PENT Forum Materials

Historical content from the yearly PENT Forums can be utilized for dissemination and educator training.

2022 Forum: Problem Identification, Consultation, and Effective Behavior Support

Functional Behavior Assessments, or FBAs, are a foundational tool in school-based behavior support. We use them for two major reasons: because they’re written into federal and state special education law, and because they can result in intervention plans that are more likely to succeed in promoting positive student behavior.

Fundamentally, FBA is most useful when it is grounded in a data-based decision-making framework. The first step in those frameworks is typically “problem identification,” which usually begins with listing behaviors of concern and then prioritizing a specific behavior or behaviors for support. There are a number of different guides on how to prioritize behavior in need of support, and they share a common emphasis on always prioritizing behaviors that physically harm the child or others. After that, however, come a number of other priorities with a lot of room for interpretation and subjectivity.

Given evidence that Black students are systematically excluded from school at a rate that is vastly disproportionate to their enrollment, and that many people in the Autism community are vehemently opposed to attempts to suppress self-stimulatory behavior for reasons of ethics and human dignity, it’s important that we consider our methods for labeling a behavior as worthy of change. One potential way to more critically examine the subjectivity inherent in decisions surrounding behavior support would be to use a prioritization framework that asks the question “why” and “how” a lot more. If a behavior is judged to be preventing a child from learning, “how” is that taking place? If a behavior is judged to be interfering with a student’s social and emotional wellness, “why” is it seen as such?

The PENT Cadre also reviewed the development and implementation of the Essential 10 Scoring Rubric as a tool to support educators in writing behavior intervention plans that are rooted in the science of behavior analysis, contain elements which are shown through research to be best practice, and to satisfy legal requirements of a behavior intervention plan. This tool is intended to guide those developing Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs), by providing a rubric to score plans and identify areas of weakness which could lead to an ineffective plan (which would result in failing to produce the targeted/desired behavior change).

2021 Forum: The Role of the Environment in Supporting Positive Student Behavior

All behavior occurs within a context, which includes the environment. There may be factors which are PRESENT in the environment, which lead to the demonstration of challenging behavior that need to be changed or modified. Or, there may be factors that are MISSING, which lead to the demonstration of challenging behavior, that need to be added.

Determining these factors allow the educator to identify interventions, supports, or modifications which will reduce the likelihood of the student to need to engage in the problem behavior to get their needs met. Such interventions may be provided universally (class-wide), in a targeted manner (within multi-tiered systems of support approach), or individually (within an individualized plan).

To determine areas of need, the environment can be assessed and analyzed using a variety of tools, such as the Classroom Management: Self-Assessment Revised (Simonsen, et. al.) External link opens in new window or tab. or PENT's Environmental Analysis Tool (DOCX).

Providing training (PDF) to educators on the importance of the environment can help increase buy-in and intervention implementation as it will help to support awareness and understanding of the role of the environment, why recommendations are made, and how these recommendations will result in positive student behavior.

2021 Resources and Materials