Functional Analysis Screening Tool

Issue the Functional Analysis Screening Tool (FAST) to a person reporting on someone suspected of having behavioral problems and have them fill it out. The results should help you determine what directives to give for further investigation.

By Matt Olivares on Apr 08, 2024.

Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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What is the Functional Analysis Screening Tool?

The , also known as the Functional Assessment Screening Tool, is a type of functional assessment tool that aims to screen a person for potential behavioral problems that they might have.

This particular assessment comes in the form of a report. A certain person, let’s go with Person A, will use this to report someone they suspect of having behavioral problems. We will refer to that person as Person B. They will observe the person over time to check for any consistencies with their behavioral problems and identify the possible factors that cause them to behave in such ways.

The FAST is simply a screening tool, and it relies on observance. Given that, this should never be used to diagnose behavioral problems. It should only be used to get information about Person B. This assessment aims to inform the healthcare professional about Person B’s behavioral patterns and concerns for the professional to determine the different angles and approaches to take for Person A and others to better observe Person B.

As for determining how to treat Person B, that won’t be discussed much here, given that this is a screening tool that relies on observation.

Printable Functional Analysis Screening Tool

Download this Functional Analysis Screening Tool to assess behavioral problems.

How to use the Functional Analysis Screening Tool

As mentioned earlier, this screening tool is meant to be used by Person A. The healthcare practitioner who has this as part of their roster of assessments will issue this to Person A, and Person A will need to fill out the following:

  1. Clerical information
  • Indicate the Client’s full name (Person B)
  • Indicate the Informant’s full name (Person A)
  • The date that the assessment was accomplished
  • Indicate the Interviewer’s full name (the healthcare practitioner who issued the assessment)
  1. Informant-Client relationship

The informant must fill out a section that indicates their relationship with the client, answering questions like:

  • What is your relationship with the client?
  • How long have you known the person?
  • Do you interact with the person daily?
  • In what situations do you usually interact with the person?
  1. Basic checklist about the client

After answering what the informant’s relationship with the client is, the informant will then answer a series of items about the client, such as:

  • What their problematic behaviors are
  • How frequently do they exhibit these behaviors
  • How severe are these behaviors
  • When these behaviors are most likely to occur/least likely to occur
  • What usually happens before the behaviors start
  • What happens after their behaviors occur
  • What their current treatments are (if any)
  1. Answer a series of Yes or No questions

The last section of this assessment contains a series of questions such as:

  • Does the problem behavior occur when the person is not receiving attention or when caregivers are paying attention to someone else?
  • Is the person usually well-behaved when (s)he is not required to do anything?
  • Does the problem behavior occur even when no one is nearby or watching?
  • Does the problem behavior appear to be a form of “self-stimulation?”
  • Is the problem behavior more likely to occur when the person is ill?

The informant simply needs to answer Yes, No, or N/A.

How to score the Functional Analysis Screening Tool

Scoring the Functional Analysis Screening Tool is easy because you don’t have to do much. In fact, you will not be calculating anything at all because this doesn’t have score ranges. There are only score designations.

All you need to do is circle the number of questions answered “Yes” and enter the number of items circled in the “Total” column.

The designations are referred to as Potential Sources of Reinforcement:

  • Social (attention/preferred items) = Items 1 to 4
  • Social (escape from tasks/activities) = Items 5 to 8
  • Automatic (sensory stimulation) = Items 9 to 12
  • Automatic (pain attenuation) = Items 13 to 16

The higher the number of items answered Yes per designation, the higher the focus should be when it comes to observing. The results can also help healthcare practitioners develop ideas when it comes to providing intervention, but before that, the client should undergo more comprehensive assessments.

Functional Analysis Screening Tool Example

Now that you know what the Functional Analysis Screening Tool is all about, what it asks of the informant, and how to score it, it’s time to see what it normally looks like. We have created a template adapted from the Functional Analysis Screening Tool by The Florida Center on Self-Injury. Here’s what it looks like:

Download this Functional Analysis Screening Tool Example (Sample) here:

Functional Analysis Screening Tool Example

If you like what you see and think this is a good tool to add to your behavior-related work, feel free to download it from our platform! If you want, you can print copies to hand out to informants, or if you would rather go paperless, you can send copies of them to your informants online. They can even answer the PDF itself because there are tickable radio buttons, checkboxes, and editable fields to indicate the scores at the end.

When is it best to use the Functional Analysis Screening Tool?

The best time to issue this functional assessment screening tool is, first and foremost, when Person A sets up an appointment with you to discuss the potential problems that Person B might have. During your conversation with Person A, hand this screening tool to them and designate them as the informant. Have them accomplish the assessment.

Once you receive a fully-accomplished copy, you will have to think of possible directives the informant can follow to continue observing Person B. It might even be better to have others help the informant. If they all noticed the same behavioral problems of Person B and are concerned about them, you should provide copies of the screening tool to get a better picture of Person B because it’s possible that your main informant, Person A, might not have noticed everything.

Besides being a screening tool, it’s also a monitoring tool. If you, the healthcare professional, believe that the initial assessments are insufficient, you can reissue this screening tool to continue observing the client and check for consistency. This is so your decisions are better informed when providing observational directives and plans for any interventions or comprehensive examinations that Person B should undergo.

What are the benefits of using the Functional Analysis Screening Tool?

It’s an inexpensive tool to use and can be accomplished quickly.

The Functional Analysis Screening Tool does not require healthcare professionals to buy equipment or anything else outside of the tool itself or a pen (if you are issuing this in person).

All that needs to be done is to have Person A (the informant) write down basic information about Person B (the client) regarding their relationship with each other and what Person B’s suspected behavioral problems are. Person A also just needs to answer a few questions as well.

This can be done between five to ten minutes, so long as the informant already knows what to write and what the answers are to the questionnaire.

It’s a good way to monitor patients over time.

Since the goal of this tool is to record observations, it’s also a good monitoring tool. After the initial report, the next logical step is to observe the person a few more times to record any consistencies, what their behavioral triggers are, and identify what happens whenever they exhibit problematic behaviors. This is so the healthcare professional can be better armed with information about the client before making any decisions, especially when interventions or further examinations are in the conversation.

It can lead to early interventions.

Speaking of interventions, if a person’s problematic behavior isn’t exactly too far gone and has only started recently because of certain triggers or factors, then this tool might just help healthcare professionals and their informants work on determining how to endorse the client for interventions to combat these triggers and lessen the number of times that problematic behaviors are exhibited by the client as well as to help them practice healthy coping mechanisms so that the behaviors don’t become destructive to them and others.

Why use Carepatron for behavioral-related assessments?

Throughout this guide, you might have noticed we reiterated the importance of using this merely as a screening and monitoring tool. Another point that we also emphasized is that the next step after you have gathered enough information about a client is that you should plan for interventions or have them undergo comprehensive examinations.

By comprehensive examinations, we mean using other assessments to cover more ground when checking/diagnosing patients with possible behavioral disorders.

Now, if you are wondering where to get other assessments, you should look no further than Carepatron! We have a treasure trove of resources, especially regarding mental health! We have worksheets, assessments, surveys, general treatment plans, and a whole lot more that could help you!

Don’t be shy and download what you think you need to better gauge a client with suspected behavioral problems!

You can even store fully-accomplished Functional Analysis Screening Tools and other assessments with us in a HIPAA-compliant manner! Our storage system is highly secure and you get to dictate who can access your files, plus, they make them easily accessible to you anytime, anywhere, on any capable device so long as you have internet access. If you share your Functional Analysis Screening Tools with your informants via Carepatron, they can observe the client and share their findings with you via the screening tool immediately by uploading them to the storage system.

Convenience. Accessibility. Security. You get all three with Carepatron.

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Who created the Functional Analysis Screening Tool?
Who created the Functional Analysis Screening Tool?

Commonly asked questions

Who created the Functional Analysis Screening Tool?

The Florida Center on Self-Injury created the Functional Analysis Screening Tool. The template you can download from us was adapted from the 2005 version of the screening tool.

Why can’t the healthcare professional do the observing?

Because the healthcare professional does not spend time with the client, they can’t exactly see the problematic behaviors unfolding. That’s why the assessment will be used by informants. They will be reporting on someone that they probably see on a daily basis for them to suspect the person of having problematic behaviors.

What do we do with the score designations?

While there aren’t any particular calculations or directives in the scoring section of the screening tool, there are designations. If the client is consistently scoring the same scores every time they are observed, that should give the healthcare practitioner enough information on what to do next, which will likely be the development of an intervention plan or a comprehensive examination of the client.

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