Assessment and Treatment of Challenging Behaviour for Individuals with Intellectual Disability: A Research Review



Blair P. Lloyd, Craig H. Kennedy

Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

25 JAN 2014

DOI: 10.1111/jar.12089



Challenging behaviour is frequently associated with the presence of intellectual disability. If not effectively treated, chronic challenging behaviour can negatively impact a variety of quality of life outcomes for individuals with intellectual disability.

Methods and Results

We review the current status of research relating to the assessment and treatment of challenging behaviour for people with intellectual disability. We briefly review the history of interventions for challenging behaviour that led to the development of function-based approaches widely in use today. We then discuss the various operant functions of challenging behaviour, functional behaviour assessment technologies and reinforcement-based interventions.


We conclude with a discussion of future directions that include models of prevention, ecological validity of assessment procedures and the widespread use of comprehensive behavioural support programmes.