All About FBAs

All About FBAs


It seems that come March or April, the behaviors of students become a focus of teachers and schools. I have spoken to so many parents in the last few months explaining why they need to reqeust a Functional Behavioral Analysis (FBA) for their child.

What is an FBA? An FBA is a process that helps identify a specific function or the "why" of a behavior. The data gathered from an FBA can then be used to develop a behavior intervention plan that addresses the underlying cause of the behavior.

Functional Behavioral Analysis (FBA) can benefit individuals with a wide range of disabilities, including:

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Individuals with ASD may engage in repetitive or self-injurious behaviors that can interfere with their ability to learn and interact with others. An FBA can help identify the function of these behaviors and develop effective interventions to reduce them.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Individuals with ADHD may struggle with impulse control and hyperactivity, leading to disruptive classroom behavior. An FBA can help identify the triggers for these behaviors and develop strategies to reduce them.

Intellectual Disability (ID): Individuals with ID may struggle with communication and social skills, leading to challenging behaviors. An FBA can help identify the underlying causes of these behaviors and develop interventions to improve communication and social interactions.

Emotional or Behavioral Disorders (EBD): Individuals with EBD may struggle with regulating emotions, leading to impulsive or aggressive behaviors. An FBA can help identify the triggers for these behaviors and develop strategies to help the individual learn to control their emotions.

Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD): Individuals with SLD may struggle with academic tasks, leading to frustration and avoidance behaviors. An FBA can help identify the underlying causes of these behaviors and develop interventions to improve academic skills and reduce frustration.

Overall, any individual struggling with problem behaviors that interfere with their ability to learn or interact with others may benefit from an FBA. By identifying the function of these behaviors and developing effective interventions, individuals can learn to manage their behaviors and succeed in their environment.

Signs an FBA is Needed

Several signs can indicate an FBA may be necessary. These include:

  • A behavior that is interfering with the student's ability to learn or the teacher's ability to teach.
  • The behavior is causing harm to the student or others around them.
  • The behavior frequently occurs, and the child is not responding to typical classroom management strategies.
  • The behavior is causing the student to be excluded from the classroom or school environment.

If any of these signs are present, an FBA should be considered.

FBA Process

The FBA process typically includes the following steps:

Identifying the problem behavior: This involves defining the behavior in clear, observable terms.

Collecting data: This includes tracking when the behavior occurs, where it occurs, and what happens before and after the behavior.

Analyzing the data: This involves reviewing the data to identify patterns and potential causes of the behavior.

Developing a hypothesis: Based on the data analysis, a theory is formed about the function or purpose of the behavior.

Testing the hypothesis: This involves implementing an intervention plan to see if it reduces the occurrence of the behavior.

Evaluating the results: The effectiveness of the intervention plan is assessed to determine whether it successfully reduced the behavior.

Who Conducts an FBA?

An FBA can be conducted by a variety of professionals, including school psychologists, behavior specialists, and special education teachers. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the person conducting the FBA has the necessary training and expertise to conduct a thorough analysis.

Benefits of an FBA

The benefits of conducting an FBA include the following:

  • Identifying the underlying cause of the behavior allowing for more effective intervention strategies to be developed.
  • Reducing the occurrence of problem behaviors improving the learning environment for both the student and teacher.
  • Improving communication between the school, parents, and other professionals involved in the student's care.
  • Providing a framework for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the intervention plan.


In conclusion, Functional Behavioral Analysis is a valuable tool for identifying the underlying cause of problem behaviors and developing effective intervention strategies. Suppose you notice signs that an FBA may be necessary. In that case, take action! Provide a written request to your child's school requesting an FBA be conducted and that you meet to consider a Behaviour Intervention Plan to address the behavior and ensure your child can succeed in their learning environment. Make sure to include in your written request permission to assess so and follow up with the school within a few days so that any timeline they are held to by state law begins ticking. By conducting an FBA and developing a behavior intervention plan, you can create a positive and supportive learning environment for all students.

About Lisa

My interest in behavior has driven my career. I got a master's degree in behavioral science from the University of Arizona and I'm well versed in conducting FBAs and creating BIPs. If you need help navigating the special education system and your child's behaviors and want to add an advocate to your team to make sure the plan that is in place is the right plan for your child please make an appoinement for a 20-minute consultation to talk to me. Students learn best when they feel safe, supported, and successful.