Functional Behaviour Assessment and Clinical Applications

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
DACS 4114
Functional Behaviour Assessment and Clinical Applications
Disability & Community Studies
Applied Community Studies
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours

 3 hours/week

Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities
  • Lecture, discussion boards, video, guest speakers, group activities, readings, self-directed online learning
  • Online: any combination of online methods such as but not limited to discussion boards, readings, video, video lectures, skype/telephone consultations etc.
Course Description
In this course students deepen their professional knowledge, skills, and abilities in conducting various functional behaviour assessments, in selecting individualized interventions for individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities, and in completing clinical treatment modules for the assessment and treatment of childhood eating and sleep issues as well as stereotypy.
Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • Contemporary best-practice in behaviour analysis is predicated on:
    • Peer-reviewed, evidenced-based research
    • Interventions that are thoroughly individualized via detailed assessment processes
    • A contextual “Goodness of Fit” with families
    • Professional ethics are paramount
  • Problem behaviours are best assessed via a functional behaviour assessment.
  • Problem behaviours are best remediated via a functional approach to intervention, rather than a structural approach
  • Initial selection and refinement of interventions are predicated on a visual analysis of baseline and ongoing data.
  • Interventions are most likely to succeed when consistently implemented across settings and people:
    • Parents and other caregivers are key to ensure that gains generalize across settings and are maintained over time
  • Professional ethics require behaviour analysts to restrict interventions to procedures found effective in published, peer-reviewed studies.
  • Behaviour analysts search academic databases and read contemporary publications to remain abreast of treatment refinements.
  • Eating, sleeping and stereotypy problem behaviours are frequently seen in individuals with an ASD and remediating such problems form part of the professional repertoire of the behaviour analyst.
  • Teaching children and persons who support them (parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, etc.) using behaviour analytic instructional methods form a central role of the behaviour analyst.
Learning Outcomes

1. Conduct behavioural assessments to identify the functions that maintain problem behaviours 

  • Evaluate peer-reviewed behavioural research for current best practices in functional behaviour assessments and function-based interventions.
  • Select and conduct clinically relevant and ethical assessment procedures for problem behaviours such as eating, sleeping and stereotypy behaviours.
  • Employ indirect, direct, and experimental methods into assessments
  • Analyze and evaluate assessment results

2. Select clinically and contextually appropriate function-based interventions to remediate problem behaviors

  • Employ peer-reviewed, evidence-based procedures such as interventions utilizing positive and negative reinforcement, conditioned reinforcers, modeling, shaping, stimulus and response prompts, tokens, contingency contracts, and self-management.
  • Consider client preference, social validity, and other relevant contextual variables 
  • Ensure contemporary professional ethics are applied
  • Select best-practice methods for teaching functional communication, and for treating other clinically relevant behaviors such as eating, sleeping, and stereotypic behaviours
  • Institute appropriate evaluation mechanisms

3. Craft contextually appropriate instructional methods for conducting individual, parent and staff training

  • Consider learner role and skill set
  • Incorporate feedback from all involved
  • Evaluate and hone methods for conducting individual, parent and staff training

4. Refine technological behaviour analytic writing and communication skills

  • Use current APA formatting and style
  • Ensure privacy is protected and information is considered respectful and understandable to others
  • Document and share in contextually appropriate formats
Means of Assessment

This is a Graded course. Course assessment may include the following: Class participation, class presentation, quizzes, exams, case studies, clinical treatment plans, academic essay

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and materials to be purchased by students. Consult the Douglas College Bookstore for the latest required textbooks and materials. Examples of textbooks and materials include individually assigned readings and/or books.


Courses listed here must be completed prior to this course:

  • No prerequisite courses

Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses

Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses