Functional Behavioral Assessment

A Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is a problem-solving process for addressing a specific behavior or behaviors in order to help change the target behaviors into more desirable ones. The focus of this assessment is on identifying significant social, affective, cognitive, and/or environmental factors associated with the occurrence (and non-occurrence) of specific behaviors. This assessment offers a broader perspective by providing a better understanding of the function or purpose of a specific behavior.

The main goal of an FBA is to pin-point the function of the behavior and to provide interventions to help manage/regulate the behavior. An FBA is helpful to treatment teams in that it provides direction in terms of which types of interventions are helpful and which are not.

Once an FBA is completed, the interventions need to be applied consistently and by all individuals who play a key role in the individual’s life in order for change to occur.

Child and Family Teams (CFTs) and Adult Recovery Teams (ARTs) are expected to review the FBA during team meetings in order to discuss how the various interventions will be implemented by each team member as well as to discuss how these interventions will be correlated to the member’s treatment goals. The team may choose to focus initially on one or two key behaviors which have been identified as a priority by the member and the team (i.e. physical aggression, self-harming behaviors).

It is important to understand the importance of consistent implementation of the interventions by all individuals present in the member’s immediate surroundings; this may include at home, at school, and even in a higher level of care such as a therapeutic group home. The CFT/ART should collaborate with these individuals and settings in order to develop a plan to ensure that everyone is supported in applying the identified interventions.