Sprague, J. R., & Horner, R. H. (1995). Functional Assessment and Intervention in Community Settings. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews , 1 , 89-93.


Functional assessment has emerged as an important strategy for designing effective interventions for serious problem behavior. A comprehensive functional assessment identifies the behavior of concern, stimuli correlated with the onset and maintenance of the behavior, features of the setting in which the behavior occurs, and behaviors (typically communication) that may serve to replace the problem behavior. We present a historical and modern context for functional assessment and, in juxtaposition to this, discuss the purposes of functional assessment as a tool for research-ers and practitioners. We review the current range of functional
assessment applications, emphasizing the strengths and limi-tations of each; propose needed extensions of existing functional assessment methods; and discuss the critical role of functional assessment in designing effective community-based behavioral interventions.