The ABC Chart

Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Treatment and Therapies for Autism and other Autism topics.

How can negative behavior be addressed?

The ABC Chart

The ABC chart is a data collection sheet used to determine possible causes for a particular negative behavior. ABC stands for antecedent, behavior and consequence. The information collected can help to address certain repetitive negative behavior. The antecedent to the behavior is what occurs right before the negative behavior. This is not necessarily the specific trigger for the incident but it can be an indicator of what is going on. The behavior itself is recorded then the consequence for the behavior is written on the chart as well. While this seems quite straight forward it does require keen observation as well as some thought. The events that are recorded on the ABC chart are always objective and measurable. The individual collecting data should not interpret the events or add emotionally-charged language in the chart. For example an incorrect entry would look like: Antecedent= child didn't want to sit Behavior= child got mad about being told to sit Consequence= child had a tantrum but had to sit anyway These statements are emotionally charged and they think for the child. The ABC chart is not a summary of the observer's conclusions. It is a collection of observable behavior. The correct approach would be: Antecedent= Child was directed to "come sit" Behavior = Child threw himself on the floor, kicking and screaming. Consequence= Child was physically prompted to take his seat. The second example presents the events in an objective, observable manner. If the behavior is repeated and the information is recorded accurately, the team can determine the cause of the negative behavior. This is not always as simple as it seems. The child may engage in a behavior at a certain time of the day, no matter what activity he is completing. There might be a fragrance or a sound that others might not notice that is aggravating the situation as well. The child may also engage in the behavior for the consequence. For example, the child may like the sensory feedback of the therapist saying, "nope" each time he acts out. He may feel the need to repeat the ritual of running to the corner and whining before each drill. There are many reasons that a child will engage in a certain negative behavior. Finding the source of the problem usually takes some time.



11/29/2011 5:28:12 AM
Steve said:

Looks like a reasonable idea - I'll give it a try.

2/1/2012 8:47:22 AM
alison mesnard said:

but your not telling us how to solve it.


URL: (optional)


Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Autism Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Tammi Reynolds
Buy My Book