Special Education/fba question


I'm unclear on FBA law. I'm in New York State. My school agreed to conduct an FBA and a BIP in the IEP. Then they said an FBA couldn't be conducted because of the complexity of behavior. What happens in this case? Is there a limit on how long an FBA can take to be conducted and if the school feels it can't be, what are the option for the child? If the school does conduct an FBA, how long do they have to convene a meeting about it? Thanks

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Your school is not following the law. Once they agree to do an assessment, they have to give you an Assessment Plan within 15 days. Once  you sign the Assessment Plan and turn it into them, they have 60 days in which to conduct their assessment and report their findings to you in an IEP. If the school can't conduct the FBA (Functional Behavioral Analysis), they have to find a qualified expert that can. That's the law!

I have had many of my clients receive FBAs and some have many behavior problems. The purpose of the FBA is to determine the problems, then determine how frequently they are taking place. They should also determine the severity of the problems. This is done by recording the student's behavior in class and on campus, if there are problems there. They should try to determine possible triggers for the behaviors. The more the behavior problems, the greater the importance of conducting the FBA.

Based on the results of the FBA, the school is supposed to prepare a detailed BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan) listing all the problem behavior areas; then for each one, the possible causes (triggers) along with what action to take when the behavior happens (antecedents). This is to enable everyone working with the student to be consistent in their reactions to the behaviors. The FBA can be conducted by a BICA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) or a psychologist.

Now, for what to do with your school. First, I would show them this document and ask them for an FBA (in writing). If they still refuse, you should ask for (in writing) an IEE (Independent Educational Evaluation) to have the school pay for a mutually agreed to qualified professional conduct the FBA at the school's expense.

Legally, as a rule of thumb, you should put everything in writing: emails work but you need to know they have received it (with gmail, there is an add on call "Mail Track" that lets you know when an email is received -- it's all free). When you fax something to them, you can get a fax report stating the date and time the fax was received. You should also make audio recordings of all IEPs: you have to notice them one school day in advance that you are doing this. You can do this with most smart phones, just use an app that records in an .mp3 file that can be downloaded.

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Tim Runner


Questions concerning special education: IEP, assessments, Due Process, mediation, resolution conference, federal law, state law, qualifying for services, residential treatment, special day classes, resource specialists, procedures, having your child assessed, adaptive PE, speech & language, non-public school, FAPE, and tuition reimbursement.


I have been an education advocate representing students and parents for six years. My experience includes: representing my clients in IEPs, SSTs, Due Process, review assessment results for my clients, and mediations. I have represented clients with learning disabilities, autism, Downs Syndrome, cognitively challenged, emotional problems, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and physical disabilities. I have also represented clients to County Mental Health Departments and Regional Centers. My clients range from pre-school to college students in many states.

I have a degree in Mathematics from the University of California with minors in Psychology and Physics. I also studied applied statistics in psychology at the graduate level. I have taught college classes, conducted seminars, written articles for various publications, and testified as an expert witness.

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