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MODULE: Functional Communication Training (FCT)

Are Any Assessments Needed Before Initiating a FCT Program?

A high-quality FBA should be completed prior to initiating FCT. Without an FBA, there is no way to identify a communicative act that is functionally equivalent to (or serves the same purpose as) the interfering behavior.

Please refer to Functional behavioral assessment (FBA): Steps for Implementation (National Professional Development Center on ASD, 2008) for more information about FBA.

It is also important to know what methods of communication are easiest for the learner to use. For example, even though a learner is verbal, it may be difficult for him to use a verbal response in the heat of the moment. A verbal learner may find it easier to hand over a sentence strip, “I need a break,” to the teacher when he becomes frustrated rather than speaking the same words. Other communicative methods might include signs, speech generating devices, gestures, picture exchange, or picture pointing. Conversations with other professionals and family members who are close to the learner, as well as observations of the learner, will be needed to obtain information regarding the most effective communicative method.

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