Maryland Positive Behavior Support Training

Events, Times, and Settings That Predict Challenging Behavior

The information gathering stage of the FBA includes finding out when a challenging behavior is less likely and more to occur. It is important to understand the routines, situations, and settings when a person is calm, happy and comfortable. The FBA helps find ways to create a plan for making changes in a person’s life so that the person is more likely to experience positive emotions at home, work, and in the community.

For instance, we may learn in the FBA process that a young person is more successful in employment settings where she can work in small groups a lot of social interaction. Challenges that do occur are often during routines and settings where this young person is alone with no one nearby. This information can be used to change the problematic context later by helping the person find a job that naturally involves working closely with other people. The FBA can help us build on a person’s strengths and make changes to settings that are not person-centered.

One way to learn more about the times where challenges are more and less likely is to use a scatter plot. A scatter plot can be used to keep track of the challenges throughout the day.

Andy’s Story

Andy is a young man who is living with two roommates. Andy has been unhappy at home so he decided to ask staff to help him create a positive behavior support plan. Andy's roommates and staff agree with him and offer to be part of a team problem solving process starting with an FBA. As a first step, Andy's staff decide to observe settings through the day using a scatter plot to record any challenges that occur. Andy’s scatter plot below describes key time periods when he is at home. The days of the week are listed on the top row. Times of day are noted on the left. The grey boxes indicate that one or more challenging behaviors have been observed by the person recording,

Write down the activities and times where Andy is experiencing more challenges.

Andy's Scatter Plot

A table titled: Andy's Scatter Plot. It has dates listed in individual cells: Febrary 4 - 8 and 11-15. These are listed accross the top of the table. The left column of the table is: Time/Activity and the follwoing are listed (each in their own cell). 6:30 Getting ready for work 7:00 Breakfast 7:30 Ride to work 2:40 Arrive home / snack 3:30 Roommate check-in meeting for planning evening 4:30 open time before dinner 5:30 Preparing dinner 6:00 Dinner.

Adapted from Freeman, R., Matthews, K., Griggs, P., & Quick, S. (2013). Scatter plot figure. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, Schiefelbusch Institute for Lifespan Studies.