Functional Behaviour Assessments and the Body Life Skills Program

As the Body Life Skills Program is derived from Functional Behaviour Assessments (FBA), the following provides some additional information on FBAs and the important role they play in behavioural change interventions. Essentially, an FBA is a process of assessing and collecting information to understand why behaviours occur and what outcome is wanted (Moreno, 2010). This can then support in developing accurate, effective and personalised treatment plans for an individual who frequently uses problematic behaviours.
(Flindall et al., (2022)

Originally derived from the behavioural works of Skinner (1953), Functional Behaviour Assessments work to not only understand the functions of behaviour (why they occur), but also to hypothesise what outcome they want to achieve. These outcomes can include positive/negative reinforcement, which are broad terms that can be broken down into two identifications (Cooper et al, 2007). Positive reinforcement can be defined as anything that a person can then be given from a behaviour, i.e. a wanted result, a new computer game, attention or a favourite dessert, etc. Negative reinforcement can be any outcome where a person no longer has to engage with an aversing stimulus, whether it be a person, activity, environment or sensory-based challenge.

Where FABIC shines is its Body Life Skills model, which simplifies the above into everyday language that anybody can use to understand behaviour, regardless of age or behavioural expertise. For example, FABIC uses words and phrases such as ‘life lessons’ and ‘triggers’, to represent the behavioural terms of ‘antecedents’ and ‘aversive stimuli’(Curtis, 2017). These life lessons are explained as parts of life we don’t yet have the skills for and serve as an understanding that any individual can learn and develop new skills and then correspondingly reduce their reliance on behaviours of concern (Curtis, 2017). This is congruent with evidence-based therapies and treatments such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), where the focus is on improving and developing one’s capacity to build skills relating to a behaviour of concern, with the end goal in reducing the negative impacts on an individual’s state of wellbeing (Davidson, 2008; Panos et al., 2014).

Overall, Functional Behaviour Assessments are fundamental in understanding behaviours and why individuals use them, and they are integral in supporting FABIC’s clients with accurate recommendations and tailor-made Positive Behaviour Support Plans.

The combination of Functional Behaviour Assessments and the Body Life Skills Program offers a great step towards lasting behaviour change, by addressing the areas of life that an individual has not yet got the skills to respond to (life lesson, trigger, antecedent), and then building the required skills to limit the reliance on and use of escalated and non-preferred behaviours.

After all, FABIC stands for: Functional Assessment Behaviour Intervention Clinic and is supportive for anyone who uses behaviours they would like to change.

Joss Ferguson
Psychologist & Behavioural Support Practitioner, BPsychSc & GradDipPsychAdv

More information regarding FBAs and FABIC’s Behaviour Model can be found below:

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