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Candace’s Functional Behavioral Assessment

            Mr.
Reeves, Principle at Dunluce School, contacted the Kinnection program regarding
an eight-year-old girl named Candace. It has been reported that Candace is
exhibiting aggressive behaviors within her school environment by her teachers.
In the previous school year Candace has been classified as “hyper” student,
however the school feels this year her behaviors have escalated to a level they
no longer have the skills to manage. Dunluce School does have a program to
assist with student that struggling to demonstrate social appropriate
behaviors, they feel that this program is not helping Candace. Dunluce School
does lack some resources such as on-site psychologist. This is due to lack of funding.
They are wanting to hire a Behavior Specialist from the Kinnection program to
work with Candace’s teacher on modify her behaviors. Ms. Stephanie Sputek,
Behavior Specialist, has agreed to take the case. She will education the staff
at Dunluce School on the procedure of a Functional Behavioral Assessment. From
there she will comprise an intervention plan to replace Candace’s aggressive
behavior with more socially appropriate behavior.

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            Dunluce
School is located in Edmonton, Alberta. It is an Elementary school that teaches
children from Kindergarten to Grade 6. Dunluce School has teachers on staff
that specialize in the following areas difficulties: reading, writing, speech,
and social issues. They are not expertised in dealing extreme behavioral
issues, such as aggression. Candace’s aggressive behavior is described by her teachers
as: name-calling, pushing, hitting, kicking of other students during her recreational
time. When Candace is reprimanded for these behaviors her becomes more
escalated. She will beginning scream loudly, hit the walls, and throw objects
within her reach. This “tantrum like” behavior will continue, until reprimand
period ends.

          Ms. Sputek, assembles a meeting of Candace’s
support team: teachers, principal, and her parents. During the meeting, she
will review the steps that will need to take place for an intervention plan to
be developed for Candace. Ms. Sputek will explained what a functional behavior
assessment (FBA) is and what will need to occur for its completion. Ms. Sputek
obtains written permission from Candace’s parents to proceed with the FBA during
the meeting. She would not have been able to move forward with helping Candace
without this permission; as she would be in violation of the APA ethics code of
informed consent (APA, 2017). Once the written permission was obtained, Ms. Sputek
informed each member of Candace’s support team what their role will be throughout
the implementation of the FBA. It was also explained to the group that changes
to Candace’s behaviors will not occur quickly that it will be a process, that take
time. After the meeting it appeared that Candace’s teachers, principal and
parents were confident that Ms. Sputek would be to assist them in changing Candace’s
aggressive behaviors to more socially appropriate behaviors.   

            A
complete Functional Behavioral Assessment utilizes both indirect and direct
descriptive assessments. An indirect assessment will come from individuals who
are directly involved with Candace (Steege & Watson, 2009). These
individuals will provide information that will assist in generating a
hypothesis on Candace’s behavior (Steege & Watson, 2009). The direct descriptive
assessments are a combination of direct observations collected by: Ms. Sputek, Candace’s
teachers, and family members. The direct observations occur over the course of
4 weeks. The indirect assessments identify where the focus of the direct
observations need to take place (Steege & Watson, 2009). Not only does that
help focus attention in the appropriate places it allows ensure that time and
money are being managed efficiently (Steege & Watson, 2009). Ms. Sputek explains
it is important to have input from all parties involved with Candace, as her
direct observation alone would unlikely observe all of the behaviors that have
been identified.  Input from all parties will
give Ms. Sputek a clearer understanding of Candace’s behavior.

            The
functional behavioral assessment (FBA) will identify any conditions or
activities that are occurring when Candace is exhibiting her aggressive
behaviors (Steege & Watson, 2009). Ms. Sputek has chosen to use the
functional assessment informant record for teachers.  She will give Candace’s parents and volunteer
staff, antecedent variable assessment forms and consequence variable assessment
forms to complete.

            The
first step is to have the teachers fill out the functional assessment informant
record. These are record are a teacher-completed report, that consists of four
sections: general referral information, problem behaviors, antecedents, consequences
(Steege & Watson, 2009). 

            The
next step is to have the antecedent variable assessment form and consequence
variable assessment form completed by Candace’s parents and volunteers
staff.  The antecedent variable
assessment form, records pre-behavior stimuli; such as her environments, the
activities she engages in, the social aspects of the situation and how well Candace
transitions from one situation to another (Steege & Watson, 2009). The consequence
variable assessment form records the “consequences”, what the staff does when
Candace is exhibiting
her aggressive behavior. This helps determine whether Candace
is “gaining” something or “escaping” something by her behavior (Steege &
Watson, 2009).

            Candace’s
parents, teacher and classroom volunteers have been asked to use the direct
descriptive assessment form and the functional behavioral assessment
observation form by Ms. Sputek.  These
forms will be used during class, as well as at home to observe Candace’s
behaviors in difference environments. The forms will be used to record the
following information any time Candace exhibits aggressive behavior: time,
setting, any antecedent event, consequences that result. There will be several
people filling out the forms at different times. By having several people
filling out these forms, it allows for a larger data collect to determine if
there are certain times of day, particular settings, or other events that have
a larger effect on Candace’s behavior (Steege & Watson, 2009).

            Prior to completing the
direct descriptive forms Ms. Sputek conducts a workshop for Candace’s parents,
teachers, and volunteer staff on how to properly observe Candace.  Within this workshop she demonstrates how to properly
fill out the forms and record data.  It
is explained to the group what role Ms. Sputek has within the assessment as
well as the forms she will be utilizing. 
Ms. Sputek has chosen to use interval recording procedure (IRP), and the
conditional probability record (CPR) well observing Candace (Steege &
Watson, 2009).

            The
interval recording procedure (IRP) documents behaviors in pre-specified
intervals, such as 10, 15, 20 mins (Steege & Watson, 2009). It should only
be used by a trained professional, as it involves the direct observation and
recording of the individual behaviors (Steege & Watson, 2009). Ms. Sputek
believes by recording in this way, she will be able to see what is going on within
the classroom.  The IRP will be used to
record how Candace’s aggressive behavior disrupts the class, the severity of
the disruption, the duration of the disruption, all staff who were present
during the display of disruptive behavior, and any consequences resulting from
the behavior (Steege & Watson, 2009).

            Once
Ms. Sputek has completed the interval recording procedure(IRP) she will
complete the conditional probability record (CPR).  The CRP will aid in figuring out what is making
Candace react so aggressively towards the other students. It will also provide
Ms. Sputek with how the other students react towards Candace and what her
teachers and volunteer staff do when she behavior that way. This analysis will
provide Ms. Sputek the information she need to predict when Candace will
display her behaviors.  At this point it
will beneficial for Ms. Sputek to have a conversation with Candace’s parents to
find out more about Candace’s past, and her current home life.

          Ms. Sputek would like to collect
information specifics about Candace’s younger years such as illnesses,
accidents, trauma etc. During the interview with her parents, Ms. Sputek
discovered that Candace had spent 2 weeks at a family friends home 6 months
ago, when her parents went on a holiday. 
Candace’s parents explained that she had not been happy to be “left
behind”.  Also, since her stay with the family
friends, they have separated. It is believed the reason for the separation is due
to domestic violence.  The parent’s stated
that Candace has not expressed witnessing any fighting well she stayed there, she
just says she “never wants to go back”. Candace may have been witness to the
domestic violence whether physically or verbally during her time with the family
friends. Ms. Sputek feels that Candace’s perception of being “left behind” and
possible witnessing domestic violence may have been a strong catalyst for Candace’s
behavior. This was important information that Ms. Sputek collected as Candace’s
behavior issues escalated to their current status shortly after her parent’s
holiday.

            With
the indirect assessments completed, and the information collected on Candace’s
home life, Ms. Sputek will begin her own observations. As discussed previously,
Ms. Sputek will be using the IRP and CPR, direct descriptive assessment forms. Since
Candace had been labelled a normal hyper child until this year, Ms. Sputek is most
likely conclude that her recent behavior issues at school are due to her home
life.  Once Ms. Sputek has all of the necessary
information from Candace’s teachers and volunteers staff, her understanding of how
Candace reacts to certain stimulus will be clearer.  Ms. Sputek feels confident will all the
information that has been gathered by the team, that Candace will return to her
happy, helpful self by constructing an intervention to help her through her behavioral
issues.  

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