Functional Behavioral Assessment Interview Questions

Instructor: Lori Sturdivant

Lori has a specialist's degree in Instructional Leadership/Mild Moderate and currently serves as the Lead Teacher for The University of Southern Mississippi's Autism Project.

This lesson will provide you with examples of interview questions to complete a functional behavior assessment. There are questions for the teacher, staff members, parents and, when appropriate, the students.

What Would You Do?

Johnny often refuses redirection from you in class. He will not ask for help, complete his activities, and he responds to you by putting his head down on his desk. You have 22 other students who need your instruction. What would you do? A functional behavior assessment is a good place to start.

A functional behavior assessment (FBA) is a process that seeks to determine what happens before, during and after a specific behavior. An FBA is done for the purpose of changing or eliminating a behavior, such as when Johnny puts his head down on his desk when you speak to him.

A major component of an FBA is data collection. In this process, you want to get as much information you can. You may interview the teachers, other staff members, the parents, and when appropriate the students.

Example Interview Questions for the Teacher and the Staff

An FBA interview with school staff focuses on the times, places, people present and other conditions that correspond with the behavior.


When does the behavior occur/not occur (certain time of day, certain subjects, before an event or after an event)? Does Johnny do this around 10:15 each day, or after lunch?


What is the specific location of the behavior (classroom, cafeteria, math center or computer lab)? Does Johnny do this in math group, music class or at independent activity time?


Who is present when the behavior is most/least likely to occur (certain students, assistant or specific teachers)? Does Johnny refuse direction from the math teacher, the history teacher, the P.E. coach, etc.?

Other Conditions

  • In which settings does the behavior occur/not occur (in small groups, during unstructured time or independent work time)?
  • What typically occurs before the behavior (assigned a certain task or placed in a small group)? What happens before Johnny shuts down? Is he talking to you, working alone, etc.?
  • What typically occurs after the behavior (student is sent to office or redirected)? Do you ignore Johnny, send him to the principal, etc.?
  • Are there certain conditions that seem to be present for each instance? After a late bus? Only on pizza day? When it is cold?

Example Questionnaire for the Teacher and the Staff

If you are asking these and follow-up interview questions in written form, you can use the following questions as a template:

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