Thursday, June 13, 2013

Functional Developmental Assessment: A Tool to Analyze Your Child’s Behavior


By Eve Kessler, Esq.
A child’s behavior is disruptive. Why is she behaving this way? Is she looking for attention? Avoiding a task? Seeking other forms of tangible reinforcement? Being reinforced through the behavior itself? How can we promote more appropriate behavior?
A Functional Developmental Assessment is a tool well-suited to answering those questions, which in turn will enable you to address problem behaviors. Picking up where Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) leaves off, Functional Developmental Assessment (FDA) adds another dimension to the analysis commonly used to diagnose behavior problems: the developmental bigger picture.
Children behave the way they do for “functional” reasons: their actions have a specific purpose. The cause of their behavior is related to what has happened immediately prior to or after the behavior in question. The underlying idea of an FBA is that if we examine and understand the antecedent (prior circumstances) and consequence that sustain the target behavior—the A-B-Cs of behavior—we can change those factors, and that will increase desired behavior. FDA goes one step further, suggesting that we need to look at other factors as well.

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