Descriptive Functional Assessment and Intervention

This programme is available in-house, tailored to the needs of your organisation, or as open training.

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To discuss how this training can be adapted for your needs, please contact us on 0121 415 6970, email


Programme details

Who is this for?

Delegates on this programme should have a first degree, a professional role that involves working with service users, would need to have successfully completed our Basic Functional Assessment programme or another appropriate programme (e.g. ABM professional diploma) and have access to clinical support and supervision. There is an application form which would confirm this and expected baseline knowledge.

Aim of this course

For delegates to understand the process of descriptive functional assessment, what is involved and be able to complete and evaluate a descriptive functional assessment and intervention plan for a person they are working with.

There will be 5 whole day classroom sessions with a 6 week gap between each session. The mornings of days 1-4 will be teaching sessions. The afternoons will involve discussion of practical application of the morning’s content with specific reference to delegates’ individual cases, delegates feeding back on their workplace activities and overall progress on their assessment and intervention planning, delegates receiving peer support as well as consultancy, guidance and practical support from the consultant. Day 5 will involve delegates presenting their assessment and intervention plan including evaluating its impact.

There will be pre-programme reading and between sessions 1-4 delegates will have a piece of reading in preparation for the next session. There will also be workplace activity to be completed between sessions.
Following days 2, 3 and 4 delegates will have an hour 1:1 phone call with the consultant. We considered including observation by the consultant of individual delegates in their setting but the logistics of this are impractical.

Course programme

Session 1: Principles and methods of descriptive functional assessment

  • Introduction to course, assessment and marking criteria
  • Identification of the focal person and consent (complete MCA consent form)
  • Dimensions of behaviour and functional assessment
  • Questions about behavioural function
  • Functional Assessment Interview
  • P.M: Group and practical support /guidance from consultant
  • Workplace activity - conduct functional assessment interview, direct and indirect observation and QaBF

Session 2: Formulation

  • Formulating a hypothesis, verifying analysis and formulation
  • Contingency diagrams
  • Assessment report
  • P.M: Group and practical support /guidance from consultant
  • Workplace activity - write assessment report

Session 3: Intervention planning

  • Multi-component intervention plans (with consistent, congruent interventions)
  • Ensuring planned interventions are based on behaviour function
  • Stakeholder involvement, mediator analysis, ecological validity, contextual fit
  • Writing the intervention plan
  • P.M: Group and practical support /guidance from consultant
  • Workplace activity - design multicomponent intervention plan with stakeholder involvement

Session 4: Implementation and evaluation

  • Implementation of the intervention plan
  • Assessing and checking staff competency and adherence
  • Fading support, generalisation and maintenance
  • P.M: Group and practical support /guidance from consultant
  • Workplace activity - facilitate implementation of intervention plan. Evaluate effect and plan for fading support, generalisation and maintenance

Session 5: Presentations and action planning

  • Presentation of assessment, intervention plan and evaluation of intervention
  • Further action planning

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the programme delegates will:

  • Understand consent issues involved
  • Understand the principles, design and methods of functional assessment
  • Been introduced to and conducted a Functional Assessment Interview
  • Conducted direct and indirect observation and other assessment tools
  • Know how to formulating a hypothesis
  • Understand the importance of verifying analysis and formulation
  • Have been introduced to contingency diagrams and practiced completing them
  • Understand what needs to be included in an assessment report and completed one
  • Understand what needs to be included in multi-component intervention plans
  • Understand the importance of consistent, congruent interventions based on behaviour function
  • Understand what is meant by and the need for stakeholder involvement, mediator analysis, ecological validity and contextual fit
  • Have written an intervention plan with stakeholder involvement
  • Have implemented the intervention plan
  • Assess and check staff competency and adherence to the plan
  • Have planned for fading support, generalisation and maintenance
  • Have presented the assessment, intervention plan and evaluation of intervention to peers
  • Have planned further actions.