Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #503
Functional Behavioral Assessments: Ethical, Legal and Practical Considerations
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
W185a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: PRA/EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Rebecca Ryan (Sandbox ABA)
Discussant: Mitchell T. Taubman (Autism Partnership)

Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs) are a tool used to understand the function of a child's behavior. Frequently, schools, families and community providers struggle with challenging behaviors of a child. An FBA can help clarify the function of the challenging behaviors and provide a roadmap for specific interventions designed to help address them. This symposium will address the ethical, legal and practical consideration applicable to behavior analysts. This presentation is intended for providers to learn when an FBA is warranted, legal and ethical considerations, the essential elements of an FBA under IDEIA and standard ABA practices, as well as data collection methodologies and development of recommendations.

Keyword(s): Ethics standards, FBA, legal standards

Legal Standards for Functional Behavioral Analysis


The various legal standards and interpretations for functional behavioral assessments will be reviewed. The discussion will cover federal regulations, OSERS and OPSEP interpretations of those regulations. In particular an understanding of FBAs as responses to severe behaviors that warrant removal from educational placements versus use of FBAs as "evaluations." for purposes of determining eligibility and services.


Practical Considerations in Developing a Functional Behavioral Assessment

NATALIE BADGETT (University of Washington)

Many factors are weighed in deciding when and how an FBA will be completed. This presentation will look to the practical considerations, particularly those imposed by school systems. The pressures on all parties frequently seem to outweigh the best interest of the client. How best to understand the various factors influencing interested parties, especially those of the client, are primary concerns of behavior analysts. This presentation reviews current practices among schools around the country, and compares them to legal and ethical concerns, as well as the notion of "best" versus "common" practice.


Getting from Here to There: Communication Strategies for Effective Implementation of Behavior Intervention Plans


Given the many weaknesses in the system, the art of persuasion - getting to "yes" - is a critical juncture in acceptance and implementation of appropriate behavior change programs. This presentation will focus on how to persuade with the presentation of facts based on data, training requirements of teachers and paraprofessionals, and measurement of both teacher/para proficiencies and student behavior change.


Ethical Considerations in Developing an FBA

JENNIFER CRAWFORD (Crawford Strategies)

This presentation will review the basic requirements outlined under the BACB guidelines for behavior change interventions, including requirements in drafting behavior change interventions. The presentation will outline BCBA responsibilities as well as how those professional responsibilities may at times conflict with the legal standards. The presentation will offer possible solutions for the practicing BCBA on bridging the gaps between his legal and ethical responsibilities.




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