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Abstract

Functional assessment is embedded in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (1997) and Positive Behavioral Supports (PBS) (Horner & Carr, 1997). While the process of functional assessment has helped many students become more successful in the educational setting, it is time to take a deeper look at those conditions from which behaviors originate. Such conditions, referred to in this article as setting conditions, often serve to initiate and sustain inappropriate behaviors that are the focus of the functional assessment. Unless directly analyzed, setting conditions weaken the impact of interventions focused solely upon those factors targeted in the Antecedent Behavior Consequence (ABC) paradigm. This paper argues for the inclusion of setting condition analysis as part of functional assessment with involvement of school social workers and other relevant school personnel in all aspects of the process.

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