What is a functional behavioral assessment (FBA), when is one required, and who conducts it?
There is nothing in the IDEA regulations that specifically spells out how a FBA is to be conducted; the determination of what constitutes a valid or a current FBA is defined by the IEP team. [34 C.F.R. Part 300, Analysis of Comments and Changes, Subpart E-Procedural Safeguards, Federal Register, Vol. 71, No. 156, p. 46721 (August 2006)] When developing a child’s IEP, in the case of a child whose behavior impedes his learning or that of others, the child’s IEP team must consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, and other strategies, to address the behavior. [34 C.F.R. § 300.324(a)(2)] However, the regulations only require behavior to be addressed with a FBA in certain disciplinary situations. [34 C.F.R. §§ 300.530(d)(1)(ii) and (f)(1)(i)] “The statute and regulations do not specify which individuals must conduct the FBA. There is no Part B requirement . . . that a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) conduct the FBA, unless State law imposes such a requirement.” [Letter to Janssen, 51 IDELR 253 (OSERS 2008)] Arizona imposes no such requirement.
What is a behavioral intervention plan (BIP), when is one required, and is one required any time a student eligible for special education has a problematic behavior?
The only time a behavioral intervention plan is required by the IDEA is when a student’s behavior that led to a disciplinary change of placement is determined to be a manifestation of his/her disability. [34 C.F.R. § 300.530(f)(1)(i-ii)] When this occurs, the IDEA regulations require the school to return the child to the placement from which he/she was removed and require the child’s IEP team to implement a behavioral intervention plan for the child, or review and modify it as necessary if there is already such a plan in place. [34 C.F.R. § 300.530(f)(1)] The regulations do not define behavioral implementation plan or explain what such a plan must look like; instead, this is left to the IEP team.
In the case of a child whose behavior impedes the child’s learning or that of others, the federal regulations require IEP teams to consider the use of positive behavioral interventions, supports, and other strategies to address that behavior. [34 C.F.R. § 300.324(a)(2)(i)] IEP teams have wide latitude in determining how to best address a child’s behavior, including behavioral goals, behavioral supports and services (such as a behavior coach or counseling services), or through a behavioral intervention plan. Additionally, behavior can be addressed outside of the IEP process through a behavior contract or through the use of informal strategies.