Volume 30, Issue 2 (2001)
Functional Behavioral Assessments: Legal Requirements and Challenges
Erik Drasgow, Mitchell L. Yell
Abstract. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997 require that if a student’s behavior impedes his or her learning or the learning of others, then that student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) must address the problem behavior in a proactive manner. To do this, the IEP team conducts a functional behavioral assessment (FBA), writes an IEP based on the assessment, and develops a behavior intervention plan (BIP). Additionally, the IDEA requires that FBAs must be performed when students with disabilities are suspended in excess of 10 school days. The purpose of this article is to (a) present the legal requirements of the IDEA Amendments regarding IEPs, FBAs, and BIPs for special education students with problem behavior; (b) describe the initial policy letters and due process hearings that are helping to clarify the requirements; and (c) discuss the implications of the law for school psychologists and other members of IEP teams.
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