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Functional Assessment

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  1. Functional Assessment Functional assessment involves analyzing contextual, curricular, and outcome factors related to the occurrence of a challenging behavior in order to make hypotheses about the purpose, or intent, it serves for a student. Determining the intent a behavior fulfills for a student can help teachers identify and teach the student appropriate replacement behaviors—behaviors that accomplish the same goal but in a more socially appropriate fashion.

  2. Purposes of Functional Assessment • Identifying environmental factors that affect the performance of a behavior and the desired outcome that behavior serves. • Identifying a replacement behavior that is an appropriate way for children to obtain a desired goal. • Determining individual specific characteristics that may prevent a child from performing an appropriate replacement behavior.

  3. Basic Assumptions Behavior is contextually defined Behaviors arise in relation to antecedents and precede them and consequences that follow them. Context dictates whether a behavior is viewed as appropriate or inappropriate. All behavior is purposeful and serves a function The desired outcome is the intent or function of a behavior. The intent of the behavior impacts on the form the behavior takes to achieve a desired outcome. The function a behavior serves can be appropriate while the form a behavior takes is inappropriate. Teach replacement behaviors Appropriate behaviors that serve the same purpose as the inappropriate behaviors.

  4. Classification of Behavioral Intent Attention Escape/avoid task/event Escape/avoid attention Tangible reward Sensory stimulation Power/control Gain access to activities Gain access to objects Expression of self Justice/revenge Gratification Acceptance/affiliation/approval

  5. Types of Hypotheses Functional Functional hypotheses address the issue of social validity. They lead to interventions that address replacement strategy training—teaching an appropriate behavior that serves the same purpose as the inappropriate one. Contextual Contextual hypotheses focus on the antecedents and consequences of behavior. They result to interventions aimed at modifying some aspect of the environment. Curricular Curricular hypotheses focus on identifying the types of curricular demands that may accompany inappropriate behavior and modifying the context and presentation of the curriculum to increase appropriate behavior

  6. Stages of Functional Assessment • Hypothesis development • Hypothesis testing

  7. Hypothesis Development • Define a target behavior • Interview children and adults • Conduct direct observations • Generate hypotheses

  8. Hypothesis Testing(Functional Analysis) Systematically manipulating behaviors related to identified functions and environmental factors believed to prompt and maintain a behavior. 1. The target behavior must be operationally defined 2. A recording technique must be selected for observing and counting the target behavior 3. The target behavior must be observed before and after manipulating variables 4. The results of behavioral observations are placed on a graph to provide a visual representation of the effects of the manipulations.

  9. Contextual Manipulation(moving child) Baseline A Manipulation B 100 90 80 Percentage of intervals “talking to child across aisle” 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 15-Minute Observation Sessions

  10. Curricular Manipulation(high preference/easy work) Baseline A Manipulation B 100 90 80 Percentage of intervals “talking to child across aisle” 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 15-Minute Observation Sessions

  11. Functional Manipulation(asking for help and requesting a break) Baseline A Manipulation B 100 90 80 Percentage of intervals “talking to child across aisle” 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 15-Minute Observation Sessions

  12. Assumptions of Behavior Support Plans • Behavior support plans describe our behavior • Behavior support plans are built from functional assessment results • Behavior support plans should be technically sound. • Make problem behavior irrelevant • Make problem behaviors ineffective • Behavior support plans should include a replacement behavior

  13. Components of Behavior Support Plans • Summary of functional assessment findings • General approach • Areas of concern • Monitoring and evaluation

  14. Issues in Functional Assessment • Individual specific deficiencies • Multiple control and transfer of function • Toward an expanded repertoire of behavioral intent