***Don’t freak out at the amount of reading – I’m
just outlining a case for you here. Your answers
will actually take very little time.
Breathe….breathing is good. I’ve highlighted the
actual questions in yellow.
Joey is a seven year old boy with global developmental delays in a combination kindergarten/daycare
program. His teachers have called you in because he has begun to exhibit some disruptive behaviours in the
center and they need your help to figure them out. You agree to conduct a functional assessment.
A. Indirect Assessment:
Interview with Staff
Who is present? Other children, but I would say mostly other boys, and a variety of teachers. We
haven’t noticed that it is more or less likely to happen with one teacher.
Where does the behaviour occur? In the block room, up until yesterday, then it happened in the art room.
When does the behaviour occur? Only during free play time. Sometimes we’ve noticed that Joey is trying to get
the attention of the other boys and they are ignoring him, sometimes we’ve noticed
that the children are busy playing and the room is really quiet, not much action going
on, and sometimes one of Joey’s block structures has fallen over and he seems
Do any other behaviours occur just before? Other than him running to the shelf, we haven’t observed any other
Is there any time when the behaviour doesn’t occur? If Joey is involved in playing with a teacher or another
child, it tends not to happen…although once or twice it still did when his structure fell
Can you specifically describe the behaviour for me? Joey runs to the right side of the block shelf, inserts his right
arm up to his elbow, so that his hand is touching the back of the shelf, and he runs along
the shelf pushing hundreds of blocks to the floor while yelling and laughing.
What happens immediately following this behaviour? A staff member immediately approaches him and tells
him that it isn’t okay to knock all the blocks off the shelf and now he has to pick them all
up. Then he is instructed, with the staff helping, to start stacking the blocks back on the
shelf. Thankfully, the other children join in as well, so the job gets done more quickly.
Does he ever get removed from the situation? Oh no, we believe it is important for him to fix what he has
***Question One: Come up with a plausible hypothesis for Joey’s shelf-clearing behaviour. Remember to list all
likely antecedents, behaviours and consequences.
B: Direct Observations: Here are a number of incidences recorded during direct observation
Obs 1: Joey asked Daniel to play, Daniel said no, he wanted to play by himself. Joey ran over to the shelf
and cleared all of the blocks off, quietly finishing then sitting down. There were no teachers present, but
Daniel came over, told Joey he had to pick them up and Daniel and Joey cleaned up the blocks together.
Obs 2: Joey playing with Daniel and Justin. Justin laughed and knocked the structure over. Joey yelled at
Justin, then ran to the shelf, yelling and clearing the blocks off. Mary, the teacher, ran in, told Joey he’d
have to clean up, and so Justin, Daniel, Mary and Joey cleaned up the blocks.
Obs 3: Joey playing by himself in the blockroom, with teacher Mary present. Joey’s block tower fell over,
but he just shrugged and began building it again.
Obs 4: Daniel using a block that Joey wants for his structure, Daniel said no when Joey was prompted by
Mary to ask for it. Joey ran to shelf and silently cleared all the blocks from the shelf. Mary told Joey he’d
have to clean them up, and Daniel, Joey and Mary cleaned the blocks up.
Obs 5: Justin, Eric and Sam in room with Joey. Joey kept putting a block where the others didn’t want it,
so they kicked him out of the game. Joey went over to the block shelf, but just selected some other
blocks and began building them himself.
*Question Two: Using an ABC checklist, record the data for the five observations above. Remember to add in any
new antecedents and consequences that come up.
Obs 1 Obs 2 Obs 3 Obs 4 Obs 5
*Question Three: Does the data from the direct observation match the information received from the indirect
assessment? What is your next step?
*Question Four: What kind of treatment might make sense, given the data? Give a brief outline of what you
might try and why it might work.