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The Process of Positive Behavior Support (PBS)

Step Three: Functional Behavioral Assessment

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Function

One of the most helpful things to keep in mind in working with young children is the realization that each and every behavior has a purpose—an underlying reason for why it occurs. Once the function or purpose of a behavior is identified, it is then possible to design interventions directly targeting the underlying reason for why it occurs.

Defined by context and pattern, functions of behavior are determined by understanding the events that occur before and after the behavior occurs—the patterns and chains of events that consistently occur when a child demonstrates challenging behavior. In most cases, the function of a child’s challenging behavior is either to obtain or get something or to escape or avoid something.

Types of Behavior Functions

To avoid…

  • Sensory Stimulation (pain and discomfort)
  • Attention (adults and peers)
  • Demands Tasks or activities
  • People
  • Activities

To obtain…

  • Sensory stimulation (internal)
  • Attention (adults and peers)
  • Objects and materials
  • People
  • Activities
  • Help
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