Training Educational Staff in Functional Behavioral Assessment: A Systematic Review

John McCahill, Olive Healy, Sinéad Lydon, Devon Ramey

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Interventions for challenging behavior are more likely to be effective when based on the results of a functional behavioral assessment. Research to date suggests that staff members in educational settings may not have the requisite levels of expertise or support to implement behavioral assessment procedures and design corresponding behavior support plans. The current review sought to examine the nature and effectiveness of Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) training described in the literature. Twenty-five studies were examined in relation to type of FBA method used, training procedure, behavioral function and intervention outcome. Training was provided in indirect, observational and experimental functional assessment procedures. Video modeling, lectures, feedback and written protocols were some commonly used training procedures. Interventions derived from results of these assessments were used in twelve studies to treat problem behavior. Social validity and treatment integrity outcomes across all studies are reported. The implications of these findings for research and practice are discussed along with directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-505
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Publication statusPublished - 02 Apr 2014


  • Functional behavioral assessment
  • Functional analysis
  • Staff training
  • Teacher training
  • Challenging behavior


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