The Importance of a Functional Behavior Assessment 

Behavior Serves Different Needs

It is important to be able to understand and identify the functions of behavior. A functional behavior assessment (FBA) which is a common assessment in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), allows you to understand the reasons why a behavior is occurring or the purpose of the behavior. A behavior that one child performs to get out of something could look identical to a behavior another child performs to gain access to something. 

My daughter, who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, struggles with auditory memory, but she has very strong visual memory. She is also an avid artist. As such, she draws on EVERYTHING. Over the years, some teachers have allowed, even encouraged this behavior. Some have not.

This past December, she completed her first week of final exams. During that week, she explained to me how she couldn’t remember some of the content for her test until she remembered what she was drawing on her page when she was taking notes in class. Then she was able to recall what was in her notes next to the drawings and answered the questions more confidently. 

For my daughter, the function of her drawing in class during instruction is not to escape like so many people might think. The function is actually to gain access to her visual memory, to store the knowledge she is gaining in a way that she can recall later when she needs to. Understanding the function of her drawing in class provides myself and her teachers the appropriate information to know how to address her behavior. In this case, we encourage her to draw on her notes rather than attempting to stop it from happening. 

At Behavior Essentials, our BCBA’s perform a functional behavior assessment prior to creating a plan or determining the need for intervention. Evaluating behavior systematically on an individual basis and understanding the function or need a behavior is serving is imperative to support the children we work with. Our program helps caregivers to understand their child’s needs which in turn enables appropriate strategies and optimal behavioral outcomes. 

More resources:

More resources:Most Common Early Signs of Autism