Behaviors are considered problematic due to injury to self or others, when property damage occurs, or everyday life events are disrupted. Sometimes problems are considered minor disruptions in a home, school, work, or community settings. In other cases, a problem behavior may threaten a person’s placement at home, school, work, or in the community. Sometimes the identification of a behavior as problematic varies by culture. A behavior may be considered a problem within a particular culture but not by individuals from a different culture. It is important to be sensitive to these cultural differences as they can become a source of misunderstanding.

Evaluation of problem behavior can be completed using interviews, surveys, or by reviewing records and other information. Direct observation data can be used to evaluate progress of individual. Sometimes a person may collect data on his own problem behavior as part of self-management strategies. In other cases, data are observed and documented by someone else.

In schools, office referrals are used to document the occurrence of an event that disrupts academic or school programming resulting in a student being sent to the office. In human service settings and early childhood settings, incident reports are used in a similar manner to indicate that problem behaviors have resulted in disruptions with a particular settings. These types of reports are considered an indirect source of information. Office referrals and incident reports are written summaries that describe the problems that are occurred and are completed by a person involved in the situation.

Serious events are reported with the Department of Human Services using the Behavior Incident Reporting Form (BIRF)

  • Crisis respite services use
  • Psychiatric hospitalizations
  • Law enforcement involvement
  • Psychotropic medications
Learn more about the BIRF