Many students I work with present with maladaptive behaviors that can be overwhelming for both parents and teachers to address. These behaviors range from those that are safe but impede the child’s ability to learn to those that are dangerous such as running out of rooms/buildings or engaging in self-injurious behavior.
Unfortunately, I have seen several instances in which a student’s disability was labeled as the cause of a maladaptive behavior. Due to this line of thinking, maladaptive behaviors go unaddressed, impeding the child’s ability to reach his/her full potential.
As an ABA provider, it is essential that we are able to apply our knowledge to make meaningful change in the lives of our students. Making guesses at the function of a behavior or wasting time with inaction is simply unacceptable and unethical.
In order to address these behaviors effectively and efficiently, it is necessary to gather information in a systematic way to help identify why the child is engaging in the behavior. This handbook, (by O’Neill, Horner, Albin, Sprague, Storey, and Newton) is useful in understanding how to conduct functional assessments to determine the function of a behavior as well as how to build behavior support plans.
It includes any forms you may need to organize and share information, such as a Functional Assessment Interview Form, a Student-Directed Functional Assessment Interview Form, a Functional Assessment Observation Form, and a Competing Behavior Model Form.
While I have the second edition, a third edition was just released last month. The book is an investment, but it’s a resource I return to again and again. If you are facing a behavior that you feel unprepared to address effectively, you should contact a BCBA or colleague with experience in that specific area.