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ABA Parent Training Topic Idea - Data Collection

ABA Parent Training Topic Idea - Data Collection

ABA (applied behavior analysis) parent training requires extensive knowledge in both the use of ABA concepts and strategies as well as working collaboratively with parents of children with particular needs.

Throughout ABA parent training, particularly when working with parents of children with autism spectrum disorder, a behavior analyst needs to develop ABA parent training topics that are relevant to the identified client’s needs (such as his or her diagnosis and symptoms of autism).

One topic that could be addressed regarding ASD is the idea of data collection. Data collection is essential to behavior analysis. In applied behavior analysis parent training, data collection is an activity that parents can learn about and even utilize to help their child make progress in learning new skills and decreasing maladaptive behaviors.

Data collection can also be used with the child. For example, a child who is working on toilet training could be involved in the data collection so that they can see the progress they are making.

Why is data collected in ABA?

Data is objective information that can be used to help make decisions and recommendations for a child’s development and relevant interventions.

In ABA, data is used to make decisions regarding the client’s treatment. In ABA parent training, data can be used by the parent to gather data that can be provided to the behavior analyst to help with treatment programming. Data completed by parents can also help the parents as they learn to implement ABA strategies without the direct oversight of the behavior analyst.

What does the supervisor do with the data?

What is data collection?

Data collection is the process of recording information about a particular behavior or skill. There are countless behaviors and skills that can be relevant for data collection.

Data can be collected on almost any type of behavior from tooth-brushing skills, tying shoes, doing homework, and other life skills to language skills like learning new words or identifying pronouns, nouns, or verbs…and much more.

What is data used for?

By keeping data on behaviors, a behavior analyst can see what is working in the treatment or what may need some modifications. Data may also help behavior analysts identify the function of behaviors that may be maintaining maladaptive behaviors.

Parents can use data in combination with other ABA strategies to help their child learn new skills and behaviors outside of ABA sessions.

Why is it important?

Data collection helps behavior analysts to understand behavioral contingencies and to measure how much progress the client is making on their goals. Data gives behavior analysts (and parents) objective information to support decisions about strategies that could be used to help the child achieve their goals. This data helps the behavior analyst to have evidence to support their decisions.

Ultimately, data can help support a child improving their quality of life as well as improving and managing their symptoms of their diagnosis.

What data do behavior analysts need?

Behavior analysts should consider the needs of each client as well as their caregiver to decide what data would be most beneficial for that family.

Sometimes gathering data on the client’s performance on the first trial of the day could be enough to get a reasonable snapshot of the client’s skill development. Other times, it would be more beneficial to gather data on at least 10 or even 20 trials for a client on a target skill (Najdowski, et. al., 2009).

Types of data collections in ABA

There are many different types of data collection in ABA. A behavior analyst will consider what behaviors are being targeted, what the goals are, and what type of data collection is most realistic to achieve the goal of gathering objective and quality data for that child.

Behavior analysts can recommend that parents learn about any of the data collection methods if it applies to the child.

Key Term #7 [for CEU students]: realistic

Some of the different types of data collection include:

  • Frequency/Event & Rate Recording: How often the behavior happens? Or how often in a given set amount of time?

  • Duration Recording: How long did the behavior happen?

  • Latency Recording: How long did it take for the child to start displaying the target behavior (or skill) after the SD or instruction was given.

  • Time Sampling Recording: Take data at moments in time.

  • Permanent Product: What is the outcome of the behavior?

  • ABC Data: Antecedent-behavior-consequence data provides information about the possible function and triggers for a behavior. 

ABA Data Collection & ABA Parent Training

In parent training services, parents can take data on activities they attempt outside of ABA training sessions or on behaviors their child displays. This can help the behavior analyst to provide recommendations more effectively.

When requesting that parents provide data, it is important to remember to take into consideration the parent’s other responsibilities and realistic expectations for what data is being requested – the frequency and duration of data collection may impact a parent’s satisfaction with services as well as quality of data being gathered.


Cooper, John O., Heron, Timothy E.Heward, William L.. (2014) Applied behavior analysis /Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Pearson/Merrill-Prentice Hall.

Najdowski, A. C., Chilingaryan, V. , Bergstrom, R. , Granpeesheh, D. , Balasanyan, S. , Aguilar, B. , Tarbox, J. and Roane, H. (2009), COMPARISON OF DATA‐COLLECTION METHODS IN A BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN WITH PERVASIVE DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS: A REPLICATION. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 42: 827-832. doi:10.1901/jaba.2009.42-827

Basic ABA Concepts - ABA Parent Training Topic Idea

Basic ABA Concepts - ABA Parent Training Topic Idea

ABA Parent Training Topic Idea - Community Signs

ABA Parent Training Topic Idea - Community Signs