cartoon boy standing up


Functional Behavior Assessment

Systematic way for looking at problem behavior in the context in which it happens.

A functional behavior assessment includes looking at:

  • setting events
  • Antecedents
  • Problem behaviors, and
  • Maintaining consequences

Setting Events

Setting Events are things that when a trigger is present increases the chances that the problem behavior will occur.


  • Settings
  • Lack of sleep
  • Medications
  • Illness
  • Change in routines/people


The antecedent is what happens right before the problem behavior; it is what "triggers" the behavior.

Challenging Behaviors

  • Measurable
  • Observable
  • Work on one challenging behavior at a time

Maintaining Consequences

  • Maintaining consequences are what occur directly AFTER the problem behavior that increase or maintain that behavior.

Record the Process

  • Setting Events: Dad gets home from work, mom is tired, she's been home with child all day--no adult interaction
  • Antecedent: Dad greets Mom and talks with her
  • Behavior: Child interrupts parents and tantrums
  • Consequence: Mom and Dad both yell at him
  • Function of the Behavior: Acknowledge/Attention
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