Triggering events are those situations that must exist for a behavior to occur. Contributing events are additional conditions that, when present at the time of a triggering event, increase the likelihood that the problem behavior will occur. Triggering and contributing events can be either environmental (external) or personal (internal).
Environmental events are circumstances external to the individual. In attempting to understand problem behaviors, many questions can be asked concerning these external conditions. Here are examples:
A complete description of the external circumstances surrounding the emergence of a behavior is necessary to understand why it occurs and what function it serves.
Many personal conditions can provide the context for problem behaviors in individuals with developmental disabilities. Along with a complete description of the external circumstances, a complete personal history of affected individuals must be completed to determine the contributing and triggering events of the problematic behavior.
Here are examples of questions to be answered about internal events:
Reviewed and revised May 2004 by Steven C. Schachter, MD, epilepsy.com Editorial Board.
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