Dr. Norris Haring spoke of functional curriculum – "time must not be consumed teaching responses, skills and facts that are not essential to increasing the independence of the child with severe disabilities." Haring also acknowledged that the new behaviorism or the technology of behavior change has truly revolutionized the art of special education. At the same time, he raised a challenging question – "How can behavioral technologists apply their technology to an area which, as far as curriculum is concerned, is an uncharted wilderness?" That wilderness was teaching people with severe disabilities in such skills areas as self feeding, toileting, dressing or walking.
Haring saw the need to develop curricula to teach people with severe disabilities basic skills, but also to help meet other important needs: