Functional Assessment and Children

A functional assessment is a method of assessment that aims to determine the reasons that an individual displays problem or challenging behaviors. Rooted in behavioral theory, this approach is used to address problematic behaviors in children. Children’s problem behaviors are often maintained because they serve some purpose for the child, such as helping to avoid an undesirable task or gain a desired item. A clinician will use a functional assessment to determine the purpose (function) of the child’s behavior. Effective treatment can then be outlined for that specific child to decrease the problematic behavior and replace it with more appropriate behavior. This entry reviews the theoretical underpinnings of functional assessment and outlines four basic steps to assess behavioral function in children.

Understanding Behavior and Function

A behavior ...

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