Functional behavioral assessment (FBA)

A systematic process of identifying challenging behavior, factors that influence its occurrence, and consequences imposed as a result of the behavior. This includes events that predict or come before challenging behavior (antecedents) and events that continue or reduce the occurrence of the challenging behavior (consequences).[i] [ii] The purpose of collecting this information is to develop and implement a behavior support plan (or behavior intervention) that is proactive, effective, relevant, and efficient in reducing the occurrence of challenging behavior.[iii]

[i] Division of Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children. (2015). Recommended practices glossary. Retrieved from

[ii] Artman-Meeker, K., & Hemmeter, M. L. (2014). Functional assessment of challenging behaviors. In M. McLean, M. L. Hemmeter, & P. Snyder (Eds.), Essential elements for assessing infants and preschoolers with special needs (pp. 242-270). Boston, MA: Pearson

[iii] Sugai, G., Horner, R. H., Dunlap, G., Hieneman, M., Lewis, T. J., Nelson, C. M., … & Turnbull, H. R. (2000). Applying positive behavior support and functional behavioral assessment in schools. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 2(3), 131-143.