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Masters of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certification

Functional Assessment Based Intervention (FABI) - Topic 55

What is it?

Functional Assessment Based Interventions or FABIs are interventions based on the reasons problem behaviors occur.  A function-based approach is used to determine why a specific behavior is occurring. The motive for specific behavior (i.e. aggression) is identified by conducting a functional behavioral assessment.  The functional behavioral assessment is a tool used to determine the function of a specific behavior.  Once the function of the behavior is identified, an intervention is designed to specifically address the behavior and its function. The intervention is implemented and monitored using a single-subject research design (i.e. reversal or multiple baseline). This is done to ensure a functional relation is established between the intervention and the target behavior.  The intervention must be monitored for reliability, treatment integrity, social validity, generalization and maintenance in order to draw accurate conclusions from the outcome data. The procedure used to conduct a FABI include (a) collect data to determine function of behavior (b) analyze data to determine function of target behavior (c) design intervention linked to the function of behavior (d) evaluate the changes made by the intervention to the target behavior.  

Why is it important?

FABI is important because it answers the question “why” a child is engaging in a specific (potentially harmful) behavior.  It also allows the instructor to design and implement an intervention that is individualized to meet the needs on one specific student.  The goal of the FABI is to design interventions to replace undesirable behavior with safe, socially appropriate behavior.  


Cooper, J.O., Heron, T.E., & Heward, W.L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.) Upper

Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Pearson.

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