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Supporting the direct involvement of students with disabilities in functional assessment through use of Talking Mats®

Bradshaw, J., Gore, N., Darvell, C. (2018) Supporting the direct involvement of students with disabilities in functional assessment through use of Talking Mats®. Tizard Learning Disability Review, 23 (2). pp. 111-116. ISSN 1359-5474. (doi:10.1108/TLDR-01-2018-0004) (KAR id:67033)



Bowring et al. describe ways of using the Behavior Problems Inventory – Short Form, illustrating how to use clinical norms to evaluate change. This commentary focuses on the importance of considering information gained directly from people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) during assessment. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


A pilot project involved interviews with four children with IDD. A Talking Mats® (TM) framework was used to gather children’s views regarding challenging behaviours (CBs) and variables relevant to a functional behavioural assessment, such as things they found to be reinforcing, things that set the occasion for CB and things that helped prevent this.


The children were able to provide information and insight into several areas that are influential in the maintenance of behaviour that challenges. Some of this information may not have been obtainable from other sources or informants using traditional assessment methods alone.


Gathering the views of people with IDD is important. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations, 2009) states that people have the right to be heard. Many people with IDD have difficulties communicating. A TM framework is one method by which people may be able to express their views. Taking the views of the individual into account during the process of gathering information about behaviours that challenge should lead to greater understanding of the functions of any behaviours and therefore to more targeted, acceptable and effective forms of support.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/TLDR-01-2018-0004
Uncontrolled keywords: Challenging behaviour, Communication challenges, Alternative and augmentative communication, Functional behavioural assessment, Talking Mats, User views
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
Depositing User: Jill Bradshaw
Date Deposited: 15 May 2018 12:22 UTC
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2021 11:56 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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