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What Are the Goals of a Functional Behavior Assessment?

a specialists works with a young child after discussing the goals of functional behavior assessment with the boys parents

As a parent of a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it can be challenging to understand certain behaviors your child exhibits. Every child with ASD displays different behaviors, making it more difficult for parents to identify their underlying reasons. Functional behavior assessment (FBA) is a process that can help you and your child’s healthcare team better understand and address any challenging behaviors.

A Gem of Joy’s applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy services are here to support you and your child through this process. Call us today at 888.501.6641, and we can help you learn more about the goals of functional behavior assessment and how it can benefit your child!

How to Identify Behaviors

Behavior is anything an individual does that can be observed and measured. Identifying behaviors can be tricky, especially if you are not monitoring your learner every moment. Often, a behavior may seem random, but it usually occurs in response to a particular stimulus.

To identify a behavior, you need to observe and document it as accurately as possible. Documenting the behavior ensures that you have a clear picture of:

  • What happened before the behavior (antecedent)
  • The behavior itself
  • What happens after the behavior (consequence)

Functional behavior assessment aims to identify these antecedents and consequences, as well as any underlying factors that may be influencing the behavior. This information can then be used to develop a personalized intervention plan that addresses the learner’s specific needs.

What Are the Types of Functional Behavior Assessment?

FBA is a multi-step process that varies based on the complexity of the behavior being examined. There are three main types of FBA:

1. Indirect Assessments

Indirect assessments involve gathering information through interviews, checklists, or questionnaires. This type of assessment relies on the descriptions of those who interact with the individual regularly, providing insights into the perceived triggers and consequences of the behavior.

2. Descriptive Assessments

Descriptive assessments involve direct observation of the individual in their natural environment to record and analyze the behavior’s circumstances. This can include identifying the antecedents, behaviors, and consequences and the time and setting of the behavior.

3. Functional Analysis

Functional analysis is the most comprehensive type of FBA and involves using the environment to understand the purpose of the behavior. This is typically conducted by a trained professional and may include testing hypotheses about the function of the behavior in a controlled setting.

Functional behavior assessments aim to thoroughly understand why the behavior is occurring and how it can be addressed effectively. By identifying the underlying causes and triggers, we can create individualized intervention plans that focus on replacing challenging behaviors with more appropriate ones, leading to positive outcomes for your child’s overall well-being.

Functional Behavior Examples

Functional behaviors can be various and are usually identified as responses to specific stimuli or environments. Here are a few examples:

  • Self-stimulatory behavior – This refers to repetitive actions like rocking or spinning. These behaviors serve a self-soothing purpose and often occur when the individual is anxious or over-stimulated.
  • Escape behavior – A learner may display disruptive behaviors to avoid an uncomfortable situation or task. For instance, they might act out to avoid doing homework or participating in a challenging activity.
  • Attention-seeking behavior – These behaviors are aimed at gaining attention from caregivers, teachers, or peers. It could be in the form of tantrums, shouting, or even engaging in dangerous activities to attract attention.
  • Access to tangibles – Sometimes, behaviors are driven by a desire to access a particular item or activity. For example, a child might throw a tantrum in a store to get a toy.

Understanding these behaviors can help lead to effective strategies for managing and redirecting them, paving the way for more positive behavioral outcomes.

Call A Gem of Joy for a Functional Behavior Assessment in Maryland

The goals of functional behavior assessment go beyond just addressing challenging behaviors. By understanding the root causes of these behaviors, we can help your child develop essential skills and reduce tension for you and your child.

Contact A Gem of Joy for a comprehensive functional behavior assessment. Let us help empower you and your child with a tailored approach that can effectively identify, understand, and address behaviors. Call us today at 888.501.6641—our professional and empathetic team is ready to guide you through this journey, paving the way for a brighter future for your child.