Guidance on Functional Behavioral Assessments for Students with Disabilities
|Presidents of Boards of Education|
|Superintendents of Schools|
|Organizations, Parents & Individuals Concerned with Special Education|
|Superintendents of State-Operated and State-Supported Schools|
|Executive Directors of Approved Private Schools|
|Directors of Approved Preschool Programs|
|Principals of Public Schools|
|Directors of Special Education|
|Chairpersons of Committees on Special Education|
|Chairpersons of Committees on Preschool Special Education|
|Directors of Pupil Personnel Services|
|Commissioner's Advisory Panel for Special Education Services|
|Impartial Hearing Officers|
|Community Dispute Resolution Centers|
|ALTA Project Directors|
|SETRC Project Directors and Training Specialists|
|State and Local Teacher Associations|
|ECDC Project Directors and Coordinators|
|Family Court Judges and Designees|
|Chief Elected Officials of the Counties|
|New York City Board of Education|
|Independent Living Centers|
|Colleges with Special Education and General Education Teacher Training|
|FROM:||Rita D. Levay|
|SUBJECT:||Guidance on Functional Behavioral Assessments for Students with Disabilities|
This memorandum provides guidelines to assist school districts in implementing the 1997 amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) relating to functional behavioral assessments of students with disabilities. The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) has published a guide for states on the functional behavioral assessment requirements of IDEA. In the development of the NASDSE document, practitioners examined the literature to identify critical issues and to provide recommendations relating to proactively addressing the needs of students with disabilities with behavioral challenges. The information provided by NASDSE serves as the basis for this memorandum, and sections of the NASDSE publication are attached.
IDEA focuses on prevention and proactively addressing behavioral concerns of students with disabilities that may impede their learning. The use of functional behavioral assessments provides an important and meaningful opportunity to improve the individualized education program (IEP) and services for students with disabilities, to promote access to general education curriculum and to ensure safe and well-disciplined schools.
The underlying premise of this guidance document is that functional behavioral assessments should be viewed as an integral part of evaluation and reevaluation procedures and not as an isolated practice reserved for a student who has engaged in behavior that may have violated a school district's code of conduct. Functional behavioral assessments should be integrated, as appropriate, throughout the process of developing, reviewing and revising a student's IEP when students demonstrate behaviors that impede learning. This will ensure that functional behavioral assessments are conducted appropriately in all situations to address student needs as well as situations in which administrative or legal proceedings may be encountered.
The key standards for functional behavioral assessments include:
The following information should guide how schools conduct functional behavioral assessments and use the results of such assessments in designing an appropriate educational program for a student with a disability or a student suspected of having a disability. The goal is to ensure that behavioral interventions for students with disabilities are instituted that have the highest likelihood of success, thus creating safe and conducive learning environments.
Functional behavioral assessment is the process of determining why a student engages in challenging behavior and how the student's behavior relates to the environment. Functional assessments describe the relationship between a skill or performance problem and variables that contribute to its occurrence. Functional behavioral assessments can provide the CSE with information to develop a hypothesis as to:
This type of assessment often involves reviewing curriculum, instructional and
motivational variables in relation to a student's behavior and/or examining classroom
arrangements, individuals present, physical health issues, instructional subject and work
1 Functional Behavioral Assessment: Policy Development in Light of Emerging Research and Practice. National Association of State directors of special Education (NASDSE), March 1998
A functional behavioral assessment should minimally include the following components:
A variety of techniques are available to conduct a functional behavioral assessment including, but not limited to:
References to consideration of a student's behavior that impedes learning can be found in several sections of IDEA including those on evaluation, considerations in the development of the IEP, the role of the general education teacher in the development of the IEP and discipline.
IDEA requires that, in the case of a child whose behavior impedes the learning of the child or others, the CSE, as appropriate, must consider strategies, including positive behavioral interventions and supports, to address that behavior. The results of a student's individual evaluation information, including the functional behavioral assessment, are reviewed at a CSE meeting. IDEA requires that one of the members of the CSE be an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results. Therefore, for students with behaviors that impede learning, it is recommended that an individual knowledgeable about behavioral assessments and intervention planning participate in the CSE meetings. This individual could be the school psychologist or the special or regular education teacher. In addition, the regular education teacher of the child, as a member of the CSE, participates in the development of the IEP of the student, including the determination of appropriate positive behavioral interventions and strategies.
It is the responsibility of the CSE to ensure that functional behavioral assessments, where appropriate, are conducted and reviewed to:
In addition, CSEs must address behaviors that result in disciplinary actions.
Functional behavioral assessments provide specific information to the CSE concerning the design and implementation of effective strategies to address a student's behaviors. The identification of positive behavioral supports should be based on the functional behavioral assessment and address short-term prevention, the teaching of alternative skills, responses to problem behaviors and long-term prevention. Pages 13-14 of the attached document provide guidance on the recommended components of a comprehensive behavioral intervention plan.
The attached sections from the March 1998 publication, Functional Behavioral Assessment: Policy Development in Light of Emerging Research and Practice developed by the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), provide guidance on:
A copy of the complete NASDSE publication may be obtained by contacting Dr. W. David Tilly, Iowa Department of Education, Grimes Building, Des Moines, IA 50319 (firstname.lastname@example.org)or the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, 1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 320, Alexandria, VA 22314.
Additional information regarding functional behavioral assessments developed by the Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice may be found on the internet at http://www.air-dc.org/cecp/resources/problembehavior/main.htm. Questions regarding this memorandum should be directed to (518) 473-2878.
NOTE: The attachments referenced in this memorandum are not available through the internet. A copy of the complete memorandum with attachments may be requested by contacting VESIDSPE@mail.nysed.gov or contact your local SETRC http://www.nysed.gov/vesid/setrc.html.[an error occurred while processing this directive]