Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA) are the gold standard for understanding why youth engage in problem behaviors. This understanding is necessary for implementing intervention requires, as effective supports will reduce the behavior by targeting the reason that behavior occurs. FBAs utilize indirect methods (e.g., interviews and survey measures) and direct methods (e.g., observations with data collection, experimental assessments). While direct methods provide the most accurate information, they can also be difficult to implement in real-world school settings. BCSC has experience conducting FBAs for individuals with a wide range of intellectual ability and functioning, from non-verbal youth with autism to youth with emotion dysregulation and above-average intelligence.
One weakness of FBAs is that they exclusively rely upon observable behavior, making it challenging to incorporate information from “private events” such as thoughts and emotions. As a result, most FBAs either minimize or ignore the role of an individual’s emotions on behavioral challenges. At BCSC, FBAs are conducted by BACB-certified, state-licensed clinical psychologists skilled at integrating behavior analysis with patterns of cognition and emotion. This allows for a more comprehensive understanding of ways in which environments and emotions affect an individual’s behavioral profile, thereby informing more comprehensive interventions and behavior support plans.