Concept maps: A practical solution for completing functional behavior assessments.Abstract
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Some statements may be disputed, incorrect, , biased or otherwise objectionable.
FBA Functional Behavior Assessment
FBA Fibre Box Association (North America)
FBA Forms Based Authentication (Microsoft Outlook Web Access)
FBA Florida Bicycle Association ) when a student exhibits significant behavior problems. District and school level staff are now attempting to understand and implement the new requirements for the FBA process. The purpose of this article is to present a computerized concept-mapping program that can be used to display information gathered about student behaviors of concern. Concept maps can facilitate organizing information visually, understanding the interconnections needed for identifying the behaviors that impede im·pede
tr.v. im·ped·ed, im·ped·ing, im·pedes
To retard or obstruct the progress of. See Synonyms at hinder1.
[Latin imped the learning process and identifying interventions that may or may not lead to an FBA and a behavioral intervention behavioral intervention Behavior modification, behavior 'mod', behavioral therapy, behaviorism Psychiatry The use of operant conditioning models, ie positive and negative reinforcement, to modify undesired behaviors–eg, anxiety. plan (BIP BIP - An incorrect singular of BIPS. One billion instructions per second is 1 BIPS, not 1 BIP. ). When conducting an FBA and writing a BIP, a computerized concept map facilitates the discussion by displaying multiple sources of information on one page.
Individuals with Disabilities Act Amendments of 1997 (IDEA '97) require school districts to conduct functional behavior assessments (FBA) for students with disabilities: "in the case of a child whose behavior impedes his or her learning or that of others," ss 614 (c) (1) (B) (i). In addition, an "unidentified" child whose behavior has violated vi·o·late
tr.v. vi·o·lat·ed, vi·o·lat·ing, vi·o·lates
1. To break or disregard (a law or promise, for example).
2. To assault (a person) sexually.
3. a school rule or code of conduct is protected by IDEA '97 if the district had knowledge that the child had a disability (Weatherly, 1998). "Prior knowledge" is established if the parent expressed concern in writing that the behavior demonstrated a need for services or requested an evaluation or if school personnel expressed concern about the student's behavior to personnel of the local education agency (Friend, 1998). As a result in one Florida school district, students with and without disabilities are now being referred for functional assessments when their behavior impacts the learning environment (Bay District Schools, 1999).
An FBA is a process of gathering information about problem behavior and identifying the variables that hypothetically hy·po·thet·i·cal also hy·po·thet·ic
1. Of, relating to, or based on a hypothesis: a hypothetical situation. See Synonyms at theoretical.
a. Suppositional; uncertain. evoke e·voke
tr.v. e·voked, e·vok·ing, e·vokes
1. To summon or call forth: actions that evoked our mistrust.
2. and maintain the behavior (Larson & Maag, 1998). Information is gathered through direct and indirect observations, interviews, and evaluations (Drasgow, Yell, Bradley, & Shiner shiner: see minnow.
Any of several small freshwater fishes (genera Notemigonus and Notropis, family Cyprinidae). The common shiner (Notropis cornutus) is a blue and silver minnow up to 8 in. (20 cm) long. , 1999). Based on the information collected, a hypothesis is developed identifying the function and purpose of the behavior, possible skill deficiencies (Ruff, Higgins, & Glaeser, 1998), and setting and contextual events that maintain the behaviors (Drasgow et al., 1999; Larson & Maag, 1998; Scott & Nelson, 1999). Behavioral interventions, contextual interventions or both are identified and a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is then written. The purpose of an EBA EBA Eisenbahn-Bundesamt (German)
EBA Euro Banking Association
EBA Emergency Brake Assistance
EBA Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (Australia)
EBA Elite Beat Agents (video game) and a BIP is to establish positive, proactive procedures to reduce or eliminate the challenging behaviors (Ruff et al., 1998) and improve student performance (Creel, Larsen, & Murphy, 1999).
Students with mild disabilities can exhibit a variety of behaviors that may serve multiple functions, that can be diverse, can vary according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the context (Larson & Maag, 1998), and can occur in complex social settings within multiple environments (Drasgow et al., 1999). This can also be said of students in general education classes who are exhibiting behaviors of concern. Multiple functions make it difficult to identify and isolate variables that trigger and maintain the behaviors. As a result, assessments need to be conducted across settings. Further, the intended outcomes of functional assessments are a departure from current discipline and assessment practices (Hendrickson, Gable gable
Triangular section formed by a roof with two slopes, extending from the eaves to the ridge where the two slopes meet. It may be miniaturized over a dormer window or entranceway. , Conroy, Fox, & Smith, 1999) and a deviation from the traditional deficit model that identifies weaknesses within the student (Epstein, 1998). Functional assessments are more prescriptive pre·scrip·tive
1. Sanctioned or authorized by long-standing custom or usage.
2. Making or giving injunctions, directions, laws, or rules.
3. Law Acquired by or based on uninterrupted possession. (Nelson, Roberts, Rutherford Rutherford (rŭth`ərfərd), borough (1990 pop. 17,790), Bergen co., NE N.J., a residential suburb of the New York City–N New Jersey metropolitan area; inc. 1881. Several pre-Revolutionary houses remain there. , Mathur, & Aaroe, 1999; O'Neill, Homer, Albin, Sprague, & Newton, 1997) and focus on the use of proactive and po sitive interventions in order to provide the student with the skills to function in all environments. As educators continue to struggle when implementing the EBA process and procedures, they must identify ways to integrate EBAs into traditional assessment procedures.
In practice, many districts and schools are attempting to implement IDEA '97 with minimal information and with school personnel who have not received training (Hendrickson et al., 1999) about the specific legal requirements or procedures to follow (Drasgow et al., 1999). As districts proceed with the FBA process issues remain regarding the conceptual foundations, the process of conducting an FBA, and how to implement the process. The regulations require new methods for conducting an assessment procedure.
According to IDEA '97, functional assessments must be conducted. Valid and efficient procedures are needed (Drasgow et al., 1999) to determine and specify the factors that evoke and maintain problem behavior (Larson & Maag, 1998) in order to develop proactive strategies. Proactive strategies result in effective interventions (Ellis & Magee, 1999) that support collaboration (Epstein, 1998; Hendrickson et al., 1999) and foster the ongoing use of FBAs (Nelson et al., 1999). New procedures developed as a result of IDEA'97 mandates should be integrated with existing procedures that allow for implementation of proactive strategies prior to conducting an FBA.
With interpretation of IDEA '97 remaining open, functional assessments have been requested for behaviors that range from out-of-seat behavior and incompletion of assignments to more disruptive, destructive, or self-injurious behavior. As a result, one Florida school district has identified, developed, and implemented procedures that assist in dealing with some students with problem behaviors before the behaviors become so severe that an FBA is warranted. Practice in this school district has lead to the use of computerized concept mapping (MindManager, 1994) as a tool for organizing and managing information about students with and without disabilities who exhibit behaviors of concern in the classroom. The concept-mapping tool has also been used as an integral part of the prereferral, referral, FBA and BJP BJP Bharatiya Janata Party (India)
BJP British Journal of Psychiatry
BJP British Journal of Photography
BJP Bubble Jet Printer (Canon)
BJP Bence Jones Protein
BJP Boston Jolly Pirates processes.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the use of MindManager (1994) concept maps during the meeting process for organizing collected information, identifying behaviors and interventions, determining if a more formal evaluation is necessary, and completing an FBA and BIP if indicated. Concept maps can be an effective method for organizing the relevant information needed for identifying the behaviors that impede the learning process and assist in identifying interventions that may or may not lead to an FBA and BIP. MindManager allows staff and parents to clearly picture the student, the behavior, and all known factors in a dynamic format that allows participants to make changes to the concept map.
In one Florida school district, teachers can refer students whose behavior is interfering with learning to the Child Study Team (CST CST
1. Central Standard Time
2. convulsive shock treatment
CST Central Standard Time
Noun 1. ). Students may be referred to the CST as part of the prereferral/referral process or may be a previously identified student with a disability in need of a more formal procedure as part of the IEP IEP
In currencies, this is the abbreviation for the Irish Punt.
The currency market, also known as the Foreign Exchange market, is the largest financial market in the world, with a daily average volume of over US $1 trillion. process. Permanent members of the CST team include the student's regular education teacher, the school psychologist, the local educational agency (LEA) representative, the student's parent(s), and the guidance counselor guidance counselor Child psychology A school worker trained to screen, evaluate and advise students on career and academic matters . Other team members may include an exceptional education teacher, a social worker, a school nurse, extended family members, and others as indicated including the student. The CST meets with general education teacher(s) when a student's behavior is of concern. Prior to requesting the meeting, the classroom teacher must have identified the problem behaviors of concern, have collected direct observational data, have discussed concerns with the parent(s) and have attempted i nterventions. CST or IEP meeting
The IEP Team includes the parents of the child with a disability, at least one general education teacher, at least one special education teacher, the LEA representative, and an individual who can interpret evaluation results. Other team members may include other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child and the child with the disability. The IEP Team meets with the general and special education teachers when a student's behavior is of concern. Prior to requesting the meeting, the teachers must have followed the same procedures outlined in the preceding paragraph. Beginning with the first CST or IEP meeting, the chairperson chairperson Chairman The head of an academic department. See 'Chair.', Cf Chief. orients all participants to the computer and the concept map. When creating concept maps during CST or IEP meetings, members provide information about a student in relation to the behaviors of concern. A concept map is a method of visually organizing and categorizing information related to a central topic (i.e., behaviors of concern). Individuals or groups can use concept maps. When a group uses a concept map to find solutions to problems, the concept map allows the group to view and identify connections (Bryant, Ugel, & Thompson, 1999). With information visually organized, the group can work collaboratively to identify solutions (Ellis, 1997).
When using concept maps to discuss behavioral concerns during CST or IEP meetings, one Florida school district has developed two templates to be used for categorizing information presented at meetings depending on the severity of the student's behaviors. For pre-referral meetings, a template (1) A pre-designed document or data file formatted for common purposes such as a fax, invoice or business letter. If the document contains an automated process, such as a word processing macro or spreadsheet formula, then the programming is already written and embedded in the is used that places the student's name in the center box (see Figure 1) since the student is the focus of the meeting and not the behaviors. The standard procedure is to have parents begin by describing the strengths of their child and their concerns. This information is then added to the template. Next, all participants share information about the student and the information is added to the related category on the template.
After all information has been shared, the CST members study the concept map and identify the behavior of most concern and its function. At that point, the CST discusses prior interventions and identifies possible new interventions that serve the same function. The CST then reaches consensus on interventions, methods and strategies to be implemented by reviewing student strengths and effective reinforcers. The methods and strategies may include but are not limited to changing the environment, teaching replacement behaviors, using behavior reduction strategies, and changing instructional materials and methods. At the end of the meeting, all members receive a copy of the completed template to confirm what was agreed to and to allow further additions if necessary. A follow-up meeting is then scheduled allowing time for the interventions to be implemented. The teacher(s) and parents are asked to document the results of the intervention and to bring them to the next meeting. At this point, the documentation may be as simple as a school and home daily report or as complex as direct observations.
When the CST reconvenes, the members review recommendations and gather feedback about the outcomes of the interventions. As this information is shared, the concept map is updated. Once the new information is added to the map, the CST discusses what actions should be taken based on all the information. It can be decided that the interventions were effective and should remain in place, but no further action needs to occur. A second decision could be to try other interventions, at which point, the CST would begin the hypothesis process again. As a third decision, the CST members may decide that an FBA needs to occur. For students who are in the prereferral/referral stage, the FBA process may lead to a determination of eligibility for special education services and facilitate the development of the BIP. For a student with a previously identified disability, the process may lead to an IEP review and/or the development or updating of a BIP.
When it is determined that the interventions have not been effective and that a more formal evaluation including an FBA and a BIP is needed, a second template is used (see Figure 2). This template allows the CST to organize the data that has been gathered during the FBA process in order to address the primary outcomes of the functional assessment process as outlined by O'Neill et al. (1997). By having the basic template prepared, the team is reminded of the required components that should be discussed. Functional Behavior Information is written in the center as the focus of the meeting. Using the template as a guide, participants begin with a discussion of student strengths in order to focus on the student rather than the problem. As the meeting continues, previously completed templates for the student are reviewed and relevant information is added to the template by the recorder. Information gathered during the FBA process (i.e., direct and indirect observations, formal and informal assessments, interviews) is also added to the template, and any updated information is added. When participants have finished their meeting, they will have addressed all areas of the template and used the information to write a BIP. The concept map serves as a visual representation of the pertinent data necessary to develop a BIP (O'Neill et al., 1997).
A Concept Mapping Application
Using the computer program, MindManager, the CSTs in one Florida school district develop student information concept maps adding new data to the template that can be seen on the monitor or projected on a TV screen. Examples of the templates used to record information are depicted de·pict
tr.v. de·pict·ed, de·pict·ing, de·picts
1. To represent in a picture or sculpture.
2. To represent in words; describe. See Synonyms at represent. in Figures 1 and 2. The team first addresses the items on the left side of the template by discussing the student's strengths, the reinforcers that have worked, the effectiveness of intervention strategies that have been tried and the outcome goals. The participants are then asked to describe target behaviors and identify what happens before and after the behaviors occur. All team members use the information to brainstorm possible interventions and replacement behaviors, all of which are listed on the right side of the template. As information is given, the recorder can simply click on each category and an additional branch will be added to the map for recording the information and the supporting evidence. The process does not occur in a linear manner and information can be placed on the template as it is provided.
The student whose the concept map is featured in Figure is a student who had the ability to function in the classroom. CST members recognized that the student had previously done well in the classroom and that the change in behavior was recent. It was possible to pinpoint the specific change that impacted the student's ability to complete her work. By using the concept map, everyone at the CST meeting was able to see what change or event was making the difference in the student's behavior. When it became apparent that the behaviors of concern were off-task and falling asleep in class, those attending the CST meeting identified a simple intervention. Parents agreed to establish an earlier bedtime bedtime Sleep disorders The time when one attempts to fall asleep–as distinguished from the time when one gets into bed . A classroom behavior checklist that included on-task behavior and sleeping was sent home daily for the parent to review and send back signed. The student's ability to concentrate on her schoolwork and complete her assignments improved when parents enforced a regular bedtime schedule. No further actions were needed fr om the CST members at the follow-up meeting and the student's case was closed. For other students, it may be necessary to meet several times and implement a variety of interventions. As the CST meets, the concept map becomes more complex and may include additional categories.
Figure 4 is an example of a completed concept map that was developed for a student who was causing extreme difficulties for teachers and school staff. This concept map includes information from previously completed concept maps, formal assessments, direct and indirect observations, social developmental history, and current classroom functioning. As a result, the concept map provided a view of the in-depth information about the student's strengths, behaviors, antecedents, consequences, possible reinforcers, and replacement behaviors. The concept map also displayed information provided by all members of the CST, including the parent. The one-page concept map displayed all the multiple source information for CST members to see and discuss. Viewing all this information facilitated the development of a hypothesis about the behavior, antecedents, and consequences that lead to completion of a Bil' (see Figure 5).
The CST, in viewing the concept map, determined that noncompliance which escalated to physical aggression was the behavior of concern across settings. The antecedents included the following: (a) giving tasks or assignments, (b) refusing to provide asked for or expected objects or activities, (c) stopping preferred activities stopped, and (d) student seeing parent look in classroom window. Consequences for the behavior included ignoring and interrupting the task through the use of time-out or removal from the room. When the student became physically aggressive, he was suspended sus·pend
v. sus·pend·ed, sus·pend·ing, sus·pends
1. To bar for a period from a privilege, office, or position, usually as a punishment: suspend a student from school. and it was discovered that the parent would take him to lunch and the beach. The results of the psychological evaluation revealed that the student was capable of grade level work and were consistent with the information provided by the CST members. The psychological evaluation indicated that the student was non-participatory, did not like school, and had issues with separation from mother. This information, in conjunction with student s trengths, replacement behaviors, possible reinforcers, and outcome goals displayed on the concept map, enabled the CST to formulate a hypothesis and complete a BIP (see Figure 5). For some students this would be the continuation of proactive strategies that would positively affect the student, the behavior, and the environment. For the student whose information is shown in Figure 4, this was part of a process that led to identification for special education services.
As CSTs continue to use concept maps as informational organizational tools during meetings, the maps have become more complex and reveal in-depth information about students. This can be seen when comparing the concept map completed during prereferral process for the first student (see Figure 3) to the concept map completed after referral and evaluation of the second student (see Figure 4).
One Florida school district first used concept maps in this process during the 1998-99 school year. CST and IEP members (teachers, parents, counselors, and school psychologists) have reported the following anecdotal anecdotal /an·ec·do·tal/ (an?ek-do´t'l) based on case histories rather than on controlled clinical trials.
anecdotal adjective Unsubstantiated; occurring as single or isolated event. information about the use of the computerized concept mapping process: (a) has assisted in providing a visual display of collected information on one screen; (b) has been instrumental in identifying the behaviors and selecting the primary behavior of concern; (c) has assisted in developing increasingly useful and complex maps of students and their behaviors; (d) has helped maintained the focus of the meetings; (e) has assisted in targeting the connections between the behavior and the events that evoke and maintain the behavior; and (f) has assisted in documenting the outcomes of CST or IEP meetings and interventions. Parents have identified three additional positive outcomes: (a) proactive meetings, (b) parent friendly displays of information, and (c) documentation of the meeting that can be taken home and updated. For students who continue to exhibit disruptive behaviors, the information on the concept maps has assisted in completing the FBA and BIP process.
The CST and IEP procedures established by the Florida school district have been effective in addressing IDEA'97 requirements that a variety of strategies be used "to gather relevant functional and developmental information" [ss] 614 (b)(2)(A) and "consider, if appropriate, strategies, including positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports to address that behavior" [ss] 614(c)(1)(B)(i). Concept mapping has contributed to establishing a collaborative, proactive, and positive approach between school personnel and family in dealing with problem behaviors. School personnel find the process simple, efficient, and effective in identifying positive, proactive interventions. Families have stated that they appreciate the opportunity to actively participate in CST and IEP meetings. They use their copy of the concept map for future reference and often bring back their copy with additional information added. The procedures have also been practical, feasible, allow for early intervention ear·ly intervention
n. Abbr. EI
A process of assessment and therapy provided to children, especially those younger than age 6, to facilitate normal cognitive and emotional development and to prevent developmental disability or delay. , and for the integra tion of more formal assessments. The concept mapping process is "user friendly" and an accepted teaching practice, which increases the probability that the use of concept mapping will continue.
The next step is to implement these procedures during the IEP process when conducting manifestation man·i·fes·ta·tion
An indication of the existence, reality, or presence of something, especially an illness.
(man´ifestā´sh meetings. If it is determined that the behaviors are a manifestation of the disability the concept mapping process will also be used to develop FBAs and BIPs.
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Address all correspondence to: William H. Evans, Division of Teacher Education College of Prof. Studies, University of West Florida