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Functional Behavioral Assessment and Positive Interventions: What Parents Need to Know

Posted Nov 17 2008 9:04pm

by Dixie Jordan

Many children have inappropriate behaviors that are part of their disability. These behaviors may make it difficult to learn, cause harm to the child or others, or isolate a child from his or her peers. Some children have behaviors that they can’t control, such as tics for a child with Tourette syndrome or self-harming behaviors for some children with developmental disabilities. Some children may be sad or anxious. Others simply have not learned positive ways to have their needs met. In any of these instances, the behav­iors interfere with the children’s ability to learn the skills they need to be successful.

We can teach appropriate behavior skills to children! To do-so, we need to understand problem behaviors, such as where they occur and what purpose they serve for a child.
The process of learning about how chil­dren develop problem behaviors is called functional behavioral assessment (FBA). If we learn about the behaviors and know when and where they are likely to happen, we can plan positive strategies to teach new behaviors. These strategies are called positive behavioral interventions. Teachers and parents will use the information from an FBA to help a child learn new skills. The goal is to teach children how to manage their own behaviors.

This overview will help parents understand functional behavioral assessment and positive interventions. You have a very important role in this assessment, because you have information about your child that no one else has. When you understand the process, you can work effectively with the rest of the team. You will have the tools to make decisions when functional behavioral assessment is proposed for your child. What you know about your child will be used to help develop effective instruction…

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