Functional Thinking for Managing Challenging Behavior

R. Allan Allday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Challenging student behavior remains one of the biggest trials for classroom teachers. Understanding why a student performs a specific behavior is important in determining how to develop an intervention that targets the function of the behavior. This column focuses on how thinking functionally about behavior can help teachers understand why students engage in challenging behaviors. Specifically, three levels of functional thinking are discussed: (a) maintaining function, (b) deficits determination, and (c) intervention selection. Functional thinking is not meant to be a replacement for formal assessments; however, thinking about behavior in this way may help teachers to determine behavior function and develop a function-based intervention to alleviate the challenging behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-251
Number of pages7
JournalIntervention in School and Clinic
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © Hammill Institute on Disabilities 2017.


  • behavior management
  • behavioral strategies
  • functional assessment
  • functional behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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