What is a FBA or Functional Behavioral Assessment?

A Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is an attempt to look beyond the obvious interpretation of behavior as “bad” and determine what function it may be serving for a child.

Truly understanding why a child behaves the way he or she does is the first, best step to developing strategies to stop the behavior. Schools are required by law to use FBA when dealing with challenging behavior in students with special needs, although you may need to specifically push for it.

The process usually involves documenting the antecedent (what comes before the behavior), behavior, and consequence (what happens after the behavior) over a number of weeks; interviewing teachers, parents, and others who work with the child; evaluating how the child’s disability may affect behavior; and manipulating the environment to see if a way can be found to avoid the behavior.

This is usually done by a behavioral specialist, and then becomes the basis for a Behavior Intervention Plan.

What does ESY or Extended School Year mean?

Extended School Year (ESY) is a way to keep improvement going for children who would lose headway without school over the long summer break. As a provision of IDEA, ESY may involve actual school classes; speech, physical or occupational therapy; payment for private speech, physical or occupational therapy; programs out-of-district; or other arrangements specified in the IEP.

The general standard applied when determining a student’s need for ESY is whether that student will regress significantly without services, or the student will require a longer than usual time to recoup lost skills when school starts again. Despite what your district may tell you, regression is not the only criteria for ESY eligibility.

Other possible reasons for providing ESY services may be a lack of progress toward goals, services missed during the year, or severe disability. It is also known as ESS or Extended School Services.