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4 Ways to Take ABC Data…Easy as 1-2-3

ABC data Easy as 123. 4 Ways to Collect it Easily. picture of a check-off ABC form and a journal ABC form

The balance of trying to collect ABC data is critical for figuring out the function of the challenging behavior.  But trying to take data while still running the classroom is the never-ending burden in clinical and educational work.  I’ve got 4 ways to help make it work in your classroom.

Check-Off ABC Data

In a previous post I talked about the checkoff data sheet you see in the bottom picture and you can download a version in that post.  The thing that’s great about the check-off form is that you don’t have to write a log for every behavior.  The downside is that you have to have some inkling of the behaviors and conditions that need to be included in the checklist in order for it to be really functional.

Index Card ABC Data

Another method is to take data on index cards, which I’ve talked about in a previous post as well. The advantage of using index cards, to me, are that I can stick them and a pen in my pocket and I don’t have to carry a clipboard around everywhere I go. In the picture below, I simply divided index cads into ABC sections and record what is happening on them.  Another advantage to them is that you can easily summarize the data by sorting the cards by different events.

Fill-In ABC Data Sheet

If you don’t know enough about the behavior to make a check-off sheet, then you might need a behavior log.  This works well for recording naturalistic observations, particularly if you are not in the middle of instruction and can just observe and record what happens.  

fill in behavioral ABC data sheet
Grab this in my store

Videotaping and Taking ABC Data

Another way to take data easily would be to videotape episodes.  Chances are good that you won’t catch the antecedent, unless you know what to look for, but that you will capture the behavior itself and the aftereffects in the environment.  Just make sure, obviously, if you are videotaping that you have permission from parents to do it and that you keep the videos secure and private to preserve confidentiality.

So those are 4 ways that ABC data can be taken. And in the next post I’ll talk about analyzing the data and then using it to make decisions.

In the meantime, if you like the data sheets and are looking for some tools for collecting behavioral data, click on any picture or the one below to grab my Behavioral Data Sheets Mega Pack.

Setting up a classroom in special education can be challenging. Having the tools to do it right can make it easier. Click through to find out how to start.

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