Hanley, G. P., Jin, C. S., Vanselow, N. R., & Hanratty, L. A. (2014). Producing meaningful improvements in problem behavior of children with autism via synthesized analyses and treatments. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47(1), 16-36. doi:10.1002/jaba.106
Healy, O., Brett, D., & Leader, G. (2013). A comparison of experimental functional analysis and the Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF) in the assessment of challenging behavior of individuals with autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 7(1), 66-81. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2012.05.006
Jessel, J., Ingvarsson, E. T., Metras, R., Kirk, H., & Whipple, R. (2018). Achieving socially significant reductions in problem behavior following the interview-informed synthesized contingency analysis: A summary of 25 outpatient applications. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 51(1), 130-157. doi:10.1002/jaba.436

A Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) is used to help the behavior analyst determine the function of specific troublesome behavior so that we can design an effective intervention for that behavior. To begin the FBA process, we conduct a parent interview, based on research by Hanley and others (2014) on  interview-informed synthesized contingency analysis (IISCA). Parents may be asked to complete a survey called Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF) to help us get more information about challenging behavior and confirm our interview findings. Next, we conduct a number of direct observations of the client in various settings that may evoke problem behavior and collect data on the behavior and intervening variables in the environment. Using all of this data, we identify possible functions for each behavior. A contrived functional analysis may be arranged to test the results of the FBA if there is uncertainty. 


School districts are required to conduct FBAs if a child is suspended for more than 10 school days due to behavior that may be a manifestation of their disability. We encourage parents to read school-district created FBAs carefully to make sure that what they observe is consistent with what you observe in your child. School districts rarely assign BCBAs or BCaBAs to conduct FBAs, which can lead to incorrect implementation, which leads to a behavior intervention plan (BIP) that does not actually address the true function of the behavior. As such, behaviors will often not improve and may even get worse.