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Behavioral Assessment

Intercare Therapy

Autism Specialist with locations throughout California, Colorado, Oregon & Nevada

A behavioral assessment is an essential tool used to evaluate a child’s difficult behaviors and determine the best course of action for eliminating the problem. The team at Intercare Therapy has extensive experience performing behavioral assessments. To schedule an appointment, fill out the contact form online or call one of the offices in Denver, Colorado; Las Vegas, Nevada; or Lake Oswego near Portland, Oregon, or one of the eight offices throughout California in Sacramento, Riverside, Windsor Square in Greater Los Angeles, West Covina in East Los Angeles, Canoga Park in North Los Angeles, Escondido in San Diego, Anaheim in Orange County, and Hayward in the East Bay region of San Francisco.

Behavioral Assessment Q & A

What is a behavioral assessment?

A behavioral assessment, also called a functional behavioral assessment (FBA), is performed when your child struggles with challenging behaviors. The goal of an FBA is to determine:

  • Why your child misbehaves
  • What reinforces their behavior
  • What interventions will decrease the challenging behavior
  • What interventions will increase the desired behavior

FBAs are often requested when behavior problems persist at school. However, an FBA is also an essential tool for dealing with unwanted behaviors that occur at home, during socialization, or in the community.

What happens during a behavioral assessment?

The FBA is a data-gathering process that begins by defining your child’s specific problem behavior. The second step is collecting information about when, where, and how often the behavior occurs. Additionally, your Intercare Therapy provider learns what happens right before and after the behavior.

Your provider talks with parents, teachers, and caretakers and asks them to complete questionnaires or surveys. The FBA may also include direct observation of your child. 

As your provider observes the behavior in the setting in which it typically occurs, they gather a wealth of information and insight. For the final step, your Intercare Therapy team analyzes the information

What happens after the behavioral assessment is finished?

Challenging behavior generally serves a purpose or exists for a reason. Knowing the reason is the only way to create an effective treatment plan to stop the behavior.

Using the FBA information, your provider can determine the potential reasons why the behavior happens. Then they explore the possibilities, find an answer, and develop a treatment plan.

Here’s a simple example. Let’s say your child suddenly starts talking every time the teacher begins a math lesson. When they don’t stop talking after a warning, the teacher routinely punishes them by sending them to the resource room or time-out room.

If your child consciously or unconsciously wanted to get out of the math lesson, the teacher’s punishment is actually a reward that reinforces the unwanted behavior. If talking is a way to deal with anxiety about math or something unrelated to math that happens at that time of day, the routine punishment for perceived misbehavior doesn’t solve the problem.

There are numerous reasons behind all difficult behaviors, and without an FBA, the adult’s response may only serve to reinforce and worsen the problem. After an FBA, your provider can recommend a course of action that stops the problem.

If your child needs a behavioral assessment, call Intercare Therapy or fill out the contact form online.