The Person Driven Functional Behavioral Assessment (PDFBA)

We often support people who engage in strategies we struggles to understand. We can experience this as confusing, frustrating and even scary. Typically, a Functional Behavior Assessment can be seen as a problem solving tool to help us to identify the source and function (or purpose) of a challenging strategy (or behavior). Lewin's equations states b=f (P, E), or “Behavior is a function of the person in their environment”. We cannot isolate behaviors from the context within which they occur and without acknowledging that human beings are complex and fragile to basic unmet needs.

The PDFBA is a tool by which we can evaluate problematic strategies within the context they are occurring and identify the basic unmet needs a person is expressing. As we begin to understand the function of strategies as a means to get needs met, we are able to begin partnering with people to increase the likelihood that they can meet those needs without resorting to problematic strategies.


Through this full day training we will practice assessment strategies that help us to identify complex clinical conditions, environmental and relationship factors impacting the individual and the basic needs a person is trying to meet through strategies we may find challenging. Through this process we help to eliminate the mystery associated with problematic strategies and begin to partner around new ways to meet individual needs. Given instruction and practice in a multimodal assessment strategy, participants will:

  • Be able to identify environmental and relationships factors
  • Consider medical or other complex clinical conditions impacting the person's ability to communicate their needs
  • Identify the feelings and needs being communicated through challenging strategies
  • Design a holistic behavioral approach that includes how we begin to partner with people to help them meet their needs and increase the likelihood that a person will use more functional strategies
Three Critical Habits