Written by attorney Paul M Roberts

Understanding Behavioral Assessments/Hughes Bill Requirements and Reporting for Use at IEP's


Behavioral Assessments/Hughes Bill and Reporting Requirements

Presented by

Paul M. Roberts Esq.

· BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENTS (FAAs)(C.C.R. §3052): Designated Positive Behavioral Interventions (The “Hughes Bill")

o California law provides that an IEP team must facilitate and supervise all assessment, intervention and evaluation activities related to an individual’s behavioral intervention plan (“BIP").

o A BIP may only be implemented by, or be under the supervision of, staff with documented training in behavioral interventions.

o Such interventions may only be used to replace specified maladaptive behavior(s) with alternative acceptable behavior(s) and may never be used solely to eliminate maladaptive behavior(s).

o A BIP must be based on a functional analysis assessment (“FAA").


o Must be conducted by, or be under the supervision of a person who has documented training in behavioral analysis with an emphasis on positive behavioral interventions.

o Must occur after the IEP team finds that instructional/behavioral approaches specified in the student’s IEP have been ineffective.

o Must be based on information gathered from direct observation, interviews with significant others, and review of available data such as assessment reports prepared by other professionals and other individual records.

o Must include all of the following:

§ Systematic observation of the occurrence of the targeted behavior for an accurate definition and description of the frequency, duration and intensity.

§ Systematic observation of the immediate antecedent events associated with each instance of the display of the targeted inappropriate behavior.

§ Systematic observation and analysis of the consequences following the display of the behavior to determine the function the behavior serves for the individual, i.e., to identify the specific environmental or physiological outcomes produced by the behavior.

§ Ecological analysis of the settings in which the behavior occurs most frequently.

§ Review of records for health and medical facts which may influence behaviors.

§ Review of the history of the behavior to include the effectiveness of previously used behavioral interventions.



o Reports must include:

§ A description of the nature and severity of the targeted behavior(s) in objective and measurable terms.

§ A description of the targeted behavior(s) that includes baseline data and an analysis of the antecedents and consequences that maintain the targeted behavior, and a functional analysis of the behavior across all appropriate settings in which it occurs.

§ A description of the rate of alternative behaviors, their antecedents and consequences.

§ Recommendations for consideration by the IEP team which may include a proposed BIP (see below-- “Positive Programming").

· POSITIVE PROGRAMMING OPTIONS (i.e. options for “recommendations")(C.C.R. §3052)

· Based on the results of the FAA, positive programming for behavioral intervention may include:

o Altering the identified antecedent event to prevent the occurrence of the behavior.

o Teaching the individual alternative behaviors that produce the same consequences as the inappropriate behavior.

o Teaching the individual adaptive behaviors which ameliorate negative conditions that promote the display of inappropriate behaviors.

o Manipulating the consequences for the display of targeted inappropriate behaviors and alternative, acceptable behaviors so that it is the alternative behaviors that more effectively produce desired outcomes.

· When the targeted behavior(s) occurs, positive response options must include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:

o The behavior is ignored, but not the individual;

o The individual is verbally or verbally and physically redirected to an activity;

o The individual is provided with feedback (e.g., “You are talking too loudly");

o The message of the behavior is acknowledged (e.g., “You are having a hard time with your work"); or

A brief, physical prompt is provided to interrupt or prevent aggression, self-abuse or property destruction.

This response does not attempt to deal with all aspects of the issue presented by the questioner, and it is imperative that the questioner seek competent legal counsel who can examine all of the facts and address the issues in a comprehensive fashion.

Additional resources provided by the author

CASE NAME: Amanda C. v. Clark Co Sch. Dist. & Nevada Dept. of Ed, (9th Cir. 2001) SIGNIFICANCE: This strongly written decision cites research about ABA/Lovaas treatment; describes purposes of the IDEA; IEPs and procedural safeguards. District's failure to provide parents with evaluations adversely affected parents' ability to make decisions and damaged child; district failed to provide FAPE. CASE NAME: A.S. v. Madison Metropolitan Sch. Dist., 47 IDELR 304 (W.D. Wis. 2007). SIGNIFICANCE: Aggressive behaviors at home don't establish student's need for residential placement. The parents of a ninth-grade student with autism could not recover the costs associated with their son's residential placement from a Wisconsin district. Not only did the parents fail to demonstrate a procedural violation of the IDEA, a federal District Court concluded, but they were unable to show that their son required a residential placement in order to receive FAPE

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