treatment, which includes using interventions with proven short- and long-term benefits. Behavior analysts also are required to “recommend reinforcement rather than punishment whenever possible” (BACB, 2017, p. 13), and when punishment procedures are required, behavior analysts must include a reinforcement component for an alternative behavior.Teachers also can follow the BACB’s guidance by asking the following questions prior to considering the use of punitive or more restrictive Figure 2. Three panels of plotted data for percentage of time in seat for baseline condition, ineffective intervention condition, and effective intervention condition
388 COUNCILFOREXCEPTIONALCHILDRENprocedures: (a) whether there is a behavior that can be taught or strengthened that will functionally replace the target behavior, and (b) whether the environment can be adjusted so that the target behavior is no longer necessary. For example, when attempting to decrease the number of times a student calls out during class, a teacher might teach the student to raise a hand as an alternative method to obtain the teacher’s attention and ignore talk-outs instead of delivering derisive statements. Ultimately, interventions are designed to help students meet their needs by teaching and reinforcing functional skills.Function-Based AssessmentsPrior to designing behavior reduction interventions, an educational team should conduct a functional behavioral assessment (FBA). An FBA involves data collection methods aimed at evaluating environmental variables and their relation to the target behavior. These assessment methods use a person-centered approach and do not treat behaviors such as aggression (e.g., hitting, kicking, spitting) the same way for every student who engages in aggressive behaviors. Instead, practitioners determine why the person engages in aggression toward others and create function-based interventions (i.e., interventions addressing why the student engages in the target behavior) to help students express their needs in more socially appropriate ways (Cooper et al., 2007). For example, after thorough assessment, an intervention team might determine Walden hits his teacher when he is trying to escape a demand, but Eleanor hits her mother when she wants to play on the tablet. Instead of implementing the same procedures, or just a punishment-based program to decrease hitting, the team might help Walden learn to ask for a break and teach Eleanor to ask for a turn on the tablet.Behavior analysts, teachers, paraprofessionals, students, teachers, and other stakeholders should all be key players of a collaborative team when conducting FBAs. Furthermore, it is important to not only understand the relation between the target behavior and environmental variables but to also understand the target behaviors’ impact on those involved in these experiences, including the individual.