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Functional Behavior Analysis

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  1. Functional Behavior Analysis Orv C. Karan, Ph.D. Professor of Education University of Connecticut

  2. Introduction Behavior Problems: Fitting square pegs into round holes

  3. What is a Behavior Problem? Relative to the accepted codes of conduct of the situation/setting/culture the person’s behavior: Can be excessive Can be deficient Often a combination of too much of one type of behavior and not enough of another Can be crisis

  4. Behavior Problems Like truth, beauty and a contact lens are often in the eye of the beholder Often called interfering or target behaviors Require interventions that: (1) minimize or eliminate problem behaviors, and (2) result in socially acceptable behaviors

  5. One’s behavior is determined to be acceptable/problematic relative to: Laws Rules and policies Moral, ethical and professional codes of conduct Cultural, ethnic and religious practices Peer and reference groups

  6. Competency-deviancy hypothesis • The more competent a person is perceived to be the more deviant society allows them to be • -Celebrities, famous athletes, people of wealth, etc. • The less competent a person is perceived to be the less deviant society allows them to be • -People who are poor, disabled, homeless, institutionalized, etc.

  7. School behavior management approaches Rules and policies School awards Detention Principal’s office Suspension Expulsion

  8. Classroom behavior management approaches Public acknowledgement vs. public humiliation (mild) Level or point system with access to privileges Group dependent, group inter-dependent and group independent practices

  9. Teacher Assessments Start on the first day of class Called “sizing up” and its done by instinct and intuition Have effects that are quite stable Can have profound effects on students’ perceptions of themselves and their interactions with their teachers

  10. Some student characteristics that influence teachers’ perceptions of their abilities Eye contact Facial expressions Way they dress Body posture Way they sit in class Way they talk in class Cooperativeness

  11. All behavior is communication Applies to all individuals in human interactions Cannot not communicate 65% or more of all communication is non-verbal

  12. Examples of perceptions of other’s intent “He knows what’s he’s supposed to do but chooses not to do it” “He’s just being manipulative” “She’s testing me” “She’s lazy” “She’s disrespecting me” “He understands everything” Road rage


  14. Communication cautions Communication styles differ from person to person Others may not mean what we believe they do Many times different ways of talking or behaving are causing a problem Layers of communication are always at work in communication Anything one says or does can send messages that become part of the meaning we impart to our interactions

  15. Communication/Miscommunication (Complimentary Schismogenesis) Emotions / Feelings Interpretations Feelings / Emotions Perceptions Interpretations Perceptions Sensations Action / Behavior Sensations Action / Behavior

  16. B = f (p,e) Behavior is a function of the person in his/her environment Environmental variables are better predictors of behavior than are individual characteristics or traits

  17. Function v. Form

  18. Function of behavior is more important than its form

  19. Communicative Functions of Behavior Self-regulation Reflecting an emotional or physical state Responding to something Wanting to influence the environment Having fun Skill limitation

  20. Rationale for using Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA) Mandated by IDEA To try identifying the function of behavior Best practice

  21. Genesis of FBA Thorndike’s Law of effect, i.e., building S-R connections through trial an error Watson’s work led to idea that the presentation of some stimuli will cause behavior to occur (respondent behavior) Pavlov

  22. Genesis of FBA continued… • Skinner’s work showed that behavior was driven by consequences that follow it (operant behavior) • Bijou’s work led to A-B-C approach which is the foundation of FBA

  23. Legal Aspects of FBA In response to disciplinary action for a child with special needs the IEP team must meet within 10 days to develop an FBA plan to either develop, review or revise an existing BIP

  24. Key elements of FBA Behavior is operationally defined Behavior can be predicted to occur Function of behavior is defined A behavior intervention plan is designed

  25. Forms of FBA Indirect FBA Functional Behavior Analysis Direct descriptive FBA

  26. Indirect FBA often includes A review of records Behavior rating scales Adaptive Behavior Scales, Academic Assessments and Social Skills Assessments Interviews

  27. Steps in a Direct FBA Generating an operational definition Determining an appropriate behavior recording procedure Observing and recording the behavior Observing and recording the associated antecedent and consequent variables

  28. Key characteristics of functional analysis

  29. Characteristics of a functional analysis Reflects a way of understanding behavior and using causal information to identify effective interventions Goal is to identify the conditions that control the occurrence and maintenance of behavior by determining the function or purpose that the behavior serves

  30. Observing and recording behavior • Starts with an operational definition • Defining and recording behavior is a two step process • Focus on identifying observable behavior or the relevant characteristics displayed by the student • Direct observations of the student

  31. Choice of Measurement Procedures • Frequency recording • Duration recording • Interval recording • Three types • Whole interval • Partial interval • Momentary Time Sampling • Permanent Product Recording • Playcheck recording

  32. Stages of Acting Out Behavior Peak Acceleration De-escalation Agitation Trigger Recovery Calm

  33. Going beyond the immediate environment Often, students are upset about events outside the immediate setting which makes them more vulnerable to acting out in the setting even though that’s not what really set the behavior problem in motion These are called “setting events” Without having some idea of the influences on the student’s life outside of school the likelihood that one’s in-school BIP will be effective is not good, particularly for more extreme types of behavior

  34. “No person is an island”

  35. Microsystem

  36. Mesosystem

  37. Exosystem Indirect effects on student by decisions/settings that have an impact on his/her life

  38. Building a behavioral-ecological model of behavior Thinking outside the box!

  39. Behavior What the person does and the extent to which this represents a match or a mismatch between the person and the expectations placed on that person either overtly or subtly by his/her surroundings “The Winner”Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post, May 23, 1953

  40. Person Variables Developmental level Cultural, racial, ethnic, gender roles Learning style Learning history Sensitivity to stimulation Resilience and/or frustration tolerance Disability Nutrition Activity level Reaction to medication

  41. Antecedent Observable-Proximal/Distant Possible triggering, i.e., setting, events that occur prior to the behavior and that are observable Proximal-occur just prior to the behavior (e.g., called on in class) Distant-occur at other times before the behavior (e.g., an altercation with a peer on the bus)

  42. Antecedent Covert-Proximal/Distant • Possible triggering thoughts/feelings that occur prior to the behavior and are not typically observable • Proximal-occur just prior to the behavior (e.g., perceive a peer’s disrespect) • Distant-Recollections from earlier times prior to the behavior (e.g., remembering something that was said last week that generates anger now)

  43. Overt Consequences-Proximal/Distant Possible consequences that follow the behavior and which are observable Proximal-Occur temporally close to the behavior (e.g., student gets out of assignment) Distant-Occur temporally distant to the behavior (e.g., student gets to buy desired item for which s/he has been saving)

  44. Covert Consequences-Proximal/Distant • Possible thoughts/feelings that occur after the behavior which are typically not observable • Proximal-occur just after the behavior (e.g., “Boy, am I stupid”) • Distant-Anticipation of consequences that will or may occur as a result of the behavior (e.g., “I’ll probably get grounded for a week if they find out” or “I will violate my parole if I hang with my buddies past curfew”)

  45. Putting the pieces of the behavioral-ecological model together AOpd P CCpd ACpd B COpd

  46. A Behavioral-Ecological Model of Behaviorwith all of its parts Micro System The Student’s Family, School, Peers & Neighborhood Mesosystem Interchanges Among student and/or his/her micro system AOpd ACpd P B CCpd COpd

  47. Before implementing a behavior change approach Answer the who, what, when, where, why questions Ascertain the communicative function of the behavior Obtain baseline measures of the frequency, intensity and/or duration of the behavior

  48. Individual interventions vs. Environmental modifications Too often we use a “shoehorn” approach in dealing with students’ behavioral issues, namely we do things intended to make the student fit what’s available rather than looking at how to make environmental modifications that fit the student. Assimilation vs. Accommodation

  49. Individualized behavior intervention plans

  50. Who has the behavior that needs to change? The student Others, e.g., classmates, friends, teachers, family, etc.