How to Write a Functional Behavior Analysis

A Functional Behavior Analysis is the first step to create a behavior plan for a child with difficult behavior, known as a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP.) The behavior section of the Special Considerations in the IEP asks, "does the student exhibit behaviors that impede his/her learning or that of others?" If true, be sure that an FBA and BIP are created. If you are fortunate a psychologist or a Certified Applied Behavioral Analyst come in and do the FBA and BIP. Most small school districts may share those specialists, so if you wish to have an FBA and BIP prepared for an IEP meeting, you may have to do it.

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Identify the Problem Behavior

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Once a teacher has determined that there is a behavior problem, the teacher, behavior specialist or psychologist needs to define and describe the behavior, so anyone who observes the child will see the same thing.  The behavior needs to be "operationally" described, so that the topography—or shape—of the behavior is clear to every observer. 

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Collecting Data About the Problem Behavior

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Once the problem behavior(s) has (have) been identified, you need to collect information about the behavior. When and under what circumstances does the behavior occur? How often does the behavior occur? How long does the behavior last? Different kinds of data are chosen for different behaviors including frequency and duration data. In some cases an analog condition functional analysis, which involves an experimental design, may be the best way to determine the function of a behavior.

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Analyze the Data and Write the FBA

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Once the behavior is described and the data is collected, it's time to analyze the information you have collected and determine the purpose, or consequence, of the behavior. Consequences usually fall into three distinct groups: avoiding tasks, situations or settings, acquiring preferred items or food, or getting attention. Once you have analyzed the behavior and identified the consequence, you can begin the Behavior Intervention plan!

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Webster, Jerry. "How to Write a Functional Behavior Analysis." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Webster, Jerry. (2020, August 27). How to Write a Functional Behavior Analysis. Retrieved from Webster, Jerry. "How to Write a Functional Behavior Analysis." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 1, 2023).