4 Steps to Understanding a Child’s Behavior

Step 1: Identifying Problem Behavior

The first step is an interview with the parents to determine the target behavior(s). At the same time, a home observation can be conducted. ABC (Antecedent – Behavior – Consequence) forms will be provided and explained in order for parents to self-evaluate the target behaviors at home.

Step 3: Analyzing Information and Formulating Hypothesis

The specialist reviews all information from the interviews, observations and ABC forms. A hypothesis about why the child is displaying the targeted behavior will be formulated and recommendations to address these behaviors will be made.

Step 2: School Observation and Interview

Next, the child will be observed in their regular educational environment. The teacher will be interviewed and ABC forms will be provided and explained in order for the teachers to self-evaluate on target behaviors occurring in the educational environment.

Step 4: Report Meeting

During a meeting with parents, the hypothesis relating to displayed target behavior(s) are discussed. Recommendations about how to change and/or manage the behavior(s) will be discussed. If necessary, the child’s school and/or teacher(s) will also be included.

Behavior Modification/Applied Behavior Analysis

After the Functional Behavior Analysis has been completed, a Behavior Modification program could be introduced. Behavior Modification, also known as Applied Behavior Analysis, is an effective technique used to treat a variety of behavior problems. By consistently altering this consequence, it is likely that the target behavior(s) will be reduced.

FBA and Behavior Modification are especially beneficial for children that exhibit behaviors that inhibit his or her learning or that of others, such as:

  • Frequently leaving the seat during instruction in class
  • Temper tantrums
  • Cursing and inappropriate language
  • Aggression
  • Self-injuring
  • Extreme non-compliance towards parents or teachers


Functional Behavior Analysis and Behavior Modification printable PDF