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Keywords:

  • hypothesis-based interventions;
  • tantrums;
  • functional assessment;
  • problem behaviors;
  • developmental disabilities

We conducted a functional assessment of problem behaviors of 2 students with developmental disabilities in their classroom environments. Results of the assessments showed that although there were more tantrums in demand than in no-demand conditions, the function of the behavior was to gain attention (positive reinforcement) rather than to avoid or escape demands (negative reinforcement); demand conditions apparently served a discriminative function for the availability of attention. Therefore, intervention was based on the positive reinforcement hypothesis, resulting in a substantial reduction of tantrums for both subjects.