Clear operational definitions ensure accurate data collection and implementation of interventions. When interventionists ask for clarification or make mistakes, refine your definitions to be clearer by including more examples and non-examples, or by adding more details. Your definitions should leave no doubt as to whether or not the behavior occurs at any given time. When writing your definition, determine how specific or broad you want to be, based on staff skills, response plans, or other factors. If you include multiple behavioral topographies, you must specify separate definitions for the topographies as in the aggression example above. Before you continue, learn the details of writing farm definitions in our FREE course: Writing Farm Definitions. Each definition follows a defined pattern and the course will provide you with that structure. In the course, there is the possibility to practice the operational definition of behaviors (see screenshot below). If you prefer an article, read: Clearly define the behavior. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) requires careful data collection and evaluation to make treatment decisions.
Operational definitions allow for consistency in the data because they create little confusion as to whether a behavior has occurred. Learning to write these types of definitions often seems daunting for professionals who have just entered the field. While they require some practice to write effectively, operational definitions are a key part of writing your behavioral intervention plan (GDP) or collecting data on specific behaviors. Operational definitions allow you to convey what the behavior looks like (topography) or what function the behavior performs, while providing enough detail to be clear. Take the time to practice and refine how to write your operational definitions! Defining aggression may require more training from your interventionist than other definitions. Many people feel like they already know what aggression is and use their own definition instead of relying on yours. Be clear with your interventionist on the threshold of aggression. If they want to include easy attempts or hits, reassure them that you will target these behaviors once you get an idea of the extent of the really dangerous behavior.
Leak: Any case where Bowie is more than 5 feet away from adults outside or indoors without permission. Are you having trouble writing effective and efficient behavioural intervention plans? Our course will guide you step by step through the process. This course will give you all the information you need to get started! Tantrums are common in young children, although they can be difficult to define because, like aggression and SIB, they involve several behaviors in one. Whenever you define a behavior that involves multiple behaviors, you should also consider the need to define each of the behaviors separately. It is almost universally accepted that young children should not swear, but what words make up an oath? When you define this behavior, you must be clear about which words are included or excluded in the definition. This may vary from context to context, but it would be confusing for the interventionist. You need to adapt the definition to the strictest environment. Throw: Any case in which Junior moves objects that are not intended to be thrown into space with a part of his body more than one foot. Aggression is often aimed at reducing behavior, but can be objectively difficult to define because it is really the effect on another person we are dealing with, and it often involves many different behaviors. Many children engage in various types of aggressive behaviors, including hitting, kicking, biting, etc. If your definition includes more than one of these behaviors, make sure that each behavior is also clearly defined.
Many children cry for a variety of reasons and it may not be necessary to intervene. However, some children may cry or combine crying with screaming to an excessive extent. When you define developmentally appropriate or often contextual behavior, you must include parameters that allow you to exclude these instances from the definition. Our membership provides access to training that includes not only the definition of behavior, but also many other skills that ABA professionals need. Join! Self-injurious behavior, also known as SIB, is similar to aggression in many ways. The main difference is the goal. The child inflicts injuries on himself and not on another person. As with aggression, SIB can include many different topographies of behavior that can make it difficult to define. That being said, in practice, you may find yourself in situations where it makes sense to consider this as a reduction behavior. You may feel better if you define this as a behavior, if you call it « rejection, » even if the child is not actively protesting when they receive a request. When defining aggression, many try to make the broadest possible definition to include attempted aggression and mild aggressive behavior. Instead, consider targeting behaviors that pose the most immediate risk of harm.
If these behaviors decrease, then you can target « inappropriate physical contact » to address low-risk behaviors. Tantrum: Any case in which Petra performs 2 or more of the following behaviors at the same time: crying (louder vocalizations than normal voice that last more than 3 seconds with tears), throwing (moving objects that are not intended to be thrown across the room more than 3 feet), hitting the ground (using any part of the body or object, to come into contact with the ground with sufficient force to produce sound), shout (vocalizations louder than the normal speaking voice for more than 3 seconds without tears), beat (strong physical contact with one or both hands with another person with sufficient force to make a sound or leave a trace) and /or collapse (become flaccid, which causes the body to kneel or lie flat on the floor). Non-compliance is another common behavior that is difficult to define. In ABA, this is not really considered a behavior because it does not pass the dead man test. The dead man test states that if a dead man can do it, it is not a behavior. Can a deceased person not follow an instruction? Sure. Non-compliance is not behaviour. An alternative to trying to define a behavior that is not actually a behavior is to target the opposite of that behavior for elevation. Here`s what I mean: Aims to meet the elevation requirements of adults.
Be sure to intentionally include or exclude each topography based on your desire to reduce or expand the definition. This should reflect your plan, as you want your interventionists to collect data and implement a behavioral intervention plan. Flopping looks different to many kids and the definition should reflect what`s common to your customer. Also, you need to ask yourself if you want to include aspects that are less common for your customer. For example, if your client usually falls flat on their back on the ground, do you exclude all other topographies? How should staff react if they fall to their knees or stomach? Over time, you may be able to align behavior at different levels for different contexts, depending on the child`s ability to distinguish contexts. This would require clear guidelines for the child and the interventionist. Escape is a behavior that you can define as a discrete event or duration. If the child becomes exhausted and often does not return to the designated area, you may prefer to note how long the child stays away from where they should be. If an adult is constantly following the child back, it may be a good idea to record the frequency or rate of behavior. You can also define a single SIB topography if the child element is not sensitive to multiple topographies or if you want to treat different topographies separately. Hand bite: Any case in which the teeth come into contact with part of the hand, with sufficient force to leave a trace. * Note that startup and lag are included in this definition as it is a « behavior » that does not have a clear start and stop and is therefore likely to be recorded with continuous recording.
Compliance: Any case where Alex follows an instruction or completes a task within 30 seconds, as directed by an adult. Throwing may seem simple, but at what point does the behavior shift from « pushing » or « moving » an object to « throwing »? Make sure this is clear in your definition. Self-injurious behavior: Any case in which Liam engages in any of the following: fighting, pinching, hitting his head on the surface, hitting or biting himself with enough force to make noise and/or leave a trace. Crying/screaming: Any case where Christopher vocalizes louder than 3 seconds louder than he is used for communication, during which he may or may not produce tears. Flopping: Any case where Julian`s body becomes soft, causing his body to kneel or lie flat on the floor.