We’ve been talking about Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) all week. By now you should know that parents/guardians should provide written permission before an FBA is started. You should also know the main components of an FBA. You should also know that schools are required to complete FBAs under certain conditions. Finally, you have seen, in one case, how FBA can be helpful in program planning.
Today we are going to wrap it up with a discussion about when to complete an FBA–or for parents and teachers–when to ask for an FBA to be completed.
In general, if a person’s challenging behavior is interfering with their own learning, or the learning of others, or if the behavior is harmful to the person or other people, an FBA should be completed and a behavior intervention plan (BIP) should be developed.
Additionally, if a person has a BIP and the plan is being implemented correctly but the behavior has not improved, it may be time for an additional or revised FBA.
Currently, only special education law requires the use of FBA. Specifically, if you have a child who has not been diagnosed with a disability and who does not have an IEP, and your child engages in challenging behavior, teachers are not required to complete an FBA. However, best practice would dictate that an assessment is warranted.
Special Education Law (ages 3-22)
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), school staff must complete an FBA under several conditions.
- First, during each Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, the team must determine if the child has behavior that impedes his/her learning. If the team determines that the child has a behavioral challenge, then the team must consider the use of Positive Behavior Supports for that child. Usually, the first step of positive behavior supports is to complete an FBA.
- Additionally, if the school team determines that a child’s placement should be changed because of the challenging behaviors, then the team should first conduct an FBA and develop an appropriate BIP.
- If the child’s behavior has resulted in an emergency change in placement, then the school team must complete an FBA within 10 days.
- Finally, for each child being considered for special education services, the team must complete an initial and full educational evaluation. If the child engages in challenging behavior, then the team should complete an FBA as a component of the initial evaluation.
Special Education Law (ages birth to 3)
Children with disabilities under the age of 3 have different educational requirements. Federal policy does not specifically mention the use of an FBA for infants and toddlers. However, teams should address all areas of need for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. Thus, if behavior is a concern, then it should be addressed.
In summary, if a child’s behavior is a problem and the behavior is not improving, an FBA is needed. School systems have specific requirements regarding when an FBA must be included. However, those requirements do not prevent staff from completing an FBA at other times.