Monday, January 4, 2016

Functional Behavioral Assessment/Behavior Intervention Planning (FBA/BIP) A Primer

By Sean Mulcrone

What is a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) or Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)?

A Functional Behavior Assessment, or FBA, is a process that seeks better understand a problem behavior; when it occurs, what happens before the problem behavior, what happens after, what factors contribute to it, and most importantly, what the purpose, or function, of the problem behavior is. In other words, an FBA ultimately seeks to answer the question, what does the student obtain/gain from engaging in the problem behavior? Once this question is answered, then a Behavior Intervention Plan can be written.

A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is an individually tailored plan that seeks to reduce the frequency, intensity or severity of the problem behavior and teach the student a more socially appropriate way of obtaining the underlying function of the problem behavior. There are two BIPs that can be written, a “Simple” BIP, which identifies helpful strategies that have worked in the past, and a “Complex” BIP, which details a series of specific steps aimed to reduce a problem behavior.

An FBA is always written first, followed by a BIP. One of the most common mistakes people make is by writing a BIP without properly doing an FBA, thereby increasing the likelihood that the intervention plan will be ineffective/inappropriate.

Who is in charge of conducting an FBA or writing a BIP?

The process of completing an FBA or developing a BIP is done collaboratively as a team, which includes a social worker or psychologist, counselor, dean, teachers, student and family members whenever available.

When would we write an FBA/BIP?

Since an FBA/BIP is an intensive intervention, it should only be written after several other interventions have been attempted first (for example, 2 or 3 of the following: conferences with student, discussions with parents, writing discipline referrals, contacting dean and/or counselor, recommending Mentoring, talking with coaches, etc). If other interventions have been implemented, the only other criteria is:

The target behavior is exhibited by less than 20% of the students in class. If they are exhibited by more than 20%, then a class-wide intervention may more appropriate.
The target behavior is evident in different classes, and is happening with a frequency, intensity and/or severity that is disruptive to the classroom environment.What the process of writing an FBA/BIP?

Step 1). Contact a counselor with concerns over student behavior.

Step 2). If an FBA/BIP is appropriate, then a team will meet to gather more information about the behavior (interviews, observations, file reviews, etc) and conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA).

Step 3). Based upon the information gathered, the team will set up a meeting with the student and family (when available) to gather additional information and begin to develop a “Simple” Behavior Intervention Plan (See “Simple” Behavior Intervention Plan form for more details).

Step 4). The team will then meet with the teachers to share information and further develop the “Simple” BIP.

Step 5). The “Simple” Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) will be finalized by the team and sent to the teachers via email.

Step 6). In order to monitor student’s progress a “Google Form” will be sent to teachers 1x a week asking for feedback related to classroom performance.

IF NO PROGRESS HAS BEEN SEEN AFTER 4-6 WEEKS, A MORE INTENSIVE, OR “COMPLEX” BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION PLAN WILL BE IMPLEMENTED
Step 7). The team will reconvene to analyze the student’s response to the “Simple” BIP and gather additional information (observations, interviews, etc) in order to revise the original FBA.

Step 8). Once the FBA has been revised, meetings with student and family (when available) will be held to gather information and discuss potential solutions.

Step 9). The team will then hold meetings with staff members to share information and develop the “Complex” BIP (See “Complex” Behavior Intervention Plan form for more details).

Step 10). Once the team finalizes the “Complex” BIP, it will be shared with teachers via email.

Step 11). In order to progress monitor the student’s performance, a “Google Form” will be sent to teachers 2-3x per week asking for feedback on the student’s classroom performance.

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