Collecting accurate data is a foundational part of any top-quality behavior intervention program for patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Data are crucial for a variety of reasons:
So now that we're here looking at measurement procedures, I just want to take a moment to remind you why data collection is really so important. And the main thing that I want you to take home from this is that if we don't take data, then we don't really know what's going on in the program with the client that we're working with. So it's really important to be able to see the changes that are taking place in the treatment program. So data really shows us if the child is getting better or if the client is not getting better and helps us make decisions about how to continue the program.
Data collection is an essential piece to any ABA treatment session. Instructors will be asked to take data on targeted behaviors and skills on a daily basis. There are two primary guidelines for data collection that will help instructors collect data that will most accurately represent the true nature of the behavior.
First, data should be recorded immediately after the occurrence of the behavior to facilitate validity and accuracy. We want instructors to take data immediately in order to prevent errors that may occur if data is taken after a long delay.
Next, data should contain all relevant information regarding the observation and the occurrence of the behavior in order to provide a complete account of the behavior, so that the information that we have collected is objective and clear and gives us a true representation of what behaviors actually occurred.
This chart outlines the different types of data collection:
|Type of Data Collection||Definition|
|Frequency||The number of times the behavior is observed|
|Rate||The number of times a behavior occurs in a specified amount of time|
|Duration||The total amount of time the behavior lasts from start to finish|
|Response Latency||Measure of the elapsed time between the onset of a stimulus and the initiation of a response|
|Inter-Response Time (IRT)||The amount of time that elapses between two consecutive instances of a response class|
|Percent of Occurrence||The number of times a particular behavior occurs out of all possible opportunities for the behavior to occur|
Recording whether or not a behavior occurred within some interval of time:
a. Whole Interval Recording: the interval is recorded as a “Yes, the behavior occurred” interval if the behavior occurs throughout the entire interval
b. Partial Interval Recording: the interval is recorded as a “Yes, the behavior occurred” interval if it occurred at any point during the interval
c. Momentary Time Sampling: at the end of a set interval, a “Yes, the behavior occurred” is recorded if the behavior is occurring at the moment the interval ends
|Permanent Product Recording||The physical or tangible outcomes of a behavior|
Each company has a specific type and style of data collection. Some use paper data sheets, while others have complex computer, iPad, or other technology-based systems for data collection. Refer to your company’s policy and your BCBA.
Many electronic data collection systems also include additional information beyond the data collection, such as the BIP, graphs, notes, etc. Your company and BCBA will train you on all of these specific components as needed for your role and patients.
Skill acquisition data are important to demonstrate how the patient is progressing in building their repertoire of skills.
Skill acquisition data allow a BCBA to
One type of data collection is trial by trial data collection, which is used when recording a patient’s response to a discriminative stimulus (SD) on a trial by trial basis.
Types of responses can include
Here we go. What is it? Say hot dog.
Oh my goodness, that was so good. What is it? Say hot dog.
Good job, my friend. Good job, my friend. What is it? Say
Good job, Mister. Give me five. Yeah, give me give. Awesome. What is it?
Wow. You got it. That's right.
You're such a goose.
I want to do it again.
Do it again?
Do it again?
You're so smart, Mister.
OK, we'll do it again in a sec. Sit up. Go ahead and sit up. Big in your chair.
Got to chew.
OK, finish chewing. You ready? OK, here we go. What is it? Oh, try again.
Yeah, let's do it better, OK? What is it?
Yay. Ready? Say do it again.
Crap Go faster.
Go faster? You're silly. OK, sit up in your chair. Ready? Try again. What's this?
Nope, try again. What's this?
There you go, Mister. What's this?
Hot dog. Good job. Give me five. OK, one more. What's this? Oh, try again. What's this?
Hot dog. You are so smart.
Graphs are visual representations that display a comparison of one or more sets of data over a period of time.
A line graph uses lines to connect data points and shows changes in data over time:
|Line Graph Component||Description|
|X-axis and Y-axis||
X-axis is the horizontal line across the bottom of the graph and represents the passage of time.
Y-axis is the vertical line on the left side of the graph and represents the value of the summary measure for the graphed items or targets.
|Axis labels||A brief description of each axis, written adjacent to the axis it represents.|
|Legend||Lists the graphed targets and identifies the symbol that corresponds to each of them.|
|Data points||Plotted on the graph to indicate the appropriate numerical value, according to the axis labels and legend.|
|Condition labels||A brief description of the teaching procedure or intervention written along the top of the graph, above the data that were collected during that condition.|
|Condition change line||A thin, vertical line drawn on the graph at the corresponding point in time when the condition changed.|
Here are four guidelines for ensuring accurate and complete graphs: