Evidence-Based Practice: Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)

Overview of Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)

Functional behavior assessment (FBA) is a systematic set of strategies that is used to determine the underlying function or purpose of a behavior, so that an effective intervention plan can be developed. FBA consists of describing the interfering or problem behavior, identifying antecedent or consequent events that control the behavior, developing a hypothesis of the behavior, and testing the hypothesis. Data collection is an important part of the FBA process. Often, teachers/practitioners use functional communication training (FCT), differential reinforcement, response interruption/redirection, extinction, and stimulus control/environmental modification to address these behaviors in learners with ASD.

FBA meets evidence-based criteria with five single-subject and one group design studies across ages, as well as in the domains of behavior and communication.
With what ages is FBA effective?
According to the evidence-based studies, learners with ASD ranged in age from 3 to 15 years with the majority of studies showing the effectiveness of functional behavior assessment with elementary age learners.
What skills or intervention goals can be addressed by FBA?
FBA targets skills in the domains of behavior and communication, usually with a focus of decreasing inappropriate behavior and teaching or increasing appropriate communicative alternatives. The studies in the evidence base targeted behaviors described as severe, stereotypical, disruptive, escape-motivated, rejecting, and leading. Replacement skills included more appropriate forms of communication such as signing, pointing, talking, and the use of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) devices.
In what settings can FBA be effectively used?
In the evidence base, functional behavior assessment procedures were implemented in a variety of home, school, and community settings.
Brief Package:
 [PDF, 528912KB ] 10/01/2010

Brief Components

 [PDF, 68062KB] 10/01/2010
Evidence base:
 [PDF, 15884KB] 05/29/2009
Steps for Implementation:
 [PDF, 217914KB] 10/01/2010
Implementation Checklist:
 [PDF, 274071KB] 10/01/2010