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Develop and Outline a Comprehensive Functional Behavioral Assessment Report.

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Assessments: What are the Ethical Concerns and how to tell what Type will Work best Desmond Demetrice Edwards April 10, 2013

This assignment will discuss different types of assessments that can be administered to the clients aforementioned in order to properly develop a course of action to help assist them with their individual needs. For instance, what can be done to help this young man cope with his personal and family life? Is there any way that an assessment can help him rediscover the joys of life? Is it possible for the 41 year old divorcee to inner peace, and if so, how will an assessment correlate with this? Also, can the academic careers of the two students somehow be salvaged? This paper will delve into the different historical and contextual considerations for these clients in hopes that one can find similarities in the cases given. In addition, this paper will discuss the ethical and personal issues that could hinder an assessment from bearing the fruit that is needed to help these people in crisis find an alternative to the madness. Assessments can definitely either assist or hurt a client’s chance of recovery especially if the wrong one is given to them. B.F Skinner said in 1938 that, “we need to go beyond mere observation to a study of functional relationships” and that, “we may only do this by finding variables of which behavior is a function” (Steege & Watson 2009, p. 1). These quotes have a lot of meaning behind them. Skinner not only wanted to watch people in everyday relationships but he also wanted to identify the different sets of circumstances that life throws at us to examine first-hand how they can not only interfere with our transactions with others but how they make us behave as well. Of course when a person fails to act according to the rules and ideas that the society around them considers to be normal, “the resources of schools, social agencies and the families of the perpetrators are tested” (Steege & Watson 2009, p. 1). This is done by recommending counseling or therapy to those who have found themselves in precarious and volatile situations that can often lead to life threatening behavior. In the beginning, these counseling sessions usually started off with basic interviews and observations. Once the information was gathered and analyzed, then the interventions were put into play. They generally either opted for using the topography based intervention, which used tactics to correct issues in small parts. Then there was the case based method, which used tactics to correct issues that proved beneficial to others that had the same problem. Then there was the option of individual/ team preference based methods during this time period, where the administrators of the intervention chose the preferred method to treat a client. Practitioners felt comfortable treating client in the fashion simply because they could avoid damaging a child’s psyche by labeling them with a disorder, which could then lead to a delayed reaction as far as the treatment of erroneous behavior is concerned. Enter the 1980’s. It was a time when functional behavioral assessments really came into the forefront of how practitioners dealt with individuals who exhibited signs of risky behaviors. As our text stated, this era focused on, “interventions that were based on the function rather than merely the form of behavior” (Steege & Watson, p. 5). This is to say that from this point on, practitioners would focus on the complete aspect of behavior instead of just honing their attention on the cause of deviant behavior. This ideology revolutionized therapy simply because it allowed the clinical professionals a more direct approach as to how they would now handle cases from this point forward. The theory that behaviors “just don’t happen” and that there are many contributing factors that correlate with behavior, such as environmental and biological suddenly made sense. There was no a more valid explanation as to what made an individual’s behavior change from what would be considered normal to abnormal. As the approach changed, there were also new ethical concerns to be taken into consideration now. Now there were new laws such as the IDEIA, or the individuals with disabilities educational disabilities act, which came into existence in 2005. This law guaranteed that children with handicaps would receive a proper and equal education whether or not the “behavior is determined to be a manifestation of their disability” (Steege & Watson, p. 30 ). This means that a impaired person must receive an appropriate FBA and other services in an attempt to make certain the behavior doesn’t happen again. If it is proven that the behavior was indeed a result of the person’s disability and an intervention was previously developed, implementations will be made from that point. By law an FBA must be conducted within 10 days of a disciplinary removal regardless of why the behavior happened. Those behaviors include but is not limited to aggressiveness, verbal and physical abuse. Under no circumstance do the law allow anyone to conduct an FBA on a disruptive child before a ten day suspension. FBA are considered to be valid for a length of 3 years. If an instructor didn’t feel this step necessary at the time a decision needs to be made, they can always choose to place a student on an interim alternative education setting or an IAES, which can offer a temporary solution. Either way, one has to be absolutely certain that they are in adherence to the laws of the land, making sure they aren’t in violation of any confidentiality issues as well. I chose to take on the case of; Client #1: 7-year-old second-grader from intact family that recently moved into the school district. Now this case doesn’t start off at disadvantage as this kid is blessed to have come from a two parent household. It is believed that children who develop in this type of environment do better than those who do not. I have noticed the fact that the kid has recently switched districts, meaning he has gone from a familiar place to an environment that is virtually unknown. Armed with this knowledge, I think that my first interview would include the child as well as the parents. I would ask questions about the child’s daily activities at home. For example, I would want to know how he interacted with his siblings on a daily basis. I would need to know his birth order to possibly gain perspective on what his personality traits are (based on Adler’s theory). To further my investigation, I would question what his relationship with his parents was like and if he had pets in the home, the same question would apply. Taken it a step further, I would ask the parents when exactly the problems began at the new school and whether or not he had those same issues at the other school or if there were any diagnoses of learning disabilities in the past. If there have been any diagnoses or problems in the other school district, the first thing I would do is check is medical history as well as his transcripts from the previous school. Also access to the records will confirm whether or not the parents were honest with me. Once all of this has been done, I would then interview the child by himself and ask him why they have been having difficulty in their new environment. Have the parents and siblings been supportive or his predicament? What were his teachers like and were they also supportive? Last but not least, I would ask him how he felt his peers had treated him. I would phrase it this way because feelings aren’t facts and if his perception of the situation is slightly construed, I would put forth a tremendous effort to fix that issue. The assessment that I would feel most comfortable with at this point would be the school function assessment because his records do not signify that he has any learning or mental disabilities. The form is a detailed one which asks about the child’s ability to communicate, their primary source of mobility, main way of writing work and means of transportation to begin with. Also there is a checklist of possible reasons that may prevent the child from achieving in class. Some of these problems are speech impediments, autism, bi-polar disorder, ADD, as well as hearing and vision impairments just to name a few. The SFA then gauges the level of classroom participation the child partakes in, including physical, cognitive and behavioral tasks on a point scale. The point total is then compared and rated in order to determine what the child’s needs are. I believe that this test is important and should be used as the first line of defense because the people who use the SFA can accurately tell where a child is lacking whether it’s because of motivational, social or mental issues. It’s obviously age appropriate for this child who is in elementary school. It is also used on all disability and developmental groups as well. The test may be administered by one or person or a group of individuals; including regular or special education teachers, related service providers, speech and language pathologists, or classroom moms as long as they have watched the student on more than one occasion and they can offer information in order to move along the process. The SFA has some strengths one of them being that the assessment reflects the the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health or the ICF and its stance that the variables of a child’s school life, activity and participation, as well as environmental factors, helps decide what a child’s behavior will more than likely be. When we can accept this theory then and only then will real progress be made. In closing, there are many different types of assessments that a person could use to critique and understanding a child’s physical, emotional, social and mental needs. Some of these tests are complex and require an extensive education to administer, while others are simple and yield almost the same results. There are laws, guidelines and ethical rules that must be adhered to in order to reduce tainted, biased and misleading results that will hinder the validity of the assessment. This results must also then be analyzed and presented in a way that is free of stereotypes and misconceptions so that the analyzer can actually remain as objective to the test as humanly possible. Overall, these assessments will allow the practitioner a clear guideline so that they can develop a treatment plan that would be best suited for their client so that he or she may begin to slowly rebuild their lives so that they can return to a sense of normalcy. As more disorders and deficiencies arise, so too will the technology and with that more advanced assessments will be developed.

References:
Steege, M. Watson, T (2009) “Conducting School Based Functional Behavioral Assessments” 2nd Edition. The Guilford Press: New York
Coster, W., Deeney, T., Haltiwanger, J., & Haley, S. (1998). School Function Assessment. San Antonio, TX : The Psychological Corporation/Therapy Skill Builders.
Davies, P., Soon, P., Young, M., & Clausen-Yamaki, A. (2004). Validity and reliability of the School Function Assessment in elementary school students with disabilities. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 24, 23-43.
Hwang, J., Davies, P., Taylor, M., & Gavin, W. (2002). Validation of School Function Assessment with elementary school children. OTJR: Occupation, Participation, and Health, 22, 48-58. www.pearsoneducation.com : Retrieved on April 10, 2013

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