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  • Michelle Vinokurov

Functional Behavior Assessment Methods

Did you know a functional behavior assessment (FBA) helps with learning the reason/function for the behavior?


There is a reason/function for any behavior. Reasons can be about wanting a break from an assignment (escape), wanting an item or to do a preferred activity (tangibles), wanting to make themselves feel good (sensory), or wanting to be noticed (attention). No matter the reason or purpose, behaviors are demonstrated to observe that reason or purpose.

As shared in a blog story about functional behavior assessments (FBAs), behavior analysts implement three methods to learn the reason(s) behind a behavior. Now to go more in detail about FBAs, it is a process. It involves indirect assessments as the first stage, direct assessments as the second stage, and functional analysis as the final stage. Here is a chart to learn the difference between indirect assessments, direct assessments, and a functional analysis within FBAs:




Functional analysis is separate from indirect and direct assessments because the environment is controlled to learn the reason/purpose behind the person's behavior. Indirect assessments and direct assessments do not control anything in the environment. Indirect assessments are information gathered from people who are in direct contact with an individual to learn about the purpose/reason for the behavior. Direct assessments are information gathered based on direct observations of the person in various settings, such as home and school.


Did you know these results from these assessments and a functional analysis within an FBA help behavior analysts create effective behavior intervention plans (BIPs)? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

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