What is a Functional Behavioral Assessment?

What is a Functional Behavioral Assessment?

In order for a child to receive special education services, there are different steps a parent must undergo before they can be attained. This usually includes an evaluation in order to understand what services the child needs. One part of this includes a Functional Behavioral Assessment. When a parent wants their child to receive a Functional Behavioral Assessment or other special education services, it can be beneficial to retain the services of an experienced Pennsylvania education law attorney for guidance during this time.

When is a Functional Behavioral Assessment Required?

The state of Pennsylvania understands the importance of a child receiving the education they need in order to prosper. If the child requires special education services, this involves receiving an assessment of their needs. This can identify and better understand the student’s behavioral struggles in order to determine the best course of action for the student to succeed in school. Some reasons a Functional Behavioral Assessment can include:

  • The student’s behavior violates the school’s code of conduct and the behavior may be related to the student’s disability
  • The IEP team determines that the student’s behavior is inhibiting their learning or the learning of other students
  • A parent believes their child’s behaviors are related to a disability and the child needs assistance learning how to behave instead of increasing disciplinary methods

What is the Process of a Functional Behavioral Assessment?

Due to the fact that every student is different from one another, a Functional Behavioral Assessment can be completed in several ways. This is dependent upon the facts of the case. Based on any data gathered through observations of the child, the school team that is conducting the assessment will create a hypothesis statement. There are four steps that must be completed every time a Functional Behavioral Assessment is conducted. This includes the following:

  • The team must determine the concerning behavior. This can be done through an interview between the IEP team and the individuals who observed the child’s behavior. Afterward, the team observes the child in their natural environment.
  • The team must identify the setting that may result in a greater chance for the behavior to occur. 
  • The team must identify events that usually trigger the behavior of concern.
  • The team must identify consequences that maintain the behavior.

This information gathered during the interview and any observations can lead the team to come up with at least one hypothesis regarding the behavior of the child in question. This can then allow them to establish a behavior support plan that allows the child to avoid any situations that may trigger this behavior and reduce its occurrence in school settings. 

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Anderson, Converse & Fennick is an experienced law firm in York County, Pennsylvania focusing on Education Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation matters. If you need a knowledgeable attorney that will effectively represent your interests, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.

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