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Functional Analysis and Challenging Behavior

  • Kathryn M. KestnerEmail author
  • Claire C. St. Peter
Chapter

Abstract

Many children diagnosed with ASD engage in challenging behavior, which can interfere with relationships, academic success, and daily functioning, or pose a safety risk to the individual or others (e.g., aggression, self-injury). Challenging behavior may develop and persist because of the consequences it produces, such as gaining access to attention or activities or ending undesired situations. When treating challenging behavior, therapists often perform assessments to identify why the behavior occurs (i.e., the function). A variety of functional behavior assessment (FBA) methods are discussed in this chapter, including indirect assessments (e.g., interviews), descriptive assessments (e.g., naturalistic observation of a client’s behavior), and functional analysis (i.e., manipulation of the environment to determine reinforcers maintaining challenging behavior). Functional assessments help therapists identify interventions that are likely to be effective and avoid those that would be contraindicated or ineffective. We recommend that therapists incorporate the function of challenging behavior into intervention planning, particularly when behavior is maintained by idiosyncratic variables or is not quickly responsive to well-established manualized interventions.

Keywords

Functional assessments Functional analysis Autism spectrum disorder Indirect assessment Descriptive assessment 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.West Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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