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ABA behavior tracking is hard (how?)

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Does anyone have some hints on how to track behaviors for our ABA program? 

I need to record time/date, antecedent (what happened before), behavior (what was done), tally, consequence


I need to ask our behaviorist if I am just to target certain behaviors. I think I'm focusing on the things in his behavior plan. But there are several goals, and some of them happen a lot throughout the day. I tried for just an hour today and found it so consuming. I also am not liking that I feel I'm mentally focusing on the negative stuff. 




Edited by sbgrace

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When I first started doing ABC, we had nothing to work with with my ds. So for that, I literally sat there with blank paper writing ABC on three lines and filling in. Yes, it takes a long time! However now that we have more data, we know his typical responses. So now we have really detailed forms we use that allow us to gather data very very quickly. When I'm making data or the worker is recording data, she typically just uses the sheet for 10 minutes and boom is done. That's for a 3 hour session. Yes we're having less behaviors now, but also it's that the form is easy to use.


Some things don't need ABC, but that's like how many times did he X. So even though we ABC major things, we also want data on those smaller behaviors that you just tally (hitting, pushing, licking, grabbing, etc. etc.).


I would encourage yourself that this is a stage, that she'll probably make some forms for you to make it easier very soon. It's awful now because you're beginning and because he's having the behaviors. Not fun. I was filling 1-2 pages a day trying to ABC, sigh. Not a fun stage. But now we just use a form for each 3 hour session and boom. You'll get there. 


What I did to tide me over was I would make notes on my phone or paper during the session. Then I would take a break, 2-3 hours in, whatever I needed, and I would have him do something independent while I did my ABC. It was still fresh in my mind and the notes jogged me enough. 


You're probably going to notice a more complex flow, because you have ABC and then he has a RESPONSE to your C and you get ANOTHER ABC kinda gig going, lol. Or what we do is we mark response to the C and duration. So our ABC chart is actually 5 columns, with the most common things typed in with boxes to check. Makes it very fast. But you have to make some data for a while so she can make that for you.

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I have put quote marks and a new time, at times. I will have some pages that have a line drawn for time/A/B/C, and then blank pages where I can do more of a tally/quote marks with time for things that are happening a lot. I always try to include how long a behavior lasts, too.


For right now maybe it is better only to track negative behaviors..... when I started out this was the case for me.


But pretty quickly I was also tracking positive or desired behaviors that we wanted to increase!


This can be using words to request, asking wh questions, using a tense (like past or future tense), asking about a person, using names, answering people who are not family members, etc.


So I like charting a lot, I see a lot of improvement and it makes things feel worthwhile.


It is also good to see what times of day or in what settings those positive things might not be happening because that means we need to try to generalize to those settings.


Good luck! My son is also just a straightforward kid in a lot of ways and just now 8; so I think that is part of why I have a good experience with it, too.

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Oh -- I have put "setting events" (???) in with time.


Those things that aren't the antecedent, but you know he was hungry, tired, had been out-of-sorts already for some reason, etc. I have this the most with wondering if he is getting a little sick. I will wonder when there is stuff going around or one of my other kids has been sick, or if it just seems like it could be sickness.

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I used the notes app in my cell phone to track incidents quickly, and then e-mailed the finished document to them. They are looking for patterns, not perfect charts.

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