Functional Behavioral Assessment: Conducting an ABC Analysis

Functional Behavioral Assessment: Conducting an ABC Analysis


Teacher: All right, so today you have your graphic organizers. We’re
going to keep working on our stories. You have pictures on your tables, and I’ll be walking around to check to see if you need any
help with your trick, okay? So get to work. Kathleen Lane (vo): Okay, in this first instance you saw that the
teacher began by stating to the entire class “Here’s what we’re going to do. You’re going to get started on your task. You’re going
to use the trick which you see up on the white board.” She’s got POW already written up there, and that stands for “Pick my idea out,
Organize my notes, Write and say more.” She’s clarified the task to the class. She’s told everybody she’s going to be walking around to
offer any help. And, immediately, the first instance of the target behavior, non-compliance, occurs. Cameron flips his paper over and
begins doing something, but it’s not the task that she asked for. So on your sheet, where you have “behavior,” you can write down
“non-compliance” because that is the target behavior. He’s not complying. And if you have a very thorough operational definition of
non-compliance, you won’t necessarily need to write more, but you might want to. You could write, “Non-compliance, turns paper over,
begins writing.” The column to the left is the antecedent. That’s what was happening
in the classroom right before he exhibited non-compliance. In this case, I would simply write, “Teacher provides direction to the whole
class on getting started.” The next thing I would write is that the teacher offers assistance, making it clear that she’s going to be
walking around the classroom offering help. And, to the left of that, you have the time column, and let’s say that this happens all
at 9:04 in the morning. So right now on your sheet you have “9:04.” You have the antecedent condition being “teacher gives directions,
offers assistance.” You have the target behavior listed as “noncompliance/ turns paper over/ starts writing.” And let’s see
what the consequence is for him. Teacher: Cameron, we’re working on this side of the paper. Thank
you. [Cameron: I don’t want to do this. Teacher: Cameron, you can focus. You can do this. Think of this, of
the tricks. “I can do this.” Cameron: I don’t want to do this.
Teacher: Cameron… Kathleen Lane (vo): Now, in the next part of the chain, we saw that
the teacher walked over to him and was very clear in her consequence and said, “Cameron, we’re working on this side of the page right
now.” And that was the consequence for him, so that’s what happened immediately following his non-compliance. She came over and
redirected him. So I would in that column write “Teacher redirects.” Now, that consequence actually becomes the antecedent for the next
instance of the behavior. And you could simply draw an arrow, if you wanted to, from consequences to the next line in your antecedent
chart. Or you could write the exact same wording again, and this time we then see another instance of non-compliance where he says,
“I don’t want to do this,” and he throws down his pencil on top of the desk. And you see this is very quick. It’s, like, maybe not even
9:05 yet. But you could write the next time, or you could write “plus 30 seconds.” And then he again has an instance of
non-compliance, and let’s see what the new consequence is. Teacher: Cameron, you can focus. You can do this. Think of this, of
the tricks. “I can do this.” Cameron: I don’t want to do this.
Teacher: Cameron, do you want to go visit the principal? Cameron: OK.
(Students laugh.) Kathleen Lane (vo): Now, very quickly you saw again two more
instances of non-compliance. She responded by providing encouragement, saying “Remember, use the trick. You can do this.”
But that same consequence again served as a prompt, which was the antecedent for his final instance of non-compliance. And he again
refused to do the task. And then her consequence that time was to say, “Do you want to go to the principal’s office?” So in each
instance you can see it’s escalating, like an acting-out cycle, which you have the opportunity to learn about in another module. We
sometimes unintentionally, teachers and students, can escalate each other to the point where this exact thing happens, that teachers
reach the limits for which they’re willing and able to tolerate in the classroom. So the ultimate consequence now in this sequence was
that he was offered the choice of going to the principal’s office, and he elected to take that option. So now he’s leaving the class.
Now, you may notice that some of the students started laughing at the point. When we look at this A-B-C chart, at first glimpse, it
seems to be super cut-and-dry that, yes, this child is clearly escape-motivated. And then we are kind of left wondering, “Is it
possible that maybe this child is also maintained by attention?” That may be, but in this instance it’s to a far lesser extent than
the main function, which is escape. Sometimes, kids have certain behaviors that are extremely reinforcing because they’re serving
more than one function. When I look at this instance, this one snapshot in time of Cameron’s day, if I was coding I would see that
in each instance his behavior was being reinforced by escape from task, ‘cause he spent time arguing with the teacher rather than
doing the assignment, and ultimately he did get some attention at the end, both from the teacher and from the peer.

2 thoughts on “Functional Behavioral Assessment: Conducting an ABC Analysis

  1. I would like your permission to include your video in a training that I will be giving school administrators on the FBA process. I love the classroom example. The workshop is on 8/14/19. Thank you very much. I will credit you for the video in the workshop. If you agree, please indicate a link to embed.

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