Functional Assessments (FBAs, FAAs)

Autism Functional Behavior Assessment for Educators

The autism behavior therapists at Trumpet Behavioral Health use functional assessment methods to help educators find a reason or function for the student’s challenging behavior. There are several common reasons such an individual will use certain behaviors:

  • To escape or avoid something
  • Gain attention
  • Gain access to preferred activities or items
  • Alter sensory stimulation, automatic reinforcement

The goal of the functional assessment is to:

  • Identify and define challenging behaviors
  • Identify the times, events, and situations that predict when a behavior will and will not occur
  • Determine what results occur and how these results may be maintaining the problem behavior
  • Identify appropriate alternative and adaptive behaviors
  • Establish a hypothesis that will be used to create goals and develop a positive behavior plan

Trumpet Behavioral Health’s Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) use assessments that have been empirically-validated for use in the development of behavior plans and programming. The consultant will first complete a descriptive assessment, which typically forms the basis for a hypothesis, then determine goals and write a positive behavior plan (PBSP, PBIP). The consultant may also conduct a functional analysis.

Descriptive Assessment

A descriptive assessment allows the consultant to establish a hypothesis, determine goals, and write a positive behavior plan. Both direct and indirect methods of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for autism treatment are included in the descriptive assessment.

Direct methods include:

  • Direct observation
  • Narrative recording
  • Pattern analysis (scatter plot recording)
  • Sequence analysis (ABC recording)
  • Conditional probability analysis

Indirect methods include:

  • Records review
  • Questionnaires
  • Functional behavioral interviews

Functional Analysis

A functional analysis is conducted by systematically manipulating environmental variables in order to determine the cause of the problem behavior.