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Functional Behavior Assessment for People with Autism
Making Sense of Seemingly Senseless Behavior
Beth A. Glasberg, Ph.D., BCBA

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isbn# 978-1-890627-58-4
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"
150 pages

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"These Woodbine House books focus on the assessment and treatment of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. They are intended for parents, teachers, caregivers, and other professionals who work with and care for this population. They are clearly written and contain a wealth of information. All use real life success stories and case studies which clearly illustrate the outlined concepts.

Functional Behavior Assessment For People With Autism: Making Sense of Seemingly Senseless Behavior, begins by identifying behavioral problems commonly displayed. It covers a general introduction to the principles of learning and explores the concepts of how challenging behaviours arise. The majority of content focuses on a practical 8-step guide to completing the functional behaviors assessment by outlining specific procedures to identify the contributing factors. The reader is then guided through the process of using the results to develop effective behaviors intervention plans. The underlying premise is that there are predictable relationships between problem behaviors and an individual’s environment and that even the most senseless behaviors makes sense to the person performing it. To change the behaviors, we need to first understand what the behavior is communicating.

I recommend these books to clinicians, teachers, and/or caregivers. They are excellent resources providing a variety of very specific assessment and treatment techniques. Their focus is on children but the principles and concepts can be used for individuals of all ages and levels of functioning."
-Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 2008, volume 75, number 2

"Not only can teachers benefit from reading this book, parents, group home staff, students, and professionals who do not have training in FBA would find it a useful resource.

Overall, Glasberg's book contains many pedagogically sound features and presents complex material in an easy-to-understand fashion. For instance, the chapters include keep it simple summaries and application questions and answers. Moreover, rich case descriptions serve to demonstrate key points."
-PsycCRITIQUES, August 9, 2006, Vol. 51(32), Article 5

"The premise behind this [book] is that the 'seemingly senseless' behaviors a child is using make sense to the individual doing them. So the adults must ask, 'What purpose is this behavior serving?' and 'How is the behavior benefitting the child?' Once those questions are answered, a plan of action can be implemented.

This book gives a logical, analytical approach to behavior. The adults, whether teachers, support staff or parents, need to assess the behavior in a systematic way before making a plan, or hypothesis, to test the theories of what the child is gaining from using the behavior. It might mean finding new ways of communication for the child, changing the environment or schedule, or redirecting the person's attention using cues or positive reinforcement.

The authors give very concrete instructions for assessment, including tips such as using golf counter to keep track of how many times a certain behavior occurs within a certain time frame (data collection). They have detailed questionnaires for those working with the student and they discuss choosing strategies to match the function of the behavior.

When people have communication challenges and seemingly senseless behaviors that are causing difficulties for those around them, it often triggers people to react emotionally to the behaviors. This approach provides a systematic way to step back, see why the person is using the behavior, and therefore see them not as 'bad' but as a person trying to get their needs met in the only ways they know how. Using functional behavior assessments can help people with autism get their needs met in ways that support them staying involved and included in their communities. This book truly delivers a way to make sense of seemingly senseless behaviors and it does it in a way that keeps everyone's integrity."
-www.inspiredparenting.net and www.justformom.com

"This book is about figuring out the function of problem behaviors, especially in people with autism spectral disorders. Relevant information from learning theory is presented to explain the variables involved in learning and choosing behavior. Viewing behavior as a form of communication leads to the discovery of what otherwise senseless, self-defeating behaviors are meant to convey. The book demonstrates the importance of viewing behavior as a form of communication, especially for people who have problems with verbal communication. Problem behaviors are shown to have a payoff or function that can be discovered by performing a functional behavior assessment (FBA). The book includes step-by-step guides and forms for preparing for and conducting assessments. It is intended for parents, educators, and professionals who care for people with autism spectral disorders although the author mentions several times that the methods of the assessment are relevant for all ages and the continuum of problem behaviors (from the most severely impaired individuals to typically developing children to adults with no diagnosis at all). A rough calculation of reading level for this book is high school graduate.

Beth Glasberg, PhD, BCBA is a consultant for Douglass Outreach at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers. The author's writing style facilitates learning and makes good her claim that the book will help readers who do not have expertise in behavior analysis to understand the function of seemingly senseless behaviors. She takes the reader through material using a technique that introduces concepts that are further developed in subsequent chapters. Problem behaviours of four named students presented in the introduction and referred to throughout the book provide a meaningful context for the investigation of common behavioral problems. By talking directly to you, the reader is encouraged to keep reading, to go through technical material that may be difficult, and to do an assessment. Keep it Simple summaries and use of graphs and charts to clarify material in the text aid the reader in understanding functional behavior analysis and feeling capable of, at least, approaching an FBA.

The book is recommended for all types of libraries."
-CAPHIS Consumer Connections, 2006

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