Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)

What's Required


In cases where a decision is made to change the placement of a child with a disability because of a violation of a code of student conduct, the LEA, the parent, and relevant members of the child’s IEP Team (as determined by the parent and the LEA), collectively referred to here as the IEP Team, must conduct a manifestation determination consistent with the requirements in 34 CFR §300.530(e). If the IEP Team determines that the conduct was a manifestation of the child’s disability, it must take one of two actions:


1) conduct an FBA, unless the LEA has conducted an FBA before the behavior that resulted in the change of placement occurred, and implement a behavioral intervention plan (BIP) for the child; or


2) if a BIP already has been developed, review the BIP, and modify it as necessary, to address the behavior. 34 CFR §300.530(f)(1)(i) and (ii).


Therefore, an LEA is not required to conduct an FBA in every situation where an IEP Team determines that a child's conduct was a manifestation of his or her disability. In cases where the IEP Team seeks to conduct an FBA to determine if a child’s conduct was a manifestation of his or her disability, the LEA must obtain parental consent because - “[a]n FBA is generally understood to be an individualized evaluation of a child in accordance with 34 CFR §§300.301 through 300.311 to assist in determining whether the child is, or continues to be, a child with a disability.


The FBA process is frequently used to determine the nature and extent of the special education and related services that the child needs, including the need for a BIP. As with other individualized evaluation procedures, and consistent with 34 CFR §300.300(a) and (c), parental consent is required for an FBA to be conducted as part of the initial evaluation or a reevaluation.”


What We Do


An FBA is a structured data gathering process an ARD committee uses to help identify positive behavior interventions and supports to be used in the school. This process is used for students with behavioral or emotional problems that interfere with their educational progress or the progress of other students. Texas School for the Deaf uses a multimodal school-based process, which includes the parent/guardian, the student (as appropriate), instructional/residential staff who have knowledge of the student and the behaviors of concern. Conducting a functional assessment before behavior escalates into a disciplinary action allows both the teacher and parents to focus on positive outcome and can help build positive relationships between the student, the school staff, and family. The FBA is used to determine the answers to the following three questions:

      1. Why does the student have challenging behavior?
      2. What reinforces the challenging behavior?
      3. What positive interventions help decrease the challenging behavior and increase the desired behavior.

This assessment is designed to help educators determine the appropriateness of the student’s present educational services, whether changes would help the student display more acceptable behavior, identify positive behavioral interventions and supports that may reduce the undesirable behavior, and identify appropriate behaviors to replace, in whole or in part, the inappropriate ones.  If positive behavioral interventions are already in place, the FBA will help to determine whether or not the positive behavioral interventions are effective, need to be revised, and/or additional interventions should be added to the BIP.


Behaviors, by way of example and not of limitation, which may indicate the need for a Functional Behavior Assessment:



      1. The student’s maladaptive behavior or adverse behavior patterns persist despite consistently applied school and residential interventions; 
      2. The student is engaging in behavior that has placed, or may place the student or others, at risk of harm or injury, or cause destruction of property; 
      3. The student’s behavior requires more intrusive and restrictive procedures and/or consideration of a more restrictive placement for the student; 
      4. The student’s behavior indicates the need for a more comprehensive evaluation and additional information is necessary for educational, behavioral, psychological, and/or programming reasons; 
      5. The student may have been adjudicated for criminal acts;
      6. The student may be withdrawn and may not participate in residential and educational activities without significant prompting from staff (the student may not be displaying overt, acting-out behaviors);
      7. The student’s behavior is significantly interfering with the student’s intellectual, social, emotional development and/or the development of others.


The FBA process shall include the following steps:

  • Parent/Adult Student Consent:  Behaviors of concern and the request for evaluation must be discussed and documented in an ARD. The evaluator will need to open up a REED during the ARD meeting. Procedural Safeguards along with Prior Written Notice for the FBA will be given to the student’s parent(s)/guardian or to the adult student and consent for evaluation must be received prior to conducting the FBA.
  • The FBA Team May Include the Following Members: School administrators, the student’s counselor, Educational Diagnostician/LSSP, Behavior Support staff, residential staff, instructional staff, and any other staff involved in the student’s academic and/or residential programming.
  • Planning Meeting: Once an FBA consent form is signed, the LSSP/Educational Diagnostician should schedule an assessment planning meeting. The multi-disciplinary team  should determine who will conduct the parent/guardian and student interviews to get feedback regarding behavior at home and in the community. It should be the person(s) with the best relationship and can elicit the responses the team needs to make good recommendations. 
  • Notification and Information Gathering:  The department LSSP/Educational Diagnostician will coordinate the FBA process. This includes scheduling an FBA sharing meeting to review the evaluation and communicating with Admissions/Records that the ARD is ready to be set. The ARD meeting will be scheduled no later than 30 calendar days from the date of the FBA due date and invitation sent to parent/guardian/adult student and LEA (if district referral).
  • Student Observation: The FBA shall include current observations of the student, if applicable in a structured and unstructured environment. Depending on the needs of the student, an observation will be conducted by a counselor, LSSP, Diagnostician, and/or behavior staff.  In cases, where the student has been removed from their classroom settings and observations are not possible, information from instructional and residential staff will be obtained through FBA data collection form. 
  • Timeline: The FBA will be completed within 30 school days after receiving the signed consent from a parent or adult student unless included in an FIE.  If this is the case, the due date will coincide with the due date of the overall evaluation. The due date may be extended due to a delay in obtaining the consent from the parent/guardian/adult student. In this case an amendment will be completed to document the new due date.


Roles and Responsibilities: 

LSSP/Educational Diagnostician — Coordinates the FBA process. This includes completing a file review and summarizing educational, residential, attendance, health information, and other relevant information into the file review and entering that information into eSped. The LSSP/Educational Diagnostician may also conduct classroom observations and share information with the behavior team.  The LSSP/Educational Diagnostician creates the draft BIP to bring to FBA ARD meeting. The BIP shall include feedback from parents, teachers, residential staff, and other staff who work with the child (this could be done through SST/MTSS/Staffing). If a Behavior Plan is developed, consider also adding a behavior IEP goal. 


Behavior staff— Reviews student behavior information to include: current behavior interventions and student response to those interventions, information about patterns and trends of behaviors (frequency, intensity, duration, triggers), discipline records and staff observations about student behavior. May conducts classroom, dorm, and unstructured time observations. If a Behavior Plan is developed or a behavior IEP goal is added, the behavior staff will both provide direct services, monitor the plan, and provide progress notes for the ARD. 


Counselor— Gathers relevant information - e.g. suicide evaluation file review, psychiatric history; and summarizes counseling services.  This information is provided to the Evaluator assigned to the FBA.


Residential staff—Completes residential staff input form and provides additional information regarding student and parent interactions, student’s ability to follow the dorm rules and discipline system. DRE summarizes the dorm incident reports for the Evaluator and Behavior staff (to add to their summary). 


Teachers—Complete teacher input form and provide additional information regarding student and parent interactions, interventions tried, and accommodations most often used. 


Nurse—Provides a summary of significant medical history; current medications and medication compliance history; and any significant information the Health Center may have about current behavior.


Related Service Providers—Review any current assessment or information that may be related to the student behavior. Provides feedback regarding behavior observed during classroom observations, pull out therapy sessions, and the transition times. Can assist with interventions and strategies such as social stories, sensory objects, etc.


 During the FBA Process

  1. Behavior support can begin at any time during this process with parent notification;
  2. Rewards, compliance training (including visual feedback), and other interventions should be tried and their effectiveness should be documented;
  3. The FBA evaluation should be developed and shared with the multidisciplinary team, including student strengths and behaviors of concern as well as preliminary recommendations prior to the FBA ARD;
  4. If the student shows marked improvement after the start of new medication, implementation of a behavior plan, or new behavior strategies, this can be indicated in the FBA. The team should consider what supports the student would need if they did not have these in place so if there is a change, there is a plan in place. 

The FBA meeting 

The following tasks shall be addressed at the FBA meeting:

  1. Review FBA information and recommendations with all team members;
  2. Share hypotheses about function(s) of the behavior(s);
  3. Share draft/revise BIP and behavior IP goals using the FBA data;

Before the ARD

  1. The Behavior Staff and/or Evaluator will follow up with the parent and/or student to address questions or concerns they may have (as needed) and to review recommendations including draft BIP;
  2. The LSSP/Educational Diagnostician will contact the registrar/ARD facilitator to schedule an ARD meeting to share the FBA and/or BIP officially.

During and After the ARD:

  • At the FBA ARD, the recommendations will be reviewed.
  • If any additional evaluations were recommended, the evaluator will share results of those as well or obtain consent for additional evaluations needed.
  • After the ARD the Behavior Support Coordinator will disseminate the FBA recommendations and BIP/Contract to essential staff and schedule a time to train them. Staff should sign that they have been trained. These should be kept in case of records request.
  • The behavior staff will work with the essential staff to monitor the BIP/Contract, write progress reports for goals, and continue to conduct observations.
  • If the student shows consistent improvement and no longer indicates the need for a BIP after gradually reducing the level of support, the behavior staff will work with the department Principal to convene an ARD to remove it.


*Remember...if the student leaves TSD – the new school will need to know what supports the student received in order to be successful.




The Special Education Director, the Director of Instruction, Director of Student Life in collaboration with administrators, department LSSP/Educational Diagnosticians, and behavior support staff shall ensure that school personnel are trained in:

  1. The FBA, MDR, and BIP process.
  2. Topics or trends that appear frequently in the FBA meetings (e.g. how to work with students with ADHD, borderline cognitive/intellectual functioning, and autism as well as improving study skills, social skills, etc.) 
  3. Areas identified by staff to allow them to serve the students better.