, and develop appropriate behaviors to replace the inappropriate ones”.
In addition, the article defined the FBA as an organized methods and strategies to collect antecedent data, behavior data, and consequential data to determine the function of the behavior. “The function of behaviors refers to a purpose that behavior serves for the individual. Behavioral functions typically fall into five categories: social attention, access to tangibles to preferred activities, escape, delay, reduction, or avoidance, and internal stimulation” (Carr, 1994).
Witt, Daly, and Noel stated, “Once this function of behavior is determined, this information is used design interventions to reduce problem behaviors and to facilitate positive behaviors” (Witt, Daly, and Noel, 2000). The FBA process looks beyond the problem behavior to become a problem-solving process. Sasso and Reimer (1988) article, Assessing the functional Properties of behavior; Implications and Applications for Classroom, further described the FBA process in steps.
To begin the process, we must define and explain the target behavior in specific terms; it is of the upmost importance to find and define the problem behavior in a way that anyone can easily understand. Our next step of the FBA process is to collect data on potential functions of the problem behavior. The article suggest that the school can better select appropriate interventions, when they collect and analyze a variety of data about the problem behavior that disrupts learning and teaching. It is also important to collect information on “antecedent” and “consequent” events, and past incidents that may effect the current behavior.
This will also assist schools in predicting where, with whom, when, and what conditions a specific behavior is most likely to happen. Gresham, Watkins, and Skinner’s article also recommends for schools to use direct and indirect measures of behavior. Depending on the behavior, a different method of data collection will be needed. The article defines direct assessment as, “actually observing the problem behavior and describing the conditions that surround the behavior. ” (Gresham, Watkins, Skinner, 2001). In this collection, teachers will include the antecedent and the consequence of the problem behavior.
The authors also define indirect assessment as, “relies heavily on the use of interviews with teachers and other adults who have direct contact with the student”. Gresham, Watkins, Skinner, 2001). In addition, a impromptu interview with the student could offer crucial insight into the student’s viewpoint of the situation and can give a more comprehensive understanding of the motivations behind the inappropriate behavior. In addition, Sasso and Reimer’s article states that schools must check accuracy of behavior measurement, categorize behavior.
The team working with the child must ask themselves, “is it linked to a skill deficit or a performance deficit? ” This will help the team understand what interventions they need in place to focus on to address the deficit. The schools next step in the FBA process is to analyze information to form a hypothesis. The school must give their best, educated guess to explain the function or reason for the behavior based on the data they collected. The purpose of conducting a FBA is, ultimately, to find the most effective way to address a persistent problematic behavior. The school is ready o determine why the behavior may be appearing once the they have defined the behavior and collected data about where, when, and how it is exhibited. Following this step, the school must then devise interventions and develop a Behavior Intervention Plan that uses positive methods to teach and encourage appropriate behaviors to substitute.
Finally, the school must monitor the student’s behavior and follow-up to ensure success by, gathering data on student progress, examining and analyzing the behavior goals, and then determining whether to continue or amend the Behavior Intervention Plan. Functions of Behavior Cooper, J. Heron, T. , & Heward’s book, Applied Behavior Analysis (2007), the authors describe the four functions of behavior. The first function is “Attention”, in which a student may demonstrate problem behaviors in order to gain attention from peers or adults. For example, in order for a student to get peers or adults to laugh, play, look, or scold them they may demonstrate inappropriate behaviors. “While it might seem strange that a person would engage in a behavior to deliberately have someone scold them it can occur because for some people it’s better to obtain “bad” attention than no attention at all” (Cooper, Heron & Heward, 2007).
The next behavior the authors describe is called “Tangible”. In order to obtain a tangible item or gain access to a desired activity, students will display problem behaviors. For example, a student may jump and shout until their teacher allows them to get a shiny toy out of the treasure box. The authors describe the next function of behavior as “Escape or Avoidance”, meaning “not all behaviors occur so the person can “obtain” something; many behaviors occur because the person wants to get away from something or avoid something altogether” (Miltenberger, 2008).
For example, in order to get a out of having participate in reading aloud the student may ask to go to bathroom or nurse repeatedly. The student may also engage in aggressive behavior sto avoid having to go to the playground with classmates. The book refers to the next function of behavior as “Sensory Stimulation”. “The function of some behaviors do not rely on anything external to the person and instead are internally pleasing in some way – they are self-stimulating” (O’Neill, Horner, Albin, Sprague, Storey, & Newton, 1997). The purpose is to give the person some form of internal sensation that is pleasing or to remove an internal sensation that is displeasing” (Cooper, Heron & Heward, 2007). For example, a student may sooth pain to a bumped elbow to relieve pain, while another rocks back and forth to relieve stress. In both incidents, these students are not displaying either behavior to attain any attention, any tangible items or to escape any demands placed on them.