Making the most out of a school-based Functional Behavior Assessment

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Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

bSci21Media, LLC

Brett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA

Brett DiNovi & Associates

Sometimes Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) are conducted in schools simply to fulfill requirements set forth by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  In such cases, the report can sit unread for weeks until a meeting is scheduled.  By that time, the child in question may have already been placed out of district.  A recent video by Brett DiNovi & Associates, a leader in school-based Applied Behavior Analysis services across New Jersey and Philadelphia, discussed this issue and how to increase the likelihood that the child will remain in district with adequate services.


If you are working in school districts with limited time, sometimes waiting around for a behavior to occur is a costly way to conduct an FBA.  Instead, consider conducting a brief trial-based FBA and embed your treatment within the assessment, based on hypothesized functions, provided you have the necessary consents in place. For example, if the hypothesized function is attention, then conducting a Functional Communication Training for attention can yield quick information on maintaining functions and generate meaningful behavior change in a relatively short amount of time.  “Then”, said Brett DiNovi, “it’s really hard to send a kid out of district” when the district, teachers, and administrators, see that ABA really works.

And school districts know that Brett DiNovi & Associates have a reputation for demonstrating, time and time again, that it works.  Their success is due in no small part to the support that comes with every BDA staff member that goes into a school.  According to Brett, “one of the reasons they hire us, is because they realize they are getting more than a BCBA” – they are getting an entire support system.

To hear more about FBAs in schools, be sure to check out the full video and to subscribe to Brett DiNovi’s YouTube channel for additional content which covers the spectrum of behavior analysis.  Also be sure to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world,  bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiaries, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, bSciStudios and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at

Brett DinoviBrett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA has the unique and distinguished experience of studying the principles of applied behavior analysis under the rigorous scrutiny of both Dr. Julie S. Vargas (formerly Skinner) and Dr. E.A. Vargas at West Virginia University’s internationally recognized program. For the past 26 years, Brett has used behavior analytic principles to create large scale change across school districts, Fortune 500 companies using principles of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), and across individual learners. Brett has been a OBM consultant in Morgantown WV, an instructor at West Virginia University, a guest lecturer at numerous universities, a speaker on multiple Comcast Newsmakers TV programs, an expert witness in due process hearings, has publications in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and has been in in executive leadership positions across schools and residential programs nationwide. In addition to an award from South Jersey Biz Magazine for “Best Places to Work,” an award for “Best of Families” in Suburban Magazine, and the distinguished “Top Ranked U.S. Executives” award, Brett’s proudest accomplishment is being a role model and father for his daughter and two stepchildren (one of which has autism). Brett can be reached at

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