• Molly Watson

12 Important Facts about FBAs and BIPs for Children with Maladaptive Behavior

Updated: Jan 14

1. A functional behavior assessment (FBA) is a specialized evaluation of a student's behavior.

2. The purpose of the FBA is to determine the reasons for the student's maladaptive behavior and treat it. In conducting the FBA, data is collected regarding the student's behavior and a hypothesis is made as to the function of the behavior.

3. With information from the FBA, the student's IEP team is able to develop an appropriate plan for reducing and eliminating the student’s unwanted behaviors and replacing these behaviors with appropriate ones.

4. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), FBAs are necessary when a student's IEP team needs information from the evaluation to better understand the student's educational needs as relates to their behavior.

5. Under the IDEA, an FBA must be conducted when a student with an IEP is suspended for more than 10 consecutive school days or is otherwise subjected to a disciplinary change in placement.

6. Additionally, if a student’s behavior impedes his/her learning or the learning of others, the IEP Team is required to consider the use of positive behavioral supports and other strategies to address the behavior.

7. It is best practice for an IEP Team to conduct an FBA and develop a behavior plan even in the absence of these requirements.

8. After collecting data and developing a hypothesis about the function of the student’s behavior, the IEP team can create a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP).

9. The BIP should include positive behavioral strategies, supplementary aids and services, and other supports to address the student’s inappropriate behavior.

10. The interventions and supports in a student’s BIP must be tailored to address the function of the student’s behavior and to replace it with more appropriate behaviors.

11. These interventions may include teaching the student alternative skills or replacement behavior. The student may be provided with the services of a counselor or school psychologist to address academic or personal issues that contribute to the student's maladaptive behavior.

12. A school's failure to conduct an FBA may constitute a denial of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Such a failure may interfere with the parent's ability to participate in the IEP process.

If you believe your child may need new or different behavioral supports to address their maladaptive behavior in school, consider contacting a special education advocate of attorney.

Molly Watson

A California special education attorney

Call: 530-273-2740

Or email us at

Visit our website at

915 Highland Point Drive
Suite 250
Roseville, California
333 University Avenue
Suite 200
Sacramento, California
1901 Harrison Street
Suite 100
Oakland, California
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The information on the Caledattorney website is general information for California residents only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice or relied on for any individual case or situation.  We serve clients throughout California and  Northern California including Fresno, San Jose, PlacervilleStockton, Redding, Chico, Auburn, Grass Valley, Sacramento, Truckee, Marysville, Redding, San Francisco, Truckee, Elk Grove, Yuba City, EurekaSanta Rosa, Vacaville and Fairfield.

Molly Watson is available to meet with parents by Skype or FaceTime.


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