Why functional assessment is enough: A response to Reiss and Havercamp

K. A. Freeman, C. M. Anderson, R. H. Azer, P. A. Girolami, J. R. Scotti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Reiss and Havercamp (1997) recently suggested that sensitivity theory offers a basis from which to assess and treat challenging behavior exhibited by people with developmental disabilities. They contended that this approach would lead to more effective and durable interventions than would reliance on functional assessment. We respond to their claim that functional assessment is 'not enough.' After briefly reviewing and critiquing sensitivity theory, we outline the basic tenets of behavior analysis and describe literature on the development and use of functional assessment methodologies with individuals with developmental disabilities exhibiting challenging behavior, responding to several of Reiss and Havercamp's comments about the utility of this approach. Finally, we discuss several limitations of behavior analysis and functional assessment, providing examples of how these limitations are being addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-91
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal on Mental Retardation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 27 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Rehabilitation
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Health Professions(all)


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