According to the 1997 Amendments to the IDEA, the IEP team is required under certain circumstances to develop a functional behavioral assessment plan and a behavior intervention plan to address a students behaviors that interfere with learning or require disciplinary action. Schools are seeking to better understand the exact conditions under which to implement this provision of IDEA. The persons responsible for conducting the functional behavioral assessment likely will vary from state to state, district to district. Some functional behavioral assessment procedures will require persons with specific training (e.g., a behavior specialist or a school psychologist). With specialized training and experience, an adjusted job assignment, and ongoing technical support, various IEP team members (e.g., special or general educators, counselors, parents) can conduct different parts of the assessment.
Regardless of who is charged with the responsibility to conduct a functional behavioral assessment, emphasis should be on developing both a short- and long-term plan to enhance the students ability to benefit as much as possible from classroom instruction. Students can be helped to accomplish this goal through positive behavior interventions based on an accurate assessment of their individual needs. This goal is best accomplished before student behavior becomes so severe that formal disciplinary action is necessary.