Behavior is functional
The primary principle of function-based behavior support is that individuals act the way they do for a reason. That is, most behavior is functional - it serves a purpose. The function of the behavior may be to obtain something the person wants, to access attention or interaction, or to escape from an aversive situation or person. The results, or consequences of behavior, affect the future occurrence of behavior. Behavior goes where reinforcement flows. If a behavior is occurring regularly, then by definition it is being reinforced.
FBA & PBSP Resources
A behavioral intervention has two primary goals: reduce problem behavior and increase appropriate behavior. There are at least three means to meet these goals:
- Make the problem behavior irrelevant. Decrease or eliminate the need to engage in the behavior.
- Make the problem behavior inefficient. Provide the child with a replacement behavior that serves the same function as the inappropriate behavior.
- Make the problem behavior ineffective. Do not allow the child to obtain what he or she wants through inappropriate behavior.
Crone, D. & Horner, R. (2003). Building Positive Behavior Support Systems in Schools: Functional Behavior Assessment
FBA & PBSP Guidance
The Kent ISD Special Education Department has developed comprehensive resources to guide teams in the completion of quality Functional Behavior Assessments and the development of Positive Behavior Support Plans. Using the DASH framework, teams in Kent County are trained to:
- Define the behavior of concern (in observable and measurable terms)
- Ask about the behavior (via family and staff interviews and through quantifiable assessments)
- See the behavior by completing ABC Data Observations
- Hypothesize the function of the behavior based on evidence collected through the interviews, observations, and other data collection methods
After developing a supported hypothesis statement, teams are trained to identify appropriate replacement behaviors, matching interventions to the function of the behavior, and to develop plans for implementation.