Can an SLP Do an FBA?

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My child receives speech therapy services from an SLP. The SLP feels my child’s behavior has an adverse affect on his learning (more so than his speech impairment).

His SLP wants to conduct an FBA to determine the underlying conditions?  Can he do this?

Some students who have speech problems may also have behavior problems that need to be evaluated.

However, a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) should NOT attempt to do a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) unless he has the training to do so.

If your son’s SLP has observed behavior problems, a trained evaluator or behavior analyst may obtain information or a report from the SLP as part of the assessment.

FBAs include interviews and observations in different environments, and may include manipulating environment events.

An FBA should be conducted by a person who has been well-trained on collecting and analyzing this type of information.

Directly manipulating environment events should be conducted “only by a well-trained behavior analyst or someone else with a high degree of training and experience” because they can pose a danger to the child if not done correctly.

Please read this article by Dr. Stephen Starin about Functional Behavioral Assessments – What, Why, When, Where, and Who?

Advise the IEP team that you believe an FBA is needed and why.

In Chapter 7, Wrightslaw: All About IEPs, you will find a Sample Letter to Request a Functional Behavioral Assessment and Positive Behavior Support Plan.

  1. Great Resource on FBAs and BIPs

    Make a copy of “An IEP Team’s Introduction to Functional Behavioral Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans” and send it to the gatekeeper or (preferably) bring copies for IEP team members.
    In PDF –
    This publication is on a USDOE approved site so it will carry more weight than an article by a professional. “The IDEA Partnership website reflects the collaborative work of more than 55 national organizations, as well as technical assistance providers, and State and local organizations and agencies. Together with the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), the Partner organizations form a community with the potential to transform the way we work.”

  2. SLP Lacks Qualifications

    I would write a letter to request information about who will be doing the FBA, the training they have had. Express your desire and willingness to meet with the evaluator to provide info about child’s behavior in other environments (home, in public, church – wherever you observe child). You might invite the evaluator to observe child at home. Assume the school stonewalls. Document their position in a second letter. Attach an article or two by respected experts about how FBAs should be done. Repeat your invitation for the evaluator to observe child at home and other environments. Assume school continues to stonewall. Request prior written notice. Use the letter in this article as a template:

  3. My question after reading this is: Assuming that the SLP does not have the qualifications, but the district insists that they be allowed to do a FBA, but won’t say who will do it, what then? Can parents somehow restrict in some fashion the assessor so that he/she is qualified?

    Is our only recourse ask for an IEE after the fact?

    (I had considerable experience where the district refuses to specify who, what, or how an assessment will be done. Their typical exchange of information form reads “Between XXXX school district and any private provider.”)


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