I think it is important to note the time of day the behavior occurs as well so you can see if there are any consistent patterns. If we notice the behavior happening at 12:00 everyday right before a transition to lunch, we may be able to zoom in and problem solve what we can change about the environment or what skills we need to teach the student for that specific time of day (i.e. maybe the cafeteria is too loud, so we could try having the student wear noise-reducing headphones as a preventative tactic and teach them to request a break when they become overwhelmed as our replacement behavior).
Some examples of what the same behavior (elopement) looks like when serving different functions:
An attention function may look like a student running away from the class after a period of time without attention. It may also look like the student looking back and laughing as an adult chases him through the hallway. Being chased is fun...and us adults usually look pretty ridiculous while running after a kid. The problem is, this behavior often warrants attention from adults for safety reasons...so regardless of the actual function, it can often look like this is the consequence maintaining the behavior.
In the beginning when you are teaching these skills, it is extremely important that you honor the replacement behavior (i.e. give them attention or let them take a break when they request it)...if not, they can easily go back to running and get what they are looking for. I also find it helpful to give students visuals (velcroed on their desk or right by the doorway) to help them make these requests. This can help reduce the effort involved in making a verbal request as well as serves as a visual reminder of the expected behavior.
Make sure to stop back later this week for the other 2 posts in this series:
simple to implement prevention strategies
tips for writing a safety plan for elopement