Assessing and treating stereotypical behaviors in classrooms using a functional approach

Allison L. Bruhn, Kinga Balint-Langel, Leonard Troughton, Sean Langan, Kelsey Lodge, Sara Kortemeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


For years, the assumption has been that stereotypical behaviors functioned only to provide sensory or automatic reinforcement. However, these behaviors also may serve social functions. Given the unsettled debate, functional behavior assessment and functional analysis can be used to identify the exact function of stereotypical behavior and design an intervention matched to that function. In these two studies, we conducted functional behavior assessments on two high school students exhibiting stereotypical behaviors. Although the students9 behaviors were topographically and functionally different, function-based interventions appeared effective in reducing these behaviors for both students. Key findings and limitations are discussed for each study, and a general discussion across studies is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-37
Number of pages17
JournalBehavioral Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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