Division of Psychological Services

   

Functional Assessment of Behavior (FAB)

Functional Assessment of Behavior (FAB) is not a new phenomenon.  It has been used for many years to understand and change behavior.  FAB focuses educational professionals on identifying the purposes (function) of the problem behaviors in order to develop interventions that address their functions while reducing inappropriate behavior. The 1997 amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA '97) have brought functional assessment to the forefront of Exceptional Student Education (ESE), by requiring it for ESE students under certain disciplinary circumstances. 

Although the establishment of the functional assessment process was in response to the IDEA directive, the long term vision of Miami-Dade County Public Schools is proactive: To use FAB to explain and redirect academic and social behavior to prevent or reduce discipline problems, rather than react to them.

To date, under Miami-Dade's Response to Intervention (RTI) model, the FAB is a Tier III individual intervention.

Miami-Dade County Public School's FAB Process

A successful Functional Assessment of Behavior requires a team approach comprised of the persons in the school who know the student best and who can provide relevant information about the function of the problem behavior.  The team also will have some responsibility for developing, implementing, monitoring and revising the intervention.   Not every member of the team will be involved in the day-to-day implementation of the intervention; however, all members should support the intervention efforts based on their individual roles. A team approach requires shared ownership of a student's problem and shared responsibility for the solution of the problem.

Too often, school based efforts to resolve problem behavior are seen as requirements that need to be completed before children can be placed elsewhere, as if lack of success was needed to support a change in placement.  A referral orientation provides strong negative reinforcement to school personnel for sending students "somewhere else."  FAB has a problem solving focus rather than a referral focus.

The student's teacher is an obvious and essential member of the team.  Parents also need to be part of the FAB team.  To coordinate the effort, a facilitator is needed.  The facilitator should be the member with the most knowledge and experience conducting a Functional Assessment of Behavior, but is no more responsible for the evaluation and intervention than any other team member.  The facilitator should be part of the student's school, although it is recognized that district and regional support personnel will have to be available for assistance while local schools build this capacity.

With Functional Assessment of Behavior there is an expectation that preliminary interventions are likely to need revision, and that lack of success often times provides as much information as the initial Functional Assessment of Behavior.  Lack of improvement is a cue for adjustment.

For further information about conducting a FAB, please refer to the FAB Manual, which is available from the administrator, counselor or FAB trained personell at each school.


 

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