Practical Tips for School Psychologists When Completing Functional Behavioral Assessments

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In light of the return to in-person instruction in many schools, you may receive more requests/referrals regarding students with presenting problem behaviors. Problem behaviors of such students often occur during instructional conditions, i.e., lecture presentation, seat work, etc. Why do some students respond to instructional conditions with significant oppositional and disruptive behaviors? Before considering a special education evaluation, or adding another disorder to their IEP’s, a “diagnosis” of putative classroom instructional factors should be fundamental.

Becoming disruptive and non-compliant during instructional tasks is often sustained (over time) when instructional conditions become aversive conditions/events. Unfortunately, this aversive property thereby sets up escape from instruction as a functional outcome for these students. Why do instructional conditions become aversive for these students? Either (or both) of the following factors often make such a condition aversive for a particular student: task difficulty and instructional task duration.

This one-hour webinar will focus on the function-based diagnosis of the following two factors (using the Cipani Behavioral Classification System) that often prevail with such students during instructional conditions: (a) the instructional material is too hard (i.e., instructional mis-match) or (b) it is way too lengthy for them. Two direct in-vivo classroom measures will be presented and depicted. Presented by Ennio Cipani, Ph.D. in March of 2022. This individual webinar can be purchased for $25 (scroll down to purchase). The content in this webinar is intertwined with Domains 1, 2, and 4 of the NASP Practice Model.’s recorded webinars are non-refundable. The target audience is school psychologists, and the skill level is intermediate. There is no conflict of interests or commercial support for this webinar. Attendees who complete this 1-hour webinar will receive 1.0 NASP-Approved CPD credit.

Participants will learn:

1. To delineate the two escape functions involved in maintaining problem behavior during instructional conditions

2. To use two methods for determining if instructional material difficulty is the pervading function of problem behavior during instructional conditions

3. To use two methods for determining if instructional session length (i.e., wacky contingency) is the pervading function of problem behavior during instructional conditions

Presenter’s Bio:

Ennio Cipani, PhD, is the author of a popular text, Functional Behavioral Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment (3rd edition) which was ranked #1 in the 10 best behavioral psychology textbooks by (May, 2020).  He is a co-author of the pioneering Cipani Behavioral Classification System for Children and Adolescents (Cipani & Cipani, 2019; free pdf for attendees) and has also authored a series of articles in Communiqué on functional behavioral assessment. Since 1983, Ennio has been a California licensed psychologist “who made house calls”; he and his behavioral staff provided on-the-spot training of parents and teachers on specifically designed contingency interventions for the individual referral problems. Many of his real-life cases in homes and schools are chronicled in the above text and a free online parent-guide to behavioral consequences (Cipani, 2004).

Attendee Feedback:

“This was the most practical FBA training I have been to. The handouts and real life examples were very helpful.” – Molly

“Excellent presentation and review of behavior principles! The content was presented concisely and applied to real world circumstances. The materials shared are helpful as well.” – Jennifer

“The presenter was very knowledgeable and relatable. He was down to earth and passionate about supporting behavior change. I appreciate that he made his resources free. He was very thorough with his presentation. I only wish that the presentation was longer and covered more information as he was such a great presenter!” – Melissa

“The presentation did a great job about teaching school psychologists about better ways to conduct FBAs.” – Amanda

“This was awesome. I loved the ABC chart. I love the practical language that is used. I can’t wait to read and learn more. Thank you!!!” – Marjorie

“Great content and resources that I can implement right away. Thank you!” – Shari

“Very practical information and tools that could be utilized immediately in my school setting. The use of examples and providing attendees with resources that are immediately available for our use was also very beneficial and appreciated.” – Shannon

“The presenter’s knowledge and pace were great. The information was clear and timely (given that many of us see an increase in behavior needs). Dr. Cipani made everything immediately practical and useful. I walked away with new information that I can use today.” – Eric

“Great presenter! He was very clear and organized in his presentation style so it was easy to follow and learn new skills. The handouts are fantastic!” – Ricia

“This presentation really did provide practical tips for FBAs! I do feel more equipped to actually identify the most common functions of behavior in the classroom and I am excited to put these tips into practice.” – Elena

This webinar received so many rave reviews that we created a blog post about it here.

Course Information

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