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Functional Assessment


This chapter discusses the importance of conducting a functional assessment to identify environmental determinants of problem behavior and develop functional interventions. The chapter describes the functions of problem behaviors and three approaches to functional intervention; extinction, differential reinforcement, and antecedent manipulations. The chapter then describes three functional assessment approaches: indirect assessment involving behavioral interviews and rating scales, direct assessment involving direct observation and recording of antecedents, behavior, and consequences, and functional analysis involving manipulation of antecedents and consequences to demonstrate a functional relationship between these events and the problem behavior. Research and application related to each functional assessment method are described and conclusions for best practice are provided.


Miltenberger, R., Bloom, S., Sanchez, S., & Valbuena, D. (2016). Functional assessment. In N. Singh (Ed.), Clinical handbook of evidence-based practices for persons with intellectual disabilities (pp. 69-97). New York, NY: Springer.

Faculty & Staff